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Thu 08 Sep 2022

Greek PM gives thumbs up to Athens Super Special

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has given Thursday evening’s EKO Acropolis Rally Greece opener his seal of approval after visiting the specially-built stage inside the Athens Olympic Stadium on Wednesday evening.

Mitsotakis got behind the wheel of an M-Sport Poland Ford Fiesta Rally3 to drive the 1.95km test with guidance from FIA European Rally Championship frontrunner Ken Torn. He then jumped into a Toyota Yaris GR road car with Toyota Gazoo Racing team principal Jari-Matti Latvala behind the wheel.

The Finnish team boss had driven the super special competitively back in 2006 when it last appeared on the Acropolis itinerary.

“Dizzy” was how a delighted Mitsotakis summed up his experience alongside Latvala and he also thoroughly enjoyed his own stint behind the wheel.

 

“Driving the [rally] car is an incredible experience,” he said. “I have never done that before. I think you can get a feeling for how demanding this sport really is.”

The Prime Minister explained the importance of having a Greek round in the FIA World Rally Championship. This week’s 10th round marks the Acropolis’ second year back on the calendar after the event returned in 2021 following an eight-year absence.

“We are tremendously excited to have the Acropolis back for a second year after a very long hiatus,” he enthused. “Everyone is extremely excited and we are really happy that we will be able to rediscover some of the iconic landscapes which are associated with it.”

“It’s a testament to the progress we have made that we are able to attract these top events. This is a country that loves its motorsport. In that sense, anything that is associated with the sport is going to be tremendously welcomed.”

Mitsotakis spoke with particular fondness of Thursday night’s super special stage in Athens Olympic Stadium. The site was renovated in 2004 and seats upwards of 70,000 people - with most of those spaces expected to be filled with passionate fans for the rally. 

“This stadium is associated with the Olympic Games and we want to make sure we put it to very good use so the fact we can have events other than just track and field or soccer games is extremely exciting,” he added.

Three days of competition around Loutraki and Lamia follow the start festivities before Sunday afternoon’s finish in Lamia after 16 stages covering 303.30km.

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