We're half-way there-- The Acropolis Rally of Greece this coming weekend marks the halfway point in the World Rally Championship season, and the battle for the driver's Championship is really heating up. Reigning champion, France's Sebastian...
We're half-way there--
The Acropolis Rally of Greece this coming weekend marks the halfway point in the World Rally Championship season, and the battle for the driver's Championship is really heating up.
Reigning champion, France's Sebastian Loeb's performance in Sardinia last week saw him fail to score any points when he went off the road, allowing Finland's Marcus Gronholm to take back the lead he had lost following Rally Portugal.
A strong Irish contingent will be in Greece for the event as Rally Ireland prepares for its entry into the World Rally Championship in November of this year for the first time. Promoter Ronan Morgan, along with a number of the sporting team will be on hand to see how Greece's Super Special Stage is run, whilst Rally Secretary Claire Walsh will be working with the organisers of the event in competitor and event management for the week.
The Acropolis Rally is based around the Olympic Equestrian Centre, about 30 kilometres from Athens and close to the International Airport. A Super Special Stage will run in the centre's main arena on Thursday, Friday and Sunday of the event.
The Acropolis Rally's gravel speed tests have a fearsome reputation. Cars must withstand severe punishment from loose rocks which become exposed in the mountain tracks as well as hard bedrock which forms the base of the roads. Add in air temperatures which usually top 30C and place high demands on engines and gearboxes, which receive little cooling from the through-flow of air, and it is not hard to see why the Acropolis is such a huge challenge.
Drivers, too, can expect a tough time. There is no cooling inside the cars during the special stages so cockpit temperatures are high and physical fitness plays a crucial role. Ensuring a regular fluid intake is also vital to stave off dehydration and ensure drivers and co-drivers can operate at peak performance over the long tests.
-credit: rally ireland