Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe
WRC Rally Greece

WRC drivers confident rain-hit Acropolis Rally can continue safely

World Rally Championship drivers believe the Acropolis Rally can go ahead safely in the wake of Storm Daniel that has caused torrential rain and flash flooding across Greece.

Raining atmosphere

Regions of Greece have been subjected to severe rainfall and thunderstorms over the past 72 hours, which has caused widespread disruption and flash floods.

The storm has hit Greece, Turkey and Bulgaria claiming the lives of at least 14 people.

The wild weather has disrupted preparations for the rally with the FIA forced to cancel Thursday’s shakedown stage after already electing to shorten stage 14/15 Gremmeni (19.77km) by 10 kilometres for safety reasons.

Acropolis Rally officials continue to monitor the situation on an hourly basis and have stated that safety is paramount in all of its decisions.

The rally is set to continue, beginning with a super special stage on Thursday evening in Athens, 200km south east of host city Lamia.

Weather forecasts are predicting dry, hot weather to arrive from Saturday. Lamia experienced further rain on Thursday morning but it has since relented.

On the whole, drivers feel the conditions are acceptable for the rally to continue but have requested up-to-date videos of the stages before they complete their runs after rain hampered the recce.

“I think the idea is that the weather should improve a lot over the weekend, so I think that is why everyone is trying to maintain this race and make it happen,” Toyota’s Sebastien Ogier told Autosport.

“Obviously, if the weather carries on like this, personally I think it is not reasonable to continue. It looks like it should improve but of course it is difficult for us.

“We have had incredible extreme conditions during the recce, so it is hard to predict what is waiting for us on the road.”

Raining atmosphere

Raining atmosphere

Photo by: Tom Howard

Hyundai boss Cyril Abiteboul admitted to being conflicted by the rally going ahead but believes it can happen in a safe manner. Although he has stressed that it should not aggravate the situation facing local communities.

“I think we are half minded - you want to honour the obligation and the fact there has been lots of effort from the organiser and the country itself to put together a rally,” Abiteboul told Autosport.

“We also must respect the fact that we have a community here that is facing an adverse situation and they also need the support of the authorities and police and so on to make sure civilians are safe.

“It is hard for us to judge the situation. We don’t want to aggravate the situation. It is important that everyone is safe.

“As far as the rally itself, I think it is OK, those cars are capable of dealing with the situation. They are built for being tough.

“The last factor is the drivers, we are trying to find a solution and we are working with the FIA to find a way to get access to the latest information in a fully legal way.”

M-Sport’s Ott Tanak believes the conditions are OK for the rally to progress but is mindful of the wider situation affecting the wider communities.

“For the rally, for sure we can drive it,” said Tanak. “But the general situation like it is, it is difficult to know if it is best to have fun and enjoy the rally. But in the end we are just soldiers and the other guys are making the big decisions.”

Reigning world champion and current championship leader Kalle Rovanpera admitted it was difficult to pass through some sections of the stages in the recce car, but is aware the roads are likely to dry out quickly.

“I think it is mostly OK - there are places where we can barely get through with rally tyres on a recce car, even with rally cars we can barely get through, so I think it is not the best,” Rovanpera, who leads Toyota team-mate Elfyn Evans by 25 points, told Autosport.

“Safety is important - we can drive in bad conditions but of course we don’t want to be in dangerous conditions.”

Be part of the Autosport community

Join the conversation

Related video

Previous article Torrential rain forces WRC Acropolis Rally shakedown cancellation
Next article Rovanpera fully recovered from WRC Finland crash injuries

Top Comments

There are no comments at the moment. Would you like to write one?

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe