WRC – EKO Acropolis Rally Greece – FIA Preview

The FIA World Rally Championship returns to Greece and gravel following its asphalt adventure in Belgium last month with the Acropolis Rally gearing up to host round 10 of the season from September 8-11.

And with the WRC celebrating season number 50 in 2022, it’s fitting that the iconic Acropolis forms part of the schedule for a second year running. A founding round of the championship back in 1973, the event was restored to the global roster in 2021, having endured a lengthy absence.

While the loose-surface stages are less punishing than they once were, the event’s status as a tough challenge to overcome remains intact with high temperatures, dust and twisty rock-lined passes providing a formidable test for the WRC drivers and their teams.

Although the rally is based in Lamia in central Greece, the competitive action begins in the capital Athens on Thursday evening with a superspecial in the Olympic Stadium the prelude to three days of intense competition. Built for the 2004 Olympic Games, the venue’s two-at-a-time layout hasn’t appeared on the Acropolis Rally itinerary since 2006 and its return is eagerly anticipated.

World championship leaders Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen won on their Acropolis debut in 2021 to follow legendary winners such as Miki Biasion, Marcus Grönholm, Juha Kankkunen, Sébastien Loeb, Colin McRae, Walter Röhrl, Carlos Sainz, Ari Vatanen and Björn Waldegård. They start this year’s event with another shot at claiming the coveted WRC Drivers’ and Co-drivers’ titles, such has been their impressive form throughout the season.

As the number one seeds, the Toyota-powered Finns will open the road on Friday’s first leg. If it’s dry, they can, in theory, expect to drop time clearing a line through the loose gravel for their chasing rivals, but if the conditions are damp, this could be an advantage.

Pirelli, the WRC’s official tyre supplier, will provide its Scorpion KX WRC tyre for all Rally1 cars competing in Greece. The hard compound is the first choice and will be used if it’s hot and dry with the alternative soft compound option selected for damp and cool conditions. Rally1 teams can use a maximum of 28 tyres for the event including four for Shakedown.



Following Thursday evening’s Olympic Stadium superspecial, crews leave Athens and overnight in Loutraki, a beach resort located close to the entrance of the stunning Corinth Canal and close to the start of Fridays action.

In addition to two runs through the Loutraki stage, four single-use tests feature on Friday’s itinerary as the 66th Acropolis Rally works is way north to its base in Lamia. The famous Bauxites stage is one of them and covers 22.97 tricky kilometres to close out the day’s competitive action. Drivers will be reminded that there’s only an opportunity to fit new tyres – following the all-new Dafni stage (SS5) – but no midday service halt.

Three repeated stages west of Lamia either side of service in the city provide the challenge on leg two, the longest of the rally at almost 150 kilometres. Perivoli, which last hosted the WRC in 2005, and the legendary Tarzan are both included, while no stage is longer than the 33.20 kilometres of Pyrgos.

Sunday’s deciding leg consists of the single-use Elatia-Rengini, sections of which have not been used since 2002, and Eleftherohori, which counts as the bonus points-paying Wolf Power Stage when it’s run for a second time from 13:18 CET.



Stage distance:303.30 km
Total distance: 1189.42 km
Number of stages:16



No fewer than 12 Rally1 hybrid cars are set for Acropolis Rally Greece action with Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen heading the entry list in their Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT GR Yaris Rally1.

Brits Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin and Finns Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm also form part of the Toyota challenge, while Ireland’s Aaron Johnston will co-drive Japan’s Takamoto Katsuta in a fourth Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 entered by Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT NG. Katsuta was a non-starter in Greece last season, while Lappi’s one and only Acropolis start came in 2013.

Estonians Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja finished second to Rovanperä/Halttunen on last season’s Acropolis Rally and head to Greece on the back of winning the last two WRC events for Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team. Belgian pair Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe and Spaniards Dani Sordo/Cándido Carrera will also compete in Hyundai i20 N Rally1s.

France’s nine-time WRC champion Sébastien Loeb is set to make his fourth start of the season for the M-Sport Ford World Rally Team. Co-driven by compatriot Isabelle Galmiche, Loeb has won the Acropolis on three occasions and claimed the first victory of the hybrid-powered Rally1 era by winning Rallye Monte-Carlo in January.

Four other Ford Puma Rally1s will be driven by Craig Breen/Paul Nagle, Gus Greensmith/Jonas Andersson, Pierre-Louis Loubet/Vincent Landais and Jourdan Serderidis/Frédéric Miclotte. Adrien Fourmaux/Alexandre Coria won’t take part on the event but are due to complete the reconnaissance.



The FIA WRC2 category for Rally2 cars features a staggering 35 entries with competitors lining up in the Open, Junior and Masters Cup divisions. Championship leader Andreas Mikkelsen (Toksport WRT Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo) heads the list followed by Yohan Rossel (PH Sport Citroën C3 Rally2) and Teemu Suninen (Hyundai Motorsport N Hyundai i20 Rally2). Toksport WRT-run Fabia drivers Nikolay Gryazin, Chris Ingram and Emil Lindholm are expected to chase WRC2 Junior honours, while the WRC2 Masters Cup entry includes points leader Mauro Miele, plus Armin Kremer and Jean-Michel Raoux. Several Greek drivers will challenge for home success including Lambros Athanassoulas and Emmanouil Stefanis, who is making his first Acropolis start since 2007 alongside co-driving father Konstantinos Stefanis, a veteran of 28 Acropolis rallies.

