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Acropolis Rally Preview Notes

World Rally Championship: Round 8 - Greece - 22 May, 0:20 +0200 45th Acropolis Rally FIA World Rally Championship - Round 8 7 - 9 June 1998 ...

World Rally Championship: Round 8 - Greece - 22 May, 0:20 +0200 45th Acropolis Rally FIA World Rally Championship - Round 8 7 - 9 June 1998

Stage Surface Gravel Event distance 1,417.95 km Competitive distance 386.65 km Special Stages/Legs 17 / 3 Base Delphi Time difference GMT + 2hrs THE DRIVERS LIKE... * Greece's enthusiasm for the sport. ...AND DISLIKE * The intense heat that is physically demanding and draining. ABOUT THE 1998 ACROPOLIS RALLY * The Acropolis Rally is a gravel event run over a total distance of 1,417.95 km. * Rally Headquarters has moved northwest to Delphi, although the start will continue to take place at the Acropolis in Athens. * Legs two and three are identical. FOR THE RECORD - 1997 PREVIOUS WINNERS OF THE ACROPOLIS RALLY * Ford won their first World Championship event of the season, their first 1-2 since San Remo in 1993, and the first World Championship win with the Escort World Rally Car. * Subaru lost both drivers to steering problems, but retained their lead in the Manufacturers' Championship. * This was the roughest special stage world rally in memory, yet it had the biggest entry since 1988. * Over 50% of the field finished. * Team orders ensured that Carlos Sainz rose from second to first. * The most lasting memory of the event was the amazing double team order manipulations in the closing stages. Both Ford and Mitsubishi gave instructions to ensure that their top drivers gained the most Drivers' Championship points as possible. 1990 Carlos Sainz (Toyota) 1991 Juha Kankkunen (Lancia) 1992 Didier Auriol (Lancia) 1993 Miki Biasion (Ford) 1994 Carlos Sainz (Subaru) 1995 Aris Vovos (F2) 1996 Colin McRae (Subaru) 1997 Carlos Sainz (Ford) ABOUT THE 1997 RALLY OF GREECE * Bad weather during the winter and early spring did much to damage road surfaces in Greece. * It was the 10th anniversary of using anti-deflation mousse in tyres on rallies and seldom had they been required as much. * Carlos Sainz and Colin McRae set equal times on the opening stage, but the Scot was soon knocked out. McRae slid wide in a bend and the steering broke when he hit a rock on the side of the road. * Makinen took over the lead but eased the pace to conserve his tyres, then suffered two flat rear tyres! * Despite bent steering, Kenneth Eriksson took the lead for two stages, but his steering locked on a fast stretch and he rolled. * Sainz suffered with the spectators who became confused when they failed to see McRae running ahead of the Spaniard. He spun off and damaged the rear end of the car. * Juha Kankkunen inherited the lead and at the end of the day was 27 seconds ahead of Makinen and Richard Burns, who were tied for second. * The second Leg is one that Makinen would like to forget. It started badly with a problem to the turbocharger on the way to the first stage. He then crashed and sustained a host of problems throughout the rest of the day. * Burns held a steady second position until an engine mounting failed and the radiator split on the final stage of the Leg. * The day finished with the two Fords of Kankkunen and Sainz taking first and second, with Burns lying third overnight. * Kenneth Eriksson's problems were still not over; the Swede landed heavily after a jump and the steering failed and he was forced into retirement. * Burns was a danger to the Fords on the final day until he had brake failure on the first stage and dropped a minute. 1997 RALLY OF GREECE RESULTS POS DRIVER CAR TIME 1 Carlos Sainz Escort World Rally Car 4.56.24 2 Juha Kankkunen Escort World Rally Car 4.56.41 3 Tommi Makinen Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IV 5.01.27 4 Richard Burns Mitsubishi Carisma GT 5.01.31 5 Thomas Radstrom Toyota Celica GT-4 5.04.11 6 Uwe Nittel Mitsubishi Lancer Evo III 5.06.26 7 Gregoire de Mevius Escort World Rally Car 5.07.49 8 Yukihiko Sakurai Subaru Impreza 555 5.11.15 9 Aris Vovos Subaru Impreza 555 5.12.05 10 Leonidas Kirkos Escort World Rally Car 5.14.33 R Kenneth Eriksson Subaru Impreza 555 WRC97 R Colin McRae Subaru Impreza 555 WRC97 555 SUBARU WORLD RALLY TEAM IN GREECE 1994 Carlos Sainz Subaru Impreza 555 1st Colin McRae Subaru Impreza 555 Excluded 1996 Colin McRae Subaru Impreza 555 1st Piero Liatti Subaru Impreza 555 4th Kenneth Eriksson Subaru Impreza 555 5th 1997 Colin McRae Subaru Impreza 555 WRC97 R Kenneth Eriksson Subaru Impreza 555 WRC97 R ACROPOLIS RALLY TERRAIN * The Acropolis Rally is characterised by its rock-strewn, heavy gravel terrain and is one of the hardest rallies on cars in the world. * Running first is not considered to be an advantage because of loose gravel lying on the stages. * Blistering heat is traditionally a telling factor on both the drivers and cars.

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Series WRC
Drivers Tommi Makinen , Colin McRae , Carlos Sainz , Richard Burns , Didier Auriol , Thomas Radstrom , Juha Kankkunen , Kenneth Eriksson , Miki Biasion , Gregoire de Mevius , Piero Liatti , Uwe Nittel