Almost a month has passed since the celebration of the Ypres Rally in Belgium, and the World Rally Championship is gearing up to resume the season after the summer break. The ninth and penultimate round of the year (after the cancellation of the Japanese rally) is coming up this weekend (9-12 September) with the Acropolis Rally Greece 2021.
The legendary raid, which is replacing the also cancelled Rally Chile, returns to the WRC calendar after an 8-year absence. Historically, Greece has been one of the classic rounds of the WRC, and has provided some epic moments and battles which now we have a chance to relive. For a reason this is the land of the greatest heroes of Greek Mythology.
Since its WRC debut in 1956, The Greek rally has always posed the same challenges; stony dirt tracks, extremely high temperatures and persistent dust, all of which will push both crew and machines to their limit. This round requires enormous mechanical and human endurance, as well as tire resistance to survive its 15 car-breaker stages and their 292.19 timed kilometres.
Hyundai and Neuville will be chasing their second consecutive victory
Hyundai Motorsport is arriving at Rally Greece in great spirits. After the 2-1 led by Thierry Neuville before his home fans at the latest round, the team from Alzenau will be chasing its second consecutive victory, and third of the year, after Ott Tänak‘s initial one in Finland.
The Belgian driver, now second in the standings in a 124-point tie with Elfyn Evans (Toyota) and 38 points behind the leader, is the best asset of the South Korean works. Joining Neuville and Tänak will be the Spaniard Dani Sordo, in replacement of Craig Breen.
Toyota: To keep the drivers and constructors’ lead
The team from Jyväskylä will face the Acropolis Rally 2021 in command of both the drivers and constructors’ standings. With regards to the individual World Championship Title, Sebastien Ogier could virtually secure it this weekend in Greece.
With four wins so far (Montecarlo, Croatia, Sardegna & Kenya) this year, Ogier could well take a fifth victory this Sunday, which will bring him very close to his eight crown. The Frenchman is actually the only one in the current grid to have ever won in the ‘Land of the Gods’, which he did in 2011 on board a Citroën DS3 WRC.
— Toyota GAZOO Racing WRT (@TGR_WRC) September 9, 2021
His teammate and greatest rival for the title Elfyn Evans, on the other hand, needs to get closer to him asap if he wants to stand a chance. The Briton, who has only claimed one victory (Portugal ) this year, has to stop Ogier’s escape at the Acropolis Rally Greece 2021. Evans, however, knows best as to take any unnecessary risk. Any mistake would clear the way for Ogier.
The other member of the Japanese team, Kalle Rovanperä, winner in Estonia and third in Belgium, will be looking for another podium. Takamoto Katsuta will not take part in this weekend’s race after his provisional co-pilot, the British Keaton Williams, had to attend some urgent family matters.
As for the Constructors’ World Championship, the Japanese team currently dominates the classification with 348 points, 41 more than the South Koreans (307).
M-Sport: Greensmith & Fourmaux
M-Sport, for their part, will line up its full-time English driver Gus Greensmith together with the French rising star Adrien Fourmaux. This weekend the British squad will also bring out a third car, driven by local racer Jourdan Serderidis.
Images of Acropolis Rally Greece 2021: Hyundai Motorsport.