WRC EKO Acropolis Rally Greece 2021 | Race Preview
The WRC 2021 season comes to the ancient country of Greece for the EKO Acropolis Rally. This iconic rally was first held in 1953 and was a founding member of the FIA World Rally Championship in 1973. The Acropolis Rally was dropped from the calendar in 2013 and 2021 marks its comeback. The rally stages are a combination of gravel roads, hard rocks and high road temperatures. These conditions tend to be rough on the tyres and on the cars for which additional protection will be fitted along with Pirelli’s hard and soft compound Scorpion tyres made available for this round. Acropolis Rally has been divided into 15 stages which will be conducted over a span of four days.
As we head into the ‘Rally of Gods’, Sebastian Ogier (Toyota Racing) leads the championship with 162 points, followed by Elfyn Evans (Toyota Racing) and Thierry Neuville (Hyundai Motorsport) tied for second with 124 points and Kalle Rovanpera (Toyota Racing) trailing the pair with 99 points. On the constructors championship table, Toyota Racing leads the table with 348 points, followed by Hyundai Motorsport with 307 points and M-Sport with 135 points.
Now, let us take a look over the weekend ahead of us in the Acropolis Rally 2021.
Timed Distance: 89.40km
The Friday session will see the teams drive close to the south mountains and the conditions will be tough from the get-go. The jumps and tight sections at Aghii Theodori, combined with the loose gravel track defines the nature of the entire rally.
Timed Distance: 132.56km
Saturday will be the longest and arguably the toughest day of the four-day event. The action takes us south of the city of Athens where the teams will race towards the highest point in the rally at 1165m above sea level. The stages are littered with hairpins and fast downhill sections which will separate the good from the greats.
Timed Distance: 69.25km
Sunday will mark the final day of the rally. Sunday will also introduce the iconic stages of Tarzan and Pyrgos. The Tarzan stage is being introduced in the rally after two decades while Pyrgos marks the longest test of the rally at 33.20km. The day will come to an end with a Wolf Power Stage through a shortened version of Tarzan.
As WRC Acropolis Rally Greece 2021 is being hosted after an absence from the calendar since 2013, there are many drivers on the grid who have never driven on the circuit. And with the added difficulty and punishing nature of the track, we might be welcomed to some interesting leaderboards over the weekend.
Takamoto Katsuta, driving for Toyota Racing, told WRC, “I haven’t been before in Greece and I just saw videos and it looked very rough and really hot. So, it’s quite hard to imagine how rough it is. But yeah, obviously it’s gonna be a tough rally. So I need to train for the heating and prepare the car if it breaks”.