Acropolis sacrifices Parthenon for more stage miles

Acropolis Rally of Gods is abandoning its traditional ceremonial start for 2024 to focus on the on-stage spectacle


Is the Acropolis still the Acropolis without the Acropolis? Of course it is.

The organisers of the Acropolis Rally of Gods revealed the itinerary for its September 5-8 event, with significant changes to the Greek classic. Among those changes is the absence of the ceremonial start beneath the world-famous Parthenon in the heart of the nation’s capital Athens.

Back for last year, the Athens start raised the question of the necessity to drive the 120 miles south from the Lamia service park to Athens for what was increasingly been seen as, “just a picture.”

And it was, just a picture. But it was a picture of a site of some history. And I’m not just talking ancient Greek terms – although arguably, the Early and Middle Neolithic periods are underrepresented in the modern-day WRC – but also in terms of the rally itself. All of the greats have been pictured departing for and returning from a great Greek adventure beneath the fifth century temple built in dedication to the Goddess Athena.


The famous landmark has long-been associated with the Acropolis, but the crews will not visit in 2024

Anyway, we’re not going. The start will, instead, take place at the entrance to the service park in Lamia. Less history, less miles. And less action?

Not a bit of it. The Parthenon will be back. It’s not going anywhere. But look out for the Lamia start, the organisers are planning something different. And when it comes to this event, that always means something good.

Moving beyond the start, there’s no Thursday night superspecial. If we’re not in Athens, we can’t be in the Olympic Stadium or use last year’s cool stage in the marina at the south of the city. Instead, it’s an early night and straight into a new loop of Ana Pavliani, Dafni and Tarzan. Back to Lamia for lunchtime service, then back out for more of the same in the afternoon.


A new super special has been added for this year, but we'll have to wait a little longer to find out exactly where it will take place

The Tarzan 15-miler will provide a sting in the tail for the first morning and afternoon. And if you’re not full up to speed with what makes it so tough, allow our own George Donaldson to give you the full insight here.

Now, to Saturday. Which was – largely – Friday last year. A single run through Rengini wakes the crews up for the weekend, starting just after seven. Then it’s one shot at Thiva before Aghii Theodori returns as the live telly stage at 1205. From there it’s a remote tire zone in Loutraki. The Loutraki stage itself opens the afternoon with a second run through Aghii Theodori following.

After that, it’s superspecial time. And for the tens of thousands of fans in the capital city, this could be your moment. We’re not allowed to tell you where the mile-long crowd-pleaser’s going (mainly because our good friend and event director Pavlos Athanassoulas doesn’t want to tell us… yet) but we reckon the road section distances must put is somewhere close to the capital.

And, don’t forget, that mile and a bit of asphalt crowd-pleaser could be an absolute cracker given that it will have the final say in the direction of the 18 points on offer for the leader on Saturday night.

After that, all roads north back to Lamia for, well, for bed. Arriving into the service park at almost half 10 at night, the decision was taken to shift the 45-minute service to Sunday morning. The final day is Inohori once and Eleftherohori twice, totalling 33 miles.

The entire route is longer than last year, in terms of competitive mileage and road section. That’s a good thing. The Acropolis Rally is blessed with so many classic stages, it’s a route we look forward every year, here at DirtFish. And this one doesn’t disappoint.

And the really good news? It’s all free. The whole event is free for all to come and enjoy – that’s the service park, the stages and even Saturday’s superspecial (wherever it might be hiding!).