Billed as the Rally of Gods, the Acropolis Rally, which runs from 24-27 May, is ranked among the sport’s truly tough tests with rock-strewn passes and searing ambient temperatures placing considerable strain on car and crew alike.
Following the Qualifying Stage over a 6.20-kilometre course on Thursday morning to decide the running order for day one, crews head east to the capital Athens and the famous Zappion for the ceremonial start, before the event proper begins with a 25-kilometre test run late in the evening.
Friday’s itinerary consists of eight stages over a demanding 12-hour period. With service during the day restricted to two 15-minute remote halts in Itea, the challenge is further increased due to the limited amount of repair work that can be undertaken.
Saturday’s route of eight stages takes competitors closer to base in the Peloponnese region and includes the new 21-kilometre Ziria stage, which the event organisers describe as “very interesting”.
Sunday is a slightly more tame affair with five stages including the 3.97-kilometre New Loutraki Power Stage.
The stages in Greece are characterised by their hard bedrock. Coupled with the traditionally high ground temperatures, tyre wear is at a premium, which requires drivers to balance speed with a degree of caution.
The Acropolis Rally, which covers a competitive distance of 409.47 kilometres, is round six of the main WRC, round four of the Production Car World Rally Championship and the second event of the 2012 WRC Academy season.
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