Acropolis Rally of Greece in the World Rally Championship

Acropolis Rally of Greece
GR Greece (Athens)
Since 1951
WRC since 1973 (21st edition)
Surface: Gravel

The Acropolis Rally of Greece is one of the most storied and challenging events in the world of rallying. It began in 1951, quickly establishing itself as a cornerstone of the European rally scene. Named after the iconic Acropolis of Athens, the rally is renowned for its tough and rugged terrain, making it a true test of endurance and skill for both drivers and their vehicles.

The rally's early years saw it gaining prominence due to the demanding nature of the Greek terrain, characterized by rough gravel roads and steep mountain tracks. These conditions have always been a significant factor in the rally, pushing competitors to their limits. The Acropolis Rally's reputation for difficulty earned it the nickname "Rally of the Gods", reflecting both its classical heritage and the near-mythical challenge it presents.

In 1973, the Acropolis Rally became a part of the inaugural FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), further cementing its status as a premier event in the international rallying calendar. As a WRC event, it attracted top drivers and teams from around the world, who sought to conquer its notoriously punishing stages. The rally's inclusion in the WRC brought with it increased visibility and prestige, making it one of the most anticipated rallies of the season.

The stages of the Acropolis Rally are legendary for their harsh conditions, with rocky surfaces and dusty trails that can quickly deteriorate, especially under the intense heat of the Greek summer. These elements combine to create a grueling challenge that demands not only driving skill but also strategic acumen and resilience from the competitors.

Over the decades, the Acropolis Rally has been a stage for numerous memorable performances and has witnessed the triumphs of rallying legends. Its history is filled with dramatic moments and intense competition, reflecting the evolution of the sport itself. The rally's enduring appeal lies in its ability to combine the rich cultural heritage of Greece with the exhilarating demands of top-level rallying.

The Acropolis Rally of Greece remains a beloved and iconic event in the WRC, celebrated for its history, its challenges, and its spectacular setting. The rally continues to be a highlight of the motorsport calendar, drawing fans and competitors to Greece to experience the unique thrill of the "Rally of the Gods."

Acropolis rally best stage

The Acropolis Rally of Greece is renowned for its punishing stages, but the most iconic and revered is the Bauxites stage. This stage epitomizes the rally's reputation for toughness and breathtaking scenery.

The Bauxites stage is characterized by its rugged terrain and rock-strewn roads, which challenge even the most experienced drivers. The stage takes its name from the bauxite mines in the region, adding a unique industrial backdrop to the natural beauty of the Greek landscape. The rough and rocky surface demands precise driving and excellent car control, as the jagged rocks can easily cause punctures or damage to the rally cars.

One of the most remarkable features of the Bauxites stage is its elevation changes. Drivers must navigate steep climbs and descents, testing their ability to maintain control and speed in varying conditions. The stage's high vantage points offer spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and valleys, making it as visually stunning as it is technically demanding.

The dust and heat of the Bauxites stage add another layer of difficulty. The intense Greek sun can create blinding dust clouds, reducing visibility and making the already treacherous roads even more challenging. The combination of heat and rough terrain tests the endurance of both the drivers and their vehicles, requiring careful management of resources and strategic planning.

Historically, the Bauxites stage has been the site of some of the most dramatic moments in the Acropolis Rally. Its unforgiving nature has often been a decisive factor in the rally's outcome, with many rallies won or lost on its harsh roads. The stage's legendary status within the rally community stems from these high-stakes battles and the sheer difficulty it presents.

The Bauxites stage is a microcosm of what makes the Acropolis Rally unique: its blend of historical significance, natural beauty, and extreme challenge. It remains a favorite among drivers and fans alike, symbolizing the enduring appeal and iconic status of the Acropolis Rally in the world of motorsport.

Acropolis rally winners

The Acropolis Rally has seen numerous legendary drivers claim victory, reflecting the event's prestige and the challenge it presents. Among the most notable winners are:

  1. Walter Röhrl: The German rally driver won the Acropolis Rally twice, first in 1975 and again in 1983. Röhrl's victories are particularly memorable due to his exceptional skill in handling the treacherous Greek terrain.

  2. Juha Kankkunen: The Finnish rally icon triumphed at the Acropolis Rally five times (1986, 1987, 1991, 1993, and 1994). His repeated successes here underscore his mastery of the rally’s demanding conditions and solidified his status as one of the greatest rally drivers of all time.

