The organizers of September’s Acropolis Rally have promised the event will remain ‘the full monte’ in terms of the challenge it poses to World Rally Championship regulars.
The Greek event’s first return to the WRC since 2013 was confirmed on Friday.
While the Acropolis comes in as a replacement for Rally Chile, which was lost to ongoing coronavirus concerns in South America, the Athens-based organizer has agreed a multi-year deal to ensure one of the series’ founding rounds can again look forward to a WRC future.
As previously outlined by DirtFish, the route for the September 9-12 event will be based out of either Loutraki or Lamia. That route will be delivered in just over two weeks.
The FIA has always made it clear an event coming to the championship to replace another rally can run below the stipulated 300-kilometer (180-mile) agreed limit.
A source in the event told DirtFish: “We won’t do that. We want to run the full Monte. We have a reputation to maintain and when we deliver the route in 15 days, you will see that this is what we’re going to do.”
The event enjoys unprecedented levels of government backing, with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis calling the event “a very special race” and “an epic annual contest that tested drivers like no other.”
Greece is ready to prove that it will be a major player in international events againLefteris Avgenakis, Deputy Minister of Sports
The decision of where to base the rally will be taken at a government level. While Lamia might have more historic relevance, Loutraki boasts a stronger infrastructure to house the event with the Casino Hotel close to the Corinth Canal – (used the last time the WRC was in town in 2013) being supplemented by further newly built hotels.
The favored option within the organizing group is understood to be a Loutraki base with a day one remote tire zone taking the crews north towards Lamia for classic stages such as Thiva, Bauxites and Drossohori.
Regardless of the route, the organizers are determined to see fans back on the stages and in the service park.
The source added: “I like the September date, I would say it’s the ideal date for us. It can still be hot – we can still have 35 degrees in September, so the challenge is still there, but also there is less traffic around as we’re nearly finished with summer.
“The target is to have 80% of the population vaccinated against coronavirus by September so that combined with some sensible precautions, like masks, should hopefully enough for us to bring spectators back to what is an outdoor event – that’s so important for us.”
Fans have played a big part in the return of the Acropolis, with Deputy Minister of Sports Lefteris Avgenakis saying: “We are delighted to be able to fulfil our promise to the Greek people and the hundreds of thousands of motorsport fans worldwide.
“Greece is ready to welcome fans from all around the world in September and prove that it will be a major player in international events again.”