Not last year’s winner Sebastien Loeb. After his guest appearance on Rally Argentina, Loeb is sitting this one out. Which leaves us with a short list of 12 names in the World Rally Car class.
Topping that list, we reckon, is the man who was quicker than Loeb in a Porsche 911 around the streets of Monaco last weekend: Sebastien Ogier.
Ogier’s track record in Greece is similarly impressive. He finished second in 2009, a result he calls his ‘breakthrough’ in the WRC, and won the rally outright in 2011, the next time it appeared in the WRC calendar.
Last year, Volkswagen took part in the Acropolis with two cars manufactured by the group’s brand Škoda. Ogier won the Super 2000 category and finished in a fine seventh position overall.
How the Polo R will stand up to roughest challenge of the year remains to be seen, but since Argentina Volkswagen and its three drivers Ogier, Jari-Matti Latvala and Andreas Mikkelsen have been pounding test roads in Greece to prepare.
Ogier’s team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala is also one to watch. The Finn rates the Acropolis as the hardest WRC rally of the year, but last year, in a Ford, he was the early rally leader before dropping to third after a mistake led to a puncture.
Increasingly comfortable in the Polo R, Latvala’s recent form is unbeatable - the Finn rounded off the last round in Argentina with a run of five consecutive stage wins.
A new handbrake system that is quicker at releasing drive to the front wheels should also help Ogier and Latvala.
Citroen's team-leader Mikko Hirvonen is bound to be a front-runner. Having finished on the podium on the last four occasions in Greece – and winning in 2009 – the Finn is very familiar with the requirements of the event. Hirvonen has worked closely with Citroen on its ongoing development of the DS3 and evaluated new set-ups at a pre-event test in Greece.
Meanwhile, after missing this rally for the last two years, Hirvonen’s team-mate Dani Sordo could be in the running if he can quickly familiarize himself with some of the stages.
Once again the Qatar M-Sport squad’s hopes ride with Fiesta RS duo of Mads Ostberg and Evgeny Novikov.
Ostberg was fourth in 2012 after a remarkable comeback from an early off, and is eyeing a podium this week. Meanwhile Novikov has fond memories of the 2009 Acropolis Rally when he became the WRC’s youngest stage winner aged 18 years, 8 months and 24 days.
You can read more about the Acropolis entry list by clicking here.
Next page: On this rally last year, Acropolis tyre facts