Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Staff is able to defend its lead within the FIA World Rally Championship on one of the vital well-known and hardest occasions on the calendar, the Acropolis Rally in Greece, 7 – 10 September.
This yr celebrating 70 years as a global occasion, the Acropolis is thought for rocky mountain roads and arduous circumstances that present a harsh check for automobiles, tyres and crews. An virtually everlasting fixture on the WRC schedule till 2013, it returned in 2021 when TGR-WRT and Kalle Rovanperä claimed victory on the first try. Having skilled in final yr’s version simply how robust the Acropolis might be, the crew is decided to return to the rostrum this time round.
With 4 rounds remaining within the 2023 season, TGR-WRT leads the producers’ championship by 67 factors whereas defending drivers’ champion Rovanperä has a bonus of 25 factors over team-mate Elfyn Evans, the winner of the final rally in Finland.
Sébastien Ogier, a winner in Greece in 2011, returns to the line-up for the primary time since his victory on June’s Safari Rally Kenya: one among three wins from his 5 appearances thus far this season. Takamoto Katsuta, recent from a podium in Finland, drives a fourth GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid for simply his second Acropolis begin.
As common, the rally will start within the Greek capital Athens on Thursday night with a ceremonial begin under the traditional Acropolis monuments, adopted by an all-new tremendous particular stage on the town’s waterfront. From there, the route takes crews westwards to Loutraki which serves as a hub for the primary gravel motion on Friday: two passes of the Loutraki stage itself sandwich the close by Pissia check and a tyre-fitting zone. Two additional phases – Livadia and Elatia – are tackled in the course of the afternoon journey north to the service park in Lamia, round which the remainder of the rally relies.
Saturday is the longest day with a 43.9 mile loop of three phases south of Lamia to be run twice both facet of mid-day service. This contains Karoutes, the longest stage of the weekend at 17.7 miles utilizing a part of final yr’s Bauxites however prolonged and pushed within the reverse, downhill, course. Sunday’s motion takes place north-west of Lamia, beginning with a single run over the traditional Tarzan check. A remaining service separates two passes of Grammeni, which final featured within the WRC in 2005 and hosts the rally-ending Energy Stage.
Jari-Matti Latvala (Staff Principal)
“We have now had a very good run of outcomes on current rallies and we hope to proceed that in Greece, however we all know simply how difficult an occasion the Acropolis might be. Final yr it was a really tough rally for our crew, however that’s motivating us to do higher this time, and we have now been creating the GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid rather a lot for tough and dry gravel circumstances. In fact, if it stays dry then Kalle and Elfyn will seemingly face the hardest circumstances in the beginning of the rally, however we hope we will nonetheless combat for sturdy outcomes with them. And it will likely be nice to even have Seb with us as soon as extra and aiming to realize one other victory collectively.”
Kalle Rovanperä (driver automotive 69)
“It’s been good to have a small break after Rally Finland and an opportunity to relaxation and get well earlier than Greece. The Acropolis is a traditional occasion and we have now had some actual highs and lows there up to now two years: to win on our first time there in 2021 was very nice, after which final yr it was a troublesome weekend for us. I’m certain that it gained’t be simple this time both as we can be opening the highway once more on Friday. However along with the crew we have now been working to enhance for these circumstances and we will certainly attempt our greatest to attain some good factors.”
Elfyn Evans (driver automotive 33)
“It was very good to win in Finland however we all know that Greece is a really completely different rally. After the graceful and quick roads of Estonia and Finland, the Acropolis is likely one of the roughest gravel occasions we face in the course of the yr. It subsequently requires one thing somewhat completely different when it comes to automotive setup, one thing nearer to the opposite tough rallies we’ve accomplished earlier this yr. We haven’t had a number of luck in Greece the previous two years, and if it’s dry then it could possibly be a problem on Friday working second on the highway, however we’ll look to do the most effective job we will like all the time.”
Sébastien Ogier (driver automotive 17)
“I’ve had some good break day over the summer time however I’m excited to get again within the GR Yaris Rally1 and to compete in Greece. I actually just like the nation and in addition the rally too. For many of my profession, it was sadly not on the calendar, however now it’s again and I’ve motivation to do properly there. I managed to win it as soon as, and like all the time the plan can be to try to combat for one more victory. Often on this type of rally with dry gravel, my highway place ought to assist me. However two years in the past we truly had fairly a moist and muddy rally, so let’s see. On this type of occasion you must be quick but additionally get via with out bother; the roads are very rocky, and it’s arduous for the tyres and the automobiles.”