01 - 03 Jun 07
Most Recent Winner:Mikko Hirvonen (2009)
The mix of rough, twisty mountain stages, blistering heat and choking dust makes the BP Ultimate Acropolis Rally of Greece the toughest on the calendar. Cars have to be built extra-sturdy to cope with the surprisingly fast, but rock-strewn stages, while drivers and co-drivers have to be at peak physical fitness to cope with the pounding terrain and temperatures in the cockpit that top 50C.
At 54 years of age, the Greek event is one of the longest-standing in world rallying. A list of Its previous winners reads like a roll-call of rallying legends - Walter Rohl, Bjorn Waldegaard, Ari Vatenen, Stig Blomqvist, Juha Kankkunen and Carlos Sainz (to name but a few) have won here. This season it returns for the second time in a row to its spiritual home in Athens. This time, however, the event is moving to the Olympic Equestrian Centre in Markopoulo. This horse racing and horse backriding venue will host the rally headquarters, the service park, and the start and finish. In addition, three 3.20km gravel super special stages will be run at the same location, one on Thursday evening, the second one on Saturday evening, and the third on Sunday.
Rally organisers have also set up a normal stage of 5km long only a few metres from the service park which will be run on Friday and Saturday.
The twisty, boulder-filled stages place huge demands on engine and cockpit cooling, as natural airflow is limited by the slow cornering speeds. The suspension and underside of the car take a huge pounding from the rocks hurled up by the car, but the big issue is tyre wear. Choose too soft a compound, and you'll suffer excess tyre wear. Too hard, and grip reduces, prompting wheelspin and - you've guessed it - excess tyre wear. You need brains to win here, as much as brawn.
2006 Marcus Gronholm (Ford Focus)
2005 Sebastien Loeb (Citroen Xsara)
2004 Petter Solberg (Subaru Impreza)
2003 Markko Martin (Ford Focus)
2002 Colin McRae (Ford Focus)
2001 Colin McRae (Ford Focus)
2000 Colin McRae (Ford Focus)
1999 Richard Burns (Subaru Impreza)
1998 Colin McRae (Subaru Impreza)
1997 Carlos Sainz (Ford Escort)
1996 Colin McRae (Subaru Impreza)