A marathon without Acropolis for Greece

Scheduled between September 5 and 9, the 10th round of the WRC calendar will take place in Greece. If this historic test of the discipline will once again offer a selective route, certain choices may raise questions.

Published on 04/05/2024 à 08:37

Loïc ROCCI

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A marathon without Acropolis for Greece

For three years the Acropolis Rally has been meeting the inhabitants of Athens. This will not be the case this year (Photo: Nikos Katikis/DPPI)

The days go by and the presentations of the routes follow one another with constant consistency. So far, only the Sardinian organizers have decided to break the mold and move towards a different program. To find out if this will be beneficial to the attraction of WRC, we will have to observe the progress of the Italian meeting. In the meantime, after Poland and Latvia (which could have taken advantage of the opportunity to set up a 2-day sprint), the Acropolis is revealed in its turn.

Having returned to the WRC calendar in 2021, the Hellenic round offers 303,23 timed kilometers distributed over 15 special stages. The most famous sections (Tarzan, Dafni, Thiva, Aghii Theodori, etc.) are still on the menu of celebrations in a classic distribution spread over three days with the notable absence of the passage through Athens.

During the last three editions, a superspecial had been set up in the capital, first in the streets (2021), then in the Olympic stadium (2022) and finally by the sea (2023). Given the very relative success of the official start near the Acropolis, the organizers decided to avoid it. If no one is going to complain about the elimination of this grueling Lamia-Athens round trip, should we not regret that the rally completely cuts the link with a town of 640 inhabitants? To attract new fans, shouldn't the WRC find solutions to get closer to them? There will also be things to say about Saturday.

After a selective Friday near Lamia (210 km northwest of Athens) where the service park will be located, the competitors will head to Loutraki. This stage will make people cringe, because the crews will cover 696,62 km between leaving the parc ferme at 6:15 a.m. and their return at 19:20 p.m. with only 115,62 km against the clock, 6 SS and no assistance. In comparison, don't the 53,65 km divided into 3 sections on Sunday appear a little light given the distribution of points which penalizes them?

Creating an itinerary capable of satisfying all parties is definitely a difficult exercise. There are many parameters to take into account. While relaxing the rules may result in more diversity, there is no guarantee that this will benefit the WRC.

Loïc ROCCI

Journalist specializing in rallying past, present and future... and with a southern accent

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