Heading into the fifth and final FIA WRC3 Junior round, Sami Pajari and Jon Armstrong are level on points with Robert Virves one point behind, such is the highly competitive nature for the one-make category, which uses Pirelli-equipped Ford Fiesta Rally3s run by M-Sport Poland. With double points on offer, the destination of the young driver title is far from decided: Lauri Joona is just five points behind Virves and still in contention to be champion.



Media accreditation must be collected in person by accredited pass holders from the Accreditation Office at the EKO Service Park in Lamia or from the Subsidiary Accreditation Office at Motorsport Greece’s headquarters in Athens. The following opening hours apply:

Accreditation Office, EKO Service Park, Lamia

Monday September 5: 14:00-19:00

Tuesday September 6: 08:00-21:00

Wednesday September 7: 08:00-21:00

Thursday September 8: 08:00-20:00

Friday September 9: 08:00-20:00


Pin point: https://goo.gl/maps/WhEZW1DRTKAMbnXf6


Subsidiary Accreditation Office, Motorsport Greece, Athens

Monday September 5: 14:00-19:00

Tuesday September 6: 08:00-21:00

Wednesday September 7: 08:00-21:00

Thursday September 8: 08:00-20:00


Pin point: https://goo.gl/maps/h1SZETqCQRLU9q5y9


The Media Centre is located at the EKO Service Park, Lamia National Trade Fair, GPS: N38°53.422 E22°26.929.


The following opening hours apply:

Monday September 5: 14:00-19:00

Tuesday September 6: 08:00-21:00

Wednesday September 7: 08:00-21:00

Thursday September 8: 07:00-23:59

Friday September 9: 06:45-23:00

Saturday September 10: 06:30-23:00

Sunday September 11: 07:40-until last media representative departs



Wednesday September 7 
FIA Tabard Media Safety Briefing, online Zoom meeting (details will be sent)17:00 hrs
Team media functions (contact teams directly for information)From 17:30 hrs
Thursday September 8 
Shakedown for P1 and invited drivers, 3.62km 08:01-09:00 hrs
Shakedown for P1, P2, P3 and P4 drivers, 3.62km09:00-10:00 hrs
Shakedown for non-priority drivers, 3.62km10:00-11:00 hrs
Pre-event FIA press conference, Central Press Room, Olympic Stadium*15:30 hrs
Autograph session, Olympic Stadium18:30 hrs
Photo with all P1 drivers and co-drivers, Olympic Stadium19:45 hrs
Friday September 9 
Start of Section 2, Casino Loutraki07:30 hrs
Meet the Crews, Service Park, LamiaFlexi-Service A
Saturday September 10 
Start of Section 6, Service Park, Lamia07:15 hrs
Meet the Crews, Service Park, LamiaFlexi-Service D
Sunday September 11 
Start of Section 8, Service Park, Lamia08:10 hrs
Podium Ceremony, Service Park, Lamia14:45 hrs
Post-event FIA press conference, Media Centre*15:45 hrs

*Press Conferences will be available to accredited media attending onsite and no longer streamed via Zoom. However, a written transcript will be available afterwards.



All priority drivers will be available for media interviews at the following times:

TC5A, TC7A, TC10A, TC13A, TC15A, TC16A




Thursday September 8



Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT – Kalle Rovanperä (FIN), Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid

Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT – Dani Sordo (ESP), Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid

M-Sport Ford WRT – Sébastien Loeb (FRA), Ford Puma Rally1 Hybrid



Chris Ingram (GBR), Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo

Gaurav Gill (IND), Škoda Fabia Rally2

Lambros Athanassoulas (GRE), Hyundai i20 N Rally2



Jon Armstrong (GBR), Ford Fiesta Rally3

Sami Pajari (FIN), Ford Fiesta Rally3

Robert Virves (EST), Ford Fiesta Rally3


Sunday September 11 (from 15:45)


Top three drivers in the overall classification

Representative of the winning manufacturer

Winning FIA WRC2 Championship drivers (Open, Junior and Masters Cup)

Winning FIA WRC3 Open Championship driver

Winning FIA WRC3 Junior Championship driver

FIA Junior WRC champion



Toyota Gazoo Racing WRTKalle Rovanperä (FIN) / Jonne Halttunen (FIN) – #69
 Elfyn Evans (GBR) / Scott Martin (GBR) – #33
 Esapekka Lappi (FIN) / Janne Ferm (FIN) – #4
Hyundai Shell Mobis WRTOtt Tänak (EST) / Martin Järveoja (EST) – #8
 Thierry Neuville (BEL) / Martijn Wydaeghe (BEL) – #11
 Dani Sodo (ESP) / Cándido Carrera (ESP) – #6
M-Sport Ford WRTCraig Breen (IRL) / Paul Nagle (IRL) – #42
 Sébastien Loeb (FRA) / Isabelle Galmiche (FRA) – #9
 Gus Greensmith (GBR) / Jonas Andersson (SWE) – #44



The provisional classification following round nine of the 2022 FIA World Rally Championship season is available at this link: https://www.fia.com/events/world-rally-championship/season-2022/standings



1 Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne HalttunenToyota Yaris WRC3h28m24.6s
2 Ott Tänak/Martin JärveojaHyundai i20 Coupe WRC+42.1s
3 Sébastien Ogier/Julien IngrassiaToyota Yaris WRC+1m11.3s



2021Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne HalttunenToyota Yaris WRC
2013Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka AnttilaVolkswagen Polo R WRC
2012Sébastien Loeb/Daniel ElenaCitroën DS3 WRC
2011Sébastien Ogier/Julien IngrassiaCitroën DS3 WRC
2009Mikko Hirvonen/Jarmo LehtinenFord Focus RS WRC ‘09


Fuente: www.fia.com

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