On the final day of the Acropolis Rally Greece 2021, the Greek Gods sent rain. The long-awaited return of this iconic rally had certainly delivered unexpected conditions, couple this with significant improvements to the roads used on the event; made for an entirely different rally to what it has been synonymous with in the past.
Therefore I don’t think one should compare today’s event to the rough, tough and dusty rally, that the drivers of the past had to endure, but it was certainly a welcome return to the World Championship.
The second full day of the Acropolis rally began with just 3.8 seconds separating the top 3, Toyota’s Kalle Rovanperä was leading Ott Tänak with Sébastien Ogier close behind in third.
The opening test of the day, SS7 Pavliani was 24km long but the early morning conditions made for a moist surface and some likened the stage to perhaps more like Rally Chile rather than Greece. Rovanperä opened up the morning by beating Tänak by 5.6 seconds to take his first stage win of the day.
The first full day of action at the Acropolis Rally Greece featured just five stages over approx 90km; but there was no service halt. The conditions since Thursdays Shakedown had improved overnight and were more typical of what is to be expected on this legendary rally, in that, it was now hot and dry.
The opening Aghil test was 17.5km in length and was the only stage on the days’ route with double usage. Hyundai’s Ott Tänak took that first stage win beating current Championship leader and overnight rally leader Sébastien Ogier by just 0.2 seconds. Title Challenger hopeful, Thierry Neuville was well off the pace on this first test; some +10 seconds.
After an 8 year absence, the Acropolis Rally Greece also known as “The Rally Of The Gods” has returned to the FIA World Rally Championships for the 9th round of the 2021 season.
First held in 1953, The Acropolis was one of the original founding members of the WRC back in 1973. This iconic rally last ran as part of the World Series back in 2013, where current Toyota Gazoo Racing Team Boss Jari-Matti Latvala won in the VW Polo.
It is typically known as a rough, tough, hot and dry gravel rally. However, just days before the rally was due to start, heavy rain hit the stages leaving them not only wet but thick with mud, something one would expect to see on Rally GB.