Thierry Neuville at the top on the opening day

The opening day of the EKO Acropolis Rally was a true test of endurance for the drivers as they left behind the glamour of the Acropolis and the vibe of Water Square. The tough and muddy surfaces made it challenging for even the most experienced drivers.

The route from the gravel roads of Corinthia to Lamia was a blur for most crews, as the noticeable improvement in weather conditions had a significant impact on the condition of the surface. Thierry Neuville, last year's winner, is at the top of the classification with the Hyundai i20 N Rally1.

The greek mainland finally experienced some sunshine, but the special stages were still wet and muddy, albeit less than during the recce. Consequently, the drivers were uncertain about the road conditions and which tyres to choose, which made it more difficult for them to safely drive to the limit.

Thierry Neuville, driving the Hyundai i20 N Rally1, secured the lead from the 2nd stage. Although he had a problem with the transmission system, he managed to arrive at the EKO Service Park in Lamia 2.8 seconds ahead of Sebastien Ogier, with a Toyota GR Yaris Rally1. Tomorrow the battle between the two is expected to continue, and they will be joined by 2022 World Champion Kalle Rovanpera. Rovanpera had a difficult day today, as he was cleaning the road, but his luck is expected to improve tomorrow, due to the start order.

Elfyn Evans and Esapekka Lappi, in Toyota GR Yaris and Hyundai i20 N respectively, are currently engaged in a battle for fourth place, separated by a mere 1.1 second. Meanwhile, Takamoto Katsuta, with the fourth Toyota GR Yaris, is facing challenges adapting to the demanding conditions. The same is true for Dani Sordo, who lost some time due to his i20 N's engine stall in SS6.

The day was not successful for M-Sport Ford, as Pierre-Louis Loubet had to retire before the first stage due to a mechanical issue, Ott Tanak struggled with the water pump on his Puma Rally1 throughout the day and Jourdan Serderidis had difficulty adapting to the conditions.

Several crews in WRC2 experienced issues with flat tyres, which significantly affected the day's results. The current leader is Frenchman Yohan Rossel, driving the Citroen C3 R5, with Gus Greensmith and Marco Bulacia, both driving Skoda Fabia RS Rally2, following closely behind, separated by less than 10 seconds. Lambros Athanassoulas, driving a Hyundai i20 N Rally2, is leading among the greek crews, having managed to stay out of trouble by avoiding risks. Alexandros Tsouloftas had to retire due to a broken driveshaft while leading the informal greek classification.

In JWRC the race for the title turned on, after William Creighton, the points leader, had to retire due to a radiator failure. The Irish driver is expected to return tomorrow and try to score as many points as possible. Laurent Pellier is currently leading the class and is very close to winning the title.
It is worth mentioning, though, that organizers were forced to cancel SS4 due to some spectators’ disregard for safety. They were standing in No-Go areas, jeopardizing the event and showing disrespect to all the other spectators.

Saturday is the longest day of the EKO Acropolis Rally, featuring six stages which cover a competitive distance of 141.52 km.

For high quality photos click here.









e-genius.gr ...intelligent web software