Acropolis: Toyota poised for Greek Gold / WRC

The Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team aims to return to the top step of the podium at the tenth round of the world championship at the legendary Acropolis Rally in Greece from September 8th to 11th.

The Acropolis returned to the WRC calendar for 2021 after being an almost permanent fixture until 2013, with a reputation for rocky mountain roads and high temperatures that combine to present a tough challenge for the cars, tires and drivers.

Kalle Rovanperä, who won the event outright last year, has a 72-point lead with four laps remaining and an opportunity to make his name in Greece history if he finishes the rally on the podium depending on the results of others can .

After second place last time out in Belgium, Elfyn Evans is third in the standings and one of those still in contention for the Drivers’ title. After two podiums in the last two rounds, Esapekka Lappi will return to the Acropolis for the first time since 2014, while Takamoto Katsuta will make his event debut with TGR WRT Next Generation.

The long Saturday

This year’s rally kicks off with a super special on Thursday evening at Athens’ Olympic Stadium, which previously hosted the 2005/06 WRC. From there, crews head straight west to Loutraki, ready for two passes of Friday morning’s eponymous stage and a single pass of the adjacent Harvati. The afternoon drive north to the service park at Lamia includes three more stages: A tire assembly zone separates the new Dafni and Livadia decisions, followed by Bauxites. Saturday consists of two laps with three stages west of Lamia and almost half the rally’s competition distance. Pyrgos is the longest decision of the weekend at 33.2km and is completed ahead of the returning Perivoli and the famous Tarzan stage. On Sunday, Elatia-Rengini lies between the two stages of Eleftherohori, the second forms the Power Stage.

Team Principal Jari-Matti Latvala: “Having come very close to winning the last two rallies we’re going to Greece and we’re dying to win, but we know it won’t be easy in such a tough event. The Acropolis is a legendary rally and it’s great to have it back on the calendar since last year. We saw that the gravel roads there are generally not quite as rough as they used to be. This means that while reliability is still very important, we also need to have a strong level of performance. Kalle got a great win last year in difficult conditions and rain, which of course is not typical for Greece. It will be difficult to repeat that now that he has to be first out on the track, especially as most Friday stages are only driven once, but Kalle has coped very well with that challenge so far this season. Elfyn and Esapekka have also been very strong lately and hopefully they can continue like that in Greece.”

World Championship leader and last year’s winner Kalle Rovanperä: “Belgium was a difficult weekend for us, so in Greece we just have to get back to where we should be and try to do a good rally. The championship is never over until it’s over, so we can’t think about it too much: we’re just trying to get good points in each event and control what we can. Greece was a really nice rally for us last year but our chances this time will probably depend a lot on the weather. If it gets dry I think it will be really difficult for us to open the road on Friday. Then it probably won’t be much easier for our competitors directly behind us and hopefully we can still make the best of the situation.”

World Championship third Elfyn Evans: «I’m looking forward to the Acropolis Rally. After the high-speed tracks of Estonia and Finland, Greece offers a very different challenge for a gravel rally. Sardinia was the last rough gravel rally we had in Europe and we had a pretty good feeling there with the car and good speed, even if we didn’t get a result at the end of the weekend. There are still things we can improve on and hopefully we can pick up where we left off and make more steps forward in Greece. Most likely it will be a hot and tough rally that the Acropolis is known for but we saw with the rain last year that we can’t be too sure about the weather.”

Belgium third Esapekka Lappi: «In Greece we will go to something that is quite unknown to me. I drove the rally in 2014 before, when it was an EM round, but at that time half of it was on tarmac, so there will be a lot of new things to discover. But I haven’t been to Ypres for eight years and that’s where we finished on the podium. So we’ll try to aim for something similar again this time. In Sardinia we had good speed and a good feeling on similarly rough gravel roads, we hope to find that again in Greece.”

Drivers’ championship standing after 9 of 13 rounds





Kalle Rovanperä (FIN), Toyota



Ott Tanak (EE), Hyundai



Elfyn Evans (UK), Toyota



Thierry Neuville (B), Hyundai



Takamoto Katsuta (J), Toyota



Craig Breen (UK), Ford



Esapekka Lappi (FIN), Toyota



Sebastien Loeb (F), Ford



Sebastien Ogier (F), Toyota



Dani Sordo (E), Hyundai



Gus Greensmith (UK), Ford


Manufacturers’ World Championship standing after 9 of 13 runs





Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT



Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT



M Sport Ford WRT



Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT NG


The article is in German

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