  3. Carlos Sainz: The Spanish rally legend claimed victory at the Acropolis Rally three times (1990, 1994, and 1995). Sainz's wins were pivotal in his career, highlighting his consistency and technical prowess.

  4. Colin McRae: The charismatic Scottish driver won the Acropolis Rally twice (1996 and 2001). McRae's aggressive driving style and fearless approach endeared him to fans and contributed to his legendary status in rallying history.

  5. Sébastien Loeb: The French driver, often regarded as the greatest rally driver in history, won the Acropolis Rally three times (2005, 2008, and 2012). Loeb’s victories were part of his dominant era in the World Rally Championship, showcasing his unparalleled talent and strategic intelligence.

  6. Marcus Grönholm: Another Finnish rally superstar, Grönholm secured victories at the Acropolis Rally in 2002 and 2006. His wins here were marked by his ability to navigate the rough stages with precision and speed.

These drivers' successes at the Acropolis Rally highlight their exceptional abilities to conquer one of the most challenging events in the World Rally Championship. Their victories are celebrated milestones in the rally's rich history, reflecting both their individual talents and the enduring allure of the Acropolis Rally.

Seasons in World Rally Championship

1973 Jean-Luc Therier    Wed 23rd - Sun 27th May 
1974 Cancelled Oil crisis.
1975 Walter Rohrl    Sat 24th - Sat 31st May 
1976 Harry Kallstrom    Sat 22nd - Fri 28th May 
1977 Bjorn Waldegard    Sat 28th May - Fri 3rd Jun 
1978 Walter Rohrl    Mon 29th May - Fri 2nd Jun 
1979 Bjorn Waldegard    Mon 28th - Thu 31st May 
1980 Ari Vatanen    Mon 26th - Thu 29th May 
1981 Ari Vatanen    Mon 1st - Thu 4th Jun 
1982 Michele Mouton    Mon 31st May - Thu 3rd Jun 
1983 Walter Rohrl    Mon 30th May - Thu 2nd Jun 
1984 Stig Blomqvist    Mon 28th - Thu 31st May 
1985 Timo Salonen    Mon 27th - Thu 30th May 
1986 Juha Kankkunen    Mon 2nd - Tue 24th Jun 
1987 Markku Alen    Sun 31st May - Wed 3rd Jun 
1988 Massimo Biasion    Sun 29th May - Wed 1st Jun 
1989 Massimo Biasion    Sat 27th May - Thu 1st Jun 
1990 Carlos Sainz    Sun 3rd - Wed 6th Jun 
1991 Juha Kankkunen    Sun 2nd - Wed 5th Jun 
1992 Didier Auriol    Sun 31st May - Wed 3rd Jun 
1993 Massimo Biasion    Sun 30th May - Tue 1st Jun 
1994 Carlos Sainz    Sun 29th - Tue 31st May 
... 1 year discontinued ...
1996 Colin McRae    Sun 2nd - Tue 4th Jun 
1997 Carlos Sainz    Sat 7th - Tue 10th Jun 
1998 Colin McRae    Sat 6th - Tue 9th Jun 
1999 Richard Burns    Sun 6th - Wed 9th Jun 
2000 Colin McRae    Thu 8th - Sun 11th Jun 
2001 Colin McRae    Thu 14th - Sun 17th Jun 
2002 Colin McRae    Thu 13th - Sun 16th Jun 
2003 Markko Martin    Thu 5th - Sun 8th Jun 
2004 Petter Solberg    Thu 3rd - Sun 6th Jun 
2005 Sebastien Loeb    Fri 24th - Sun 26th Jun 
2006 Marcus Gronholm    Fri 2nd - Sun 4th Jun 
2007 Marcus Gronholm    Thu 31st May - Sun 3rd Jun 
2008 Sebastien Loeb    Thu 29th May - Sun 1st Jun 
2009 Mikko Hirvonen    Fri 12th - Sun 14th Jun 
... 1 year discontinued ...
2011 Sebastien Ogier    Fri 17th - Sun 19th Jun 
2012 Sebastien Loeb    Thu 24th - Sun 27th May 
2013 Jari-Matti Latvala    Fri 31st May - Sun 2nd Jun 
... 7 years discontinued ...
2021 Kalle Rovanpera   Thu 09th - Sun 12th Sep
2022 Thierry Neuville   Fri 09th - Sun 11th Sep
2023 Kalle Rovanpera   Thu 07th - Sun 10th Sep
2024 Thu 05th - Thu 05th Sep