24 - 27 May 12
Categories:WRC, PWRC, WRC Academy
Searing ambient temperatures, rocky, undulating roads and dust combine to make the Acropolis Rally one of the most taxing on the World Rally Championship calendar with car and crew subjected to a particularly stern test.
Greece returned to the WRC schedule in 2011 after missing out in 2010 when its absence was keenly felt, not just by the fans that descend on the event in great number, but also by the drivers. The Acropolis is one of the most iconic events in the sport and winning it earns significant kudos.
Following a somewhat nomadic existence in the early part of the new millennium with the base chopping and changing between various locations around the Greek capital Athens, the move to Loutraki for 2009 proved a hit and the town on the east coast of the Gulf of Corinth will continue to host the rally in 2012 on the back of a successful return in 2011.
Following the Qualifying Stage over a 6.20-kilometre course on Thursday morning (24 May) 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.