Only Katsuta missed his Acropolis test due to fires

M-Sport was totally unaffected, while Toyota and Hyundai had to shuffle its plans


After a week of arranging and re-arranging roads in central Greece, the World Rally Championship teams have completed their pre-Acropolis running and Takamoto Katsuta is the only factory driver to miss out.

The teams were restricted on roads after local government officials stepped in and blocked plans to drive in the Loutraki region.

Sébastien Ogier’s return to the factory squad means the Japanese won’t be registered to score points for Toyota in Greece.

Ogier, championship leader Kalle Rovanperä and winner last time out Elfyn Evans all completed their day of running. Hyundai split its test across the weekend, with Esapekka Lappi first up before Thierry Neuville and Dani Sordo stepped aboard the i20 N Rally1 test car on Monday and Tuesday respectively this week.

M-Sport’s plan to run on roads further north paid dividends with its three-day test unaffected. Ott Tänak, Pierre-Louis Loubet and Jourdan Serderidis completed a day each in the Ford Puma Rally1 Hybrid.

Temperatures are expected to remain well into the 90s (Fahrenheit) through rally week with the potential for rain-delivering thunderstorms fading. Currently, the rally’s final day has a 10% chance of a shower in the morning.

With those conditions, local authorities and emergency services will remain on high alert. While last month’s fires around Lamia have been extinguished, the European Union’s largest ever wildfire remains out of control in the country’s north.

An area of 310 square miles (800 square kilometers) is still burning in a fire which began on August 19 and has, so far, killed 20 people.

DirtFish understands the WRC teams will join Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in publicly thanking the Lamia fire department and all Greece’s firefighters before the start of next week’s Acropolis Rally.