While rain at the beginning of the week made Thursday’s Shakedown surprisingly muddy, dust prevailed during the first leg on Friday. In WRC2, Toksport WRT’s Andreas Mikkelsen, supported by new co-driver Elliott Edmondson, and Marco Bulacia/Marcelo Der Ohannesian fought with Oliver Solberg for the lead. When the Swedish youngster was stopped by a suspension issue, the two ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo crews were on their own.
Mikkelsen opted for a cautious approach. “It’s fine. I was very cautious, just making sure the tyres stay away from punctures. You never know because there are so many rocks everywhere. I think it’s the right tactic for this rally,“ the WRC2 points leader said at the day’s half-way point. Teammate Marco Bulacia took the chance without any hesitation and climbed to top spot on the WRC2 leader board. “It’s good. I thought we were going to be slower because I was struggling a lot to find the right rhythm,” the 20-years-old from Bolivia commented. Bulacia posted fastest WRC2 times in four of the day’s five stages, in the end leading Mikkelsen by 5.4 seconds. Georg Linnamäe from Estland and British co-driver James Morgan, sharing an ALM Motorsport run ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, finished leg1 fourth in WRC2 in.
In WRC3, a three-way fight developed between the ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo crews Chris Ingram/Ross Whittock from England, Kajetan Kajetanowicz/Maciej Szczepaniak from Poland and Emil Lindholm/Reeta Hämäläinen from Finland. Coming into the service park on Friday evening, 2019 European Rally Champion Ingram held a 10.4 seconds lead over his Polish rivals with the two Finns a further 3.1 seconds down. After leg 1, seven ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo crews are listed inside the top 10 in WRC3.
The “Rally of Gods” continues on Saturday with six stages covering 132.56 kilometres. This is the longest and toughest leg leading the competitors to some famous stages south of Athens including „Bauxites“ and „Eleftherohori“.
Standings Acropolis Rally Greece after Leg 1 (WRC2)
1. Bulacia/Der Ohannesian (BOL/ARG), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, 1:04:38.0 hrs.
2. Mikkelsen/Edmondson (NOR/GBR), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, +5.4 sec.
3. Gryazin/Aleksandrov (RAF/RAF), Ford Fiesta Rally2, +1:55.1 min.
4. Linnamäe/Morgan (EST/GB), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, +2:04.0 min.
5. Johnston/Kihurani (USA/USA), Citroën C3 Rally2, +2:56.3 min.
6. Prokop/Michal (CZE/CZE), Ford Fiesta Rally2 Mk2, +3:25.1 min.
Standings Acropolis Rally Greece after Leg 1 (WRC3)
1. Ingram/Whittock (GBR/GBR), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, 1:04:49.8 hrs.
2. Kajetanowicz/Szczepaniak (POL/POL), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, +10.4 sec.
3. Lindholm/Korhonen (FIN/FIN), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, +13.5 sec.
4. Rossel/Coria (FRA/FRA), Citroën C3 Rally2, +26.8 sec.
5. Zaldivar/Del Barrio (PRY/ESP), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, +1:40.0 sec.
6. Giorgos/Tsaousoglou (GRC/GRC), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, +3:31.5 sec.
Number of the day: 4
Youngster Marco Bulacia from Bolivia and co-driver Marcelo Der Ohannesian (ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo) today not only scored WRC2 stage wins against experienced competitors like Toksport WRT teammate Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) – they won four of Friday’s five tests.
2021 FIA World Rally Championship
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Arctic Rally Finland powered by CapitalBox, 26 – 28 February
Rally Croatia, 22 – 25 April
Vodafone Rally Portugal, 20 – 23 May
Rally Italia Sardegna, 3 – 6 June
Safari Rally Kenya, 24 – 27 June
Rally Estonia, 15 – 18 July
Renties Ypres Rally Belgium, 13 – 15 August
EKO Acropolis Rally Greece, 9 – 12 September
Rally Finland, 30 September – 3 October
RallyRACC Rally de España, 14 – 17 October