Gigi Galli and Giovanni Bernacchini in their Ford Focus RS of the Stobart VK M-Sport Ford team, were not able to finish Rally Acropolis and after winning 2 of today special stages, had to retire three stages before the end of the race. The third...
Gigi Galli and Giovanni Bernacchini in their Ford Focus RS of the Stobart VK M-Sport Ford team, were not able to finish Rally Acropolis and after winning 2 of today special stages, had to retire three stages before the end of the race.
The third and last leg of Rally Acropolis started this morning at 05.50. The 50 crews already in the race, 25 of them racing under Super Rally rule, headed north west of Athens to tackle other 7 special stages before coming back to Tatoi to run the last short super special closing the rally. A total of 102,32 timed kilometers.
Rally Acropolis confirmed to be one of the toughest and rough rounds of the World Rally Championship both for drivers and cars. Today's leg was not as rough as yesterday's one but the thick dust created some problems.
Gigi Galli, who re-started yesterday under Super Rally rule because he has been stopped by hydraulic problems, was able to find a good pace and a good rhythm immediately and obtained the second best time in the second stage of the day, Avlonas of 18,52 km and won the next one Aghia Sotira 10,80 km, that was quite rough.
After the service park Gigi Galli and Giovanni Bernacchini pushed hard in the subsequent stage, Avlonas, winning it. Unfortunately 15km into SS 18, they hit a rock and they broke a suspension arm and had to stop.
Really a difficult race for the Italian crew of the Stobart VK M-Sport Ford team, that anyway won 4 special stages and set good times in several others.
"What a cruel rally this has been for us" said Gigi galli "I knew it would be tough but the conditions were very difficult indeed as you can see from the problems we had on all three days. But we have found a really good feeling with the car and a good speed which has meant some more fastest times and this is the most important thing for me. The only thing we need now is some more luck and hopefully in Turkey this will come. Even in the rough conditions the tyres worked well and I'm confident they will do a good job in Turkey also."
Gigi Galli won the Colin McRae Trophy
A little satisfaction after such a difficult race came by winning the Colin McRae Trophy. The Organisers of Rally Acropolis awarded this prize to the fastest time obtained in one of the special stages of the event, not including the two super special stages. On the first pass on SS Avalos, Gigi had an average speed of 100,77 km/h.
"It is a very special feeling and a big honour to receive this award. Colin was a great hero of mine and to be compared to him is a real pleasure. My rally has not gone according to plan but I pushed as hard as I could when I could to get some fastest times and I'm sure he would have done the same thing in that position. People say we drive in the same style with a lot of energy and passion and it is fantastic when I hear this. Even with a bad rally this has really lifted my spirits."
Next race for Gigi Galli and Giovanni Bernacchini will be anothe gravel event, Rally Turkey, 8th round of the the FIA World Rally Championship, that will take place in Kmer from June 13 to 15th.