Acropolis : Subaru / PCWRC - Preview
For the first time in the Production Car World Rally Championship's history, competitors will visit the gruelling stages of Greece for the legendary Acropolis Rally. 2006 marks the 53rd running of the event, one of iconic stature in the
world of rallying.
This year also marks the first time the entire event will be centered in the capital city, Athens. Fans will be able to watch the Superspecial spectator stages from inside the Olympic Stadium; with the Service Park and Rally HQ also located in the city centre. All stages throughout the entire three days of competition are located within 80 kilometres of the city, so crowds are expected to be huge as access to the action has never been easier.
Following on from the ultra-quick stages of Round 3 in Argentina, the Acropolis Rally is somewhat slower in terms of outright pace, but is well known as a car-killer. The roads are littered with sharp rocks and are typically very bumpy, making the going all the more difficult as crews navigate the unforgiving terrain in the murderous Greek summer heat.
Although the event is being run three weeks earlier this year than in 2005, temperatures are expected to soar. This will be particularly noticeable inside the cars, where temperatures regularly hit 60 degrees Celsius. Mechanical failures are also a very common sight on the Acropolis Rally, earning the reputation as the single toughest event in the world rally championship.
As for competitors, all except one of the 19 registered PCWRC entrants are scheduled to take part, making for one of the most highly competitive events of the season.
Eight entrants will be competing in Subaru Impreza spec C machines, including 2005 PCWRC champion Toshi Arai, last season's vice champion Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah (Qatar), Polish newcomer Leszek Kuzaj, Finland's Jari Matti Latvala, Five-time Russian rally champion Sergei Uspenskiy, Finn Aki Teiskonen, Japanese debutant Takuma Kamada and Briton Nigel Heath.
After making it through three days of unrelenting heat and dust, the Production Car competitors will welcome the 12-week mid-summer break before the championship resumes in the first week of September on Rally Japan.
George Donaldson, STI Group N Project General Manager
“Talking to some of the drivers and co-drivers after the first day of recce revealed some differing opinions about the stage road conditions. Therefore, it will be interesting to see how the drivers fare as they will undoubtedly use different strategies. I believe that our Impreza drivers have a strong car and enough experience to see us challenging - and perhaps setting the pace - on this most difficult of European rallies. With the series starting to show favourites, it will be very revealing at the end of the event as we could see a clear championship leader emerge.”
Press release Subaru