Acropolis - P-WRC - Preview
The Production World Rally Championship heads further into the Mediterranean this weekend with its visit to the highly demanding and specialized stages of the Acropolis Rally.
At Monday's pre-event test, a trio of Impreza runners was present,
representing the most potent Subaru-equipped group to tackle a P-WRC event so far this season. 2006 Acropolis winner and current Production championship points' leader Nasser Al Attiyah was on hand, joined by double Production world champion Toshi Arai and Swedish flyer Patrik Flodin.
The test day comprised a total of seven hours' running, three in the morning and another four after lunch. Getting in the absolute maximum mileage over the course of the day, the drivers worked right up to the 4:00pm bell. All three drivers reported themselves to be very happy with their progress, confident the road allowed them to prepare their cars' set-ups perfectly for this weekend. Trying a variety of setups; harder, softer, lower, higher, each felt his car was ready to take on the challenge so unique to Greece.
The temperature was already at 26 degrees by 8am when the test got underway, and climbed steadily to reach 34 degrees by lunchtime. Under gorgeous sunny skies, the crews tackled the same test road as used in 2008. The difference this year is that instead of being 90kms from the Service Park, it was a mere 9kms away. The test road itself measured 5 kilometres, run over tough terrain with very fast sections and finishing with long, fast corners; the combination giving drivers the very best set-up options to give maximum traction over the rough, twisty roads expected on all three days of the rally.
One respite from the heat on this event is due to the altitude of many of the stages, meaning there's often a gentle breeze, and crews will be able to avoid the hanging dust that caused such visibility problems on the previous P-WRC round in Sardinia.
“We've easily got the strongest trio of Impreza entrants here on this event," stated STI Group N Project General Manager George Donaldson. "The big key will be tactics – what strategy each driver will use. It's vital to stay out of trouble in Greece, and it's not necessarily the fastest guy who wins. This is something that drivers very often forget, but history on this event has shown us it's the guy with the fewest number of problems that walks away with the laurels.
“Greece always ends up being a rally won on strength and reliability – and the ability of the driver to maintain patience and really understand what's required from this very tough and technical rally. After the progress made by our guys on the pre-event test today, I'm confident we'll have something to show the competition once the event gets underway.”
In every previous visit to Greece by the P-WRC, the winner of the event has gone on to take that year's Production title.