Kalle Rovanpera / Jonne Halttunen (Toyota Yaris WRC) deservedly won the Rally Acropolis 2021. The Finns did not give a chance to the competition and led the race from the third stage. Second place went to Ott Tanak / M. Jarveoja (Hyundai i20 Couple WRC) at +42.1 seconds. Sebastien Ogier / J. Ingrassia (Toyota Yaris WRC) failed to beat Tanak and took the honorable third place in the Greek Rally at 1: 11.3 after Rovanpera.
Dani Sordo / C. Carrera (Hyundai i20 Couple WRC) held the fourth place, not really fighting for positions due to the big differences. Sordo trailed the leader by 3: 01.0.
The big loser from the Acropolis Rally is Thierry Neuville, who finished eighth with a time of 8: 41.1.
Today, light rain in some places created problems for pilots who used notes in dry weather, as Neuville visibly returned the gas, stopping to trust the optimistic notes. Only in the initial stage today CE13 Tarzan 1 (23.37km) Neuville lost 42.1 seconds.
In the longest CE14 Pyrgos of 33.20 km, the driver Rovanpera lost 9.9 seconds due to the mud in the forest, where it was not yet dry and the use of hard tires in front.
According to Ogier, the best choice is soft tires, but most pilots rely on hard tires.
Power Stage was won today by Kalle Rovanpera with a lead of 1.2 seconds over Elfyn Evans, who was definitely not on the level with his huge lag in the stages.
In the RC2 category, Andreas Mikkelsen / E. Edmondson (Skoda Fabia Rally2 Evo) had a hard time taking first place and were only 16.7 seconds ahead of Marco Bulacia / M. Der Ohannesian (Skoda Fabia Rally2 Evo).
Just three rounds before the end of the championship Sebastien Ogier has a comfortable lead with an asset of 180 points over Elfyn Evans with 136 points. The third position is for Thierry Neuville with 130 points, and Kalle Rovanpera taking the maximum 30 points reached the 4th place with 129 points.
After a very wet and rainy shakedown and the first special stage on Friday, the race started with dry tracks in places and a temperature of about 23 degrees.
Sebastien Ogier / J. Ingrassia (Toyota Yaris WRC) took the lead after the second stage with a length of 17.54 km, followed by Ott Tanak / M. Jarveoja (Hyundai i20 Couple WRC) only 0.8 seconds behind.
The big loser at this stage is Mads Ostberg (Citroen C3 Rally2), who had a problem with the differential, losing almost 5 and a half minutes.
In the CE 3 - Loutraki (19.40 km) Kalle Rovanpera / Jonne Halttunen (Toyota Yaris WRC) took the lead with 3 seconds ahead of Ott Tanak. Ogier dropped to third place with a minimal lag of 4.3 seconds.
Thierry Neuville had problems with the car's behavior, and Ott Tanak complained of overheating of the shock absorber.
After the end of the first day, Kalle Rovanpera / Jonne Halttunen (Toyota Yaris WRC) has a fragile lead of 3.7 seconds ahead of Ott Tanak / M. Jarveoja (Hyundai i20 Couple WRC) and 3.9 ahead of Ogier.
Very good performance and safe piloting of the crew Dani Sordo / C. Carrera (Hyundai i20 Couple WRC), who secured fourth place despite a 10 second penalty.
On the second day there are no more rains and a wet track. It is dry and with ideal conditions of +17 C in the morning.
Throughout the second day, Kalle Rovanpera gained the lead in each of the 4 stages in the first part of the day. Although he complained about a poor choice of tires, Rovanpera had no competition.
And although the last two stages Kalle Rovanpera failed to win the stages due to lack of accurate tires, still after Day 2 Kalle Rovanpera / Jonne Halttunen (Toyota Yaris WRC) lead by 30.8 seconds.
In second place are Ott Tanak / M. Jarveoja (Hyundai i20 Couple WRC) and third Sebastien Ogier / J. Ingrassia (Toyota Yaris WRC) in 40.2 seconds.
Dani Sordo continued to lose a lot of time, but still retained fourth place at 2: 09.4.
After Sordo are the crews of the Ford Fiesta WRC led by Adrien Fourmaux / Renaud Jamoul, but now with a serious delay.
First in RC2 are Marco Bulacia / M. Der Ohannesian with Skoda Fabia Rally2 Evo.
40 crews continue on Sunday with only three special stages until the final of the Acropolis Rally 2021.
K. Rovanpera / Johnee Halttunen managed to overtake Elfyn Evans / Scott Martin in the 18th speed stage. The difference between them was minimal, and the fight is for every tenth. So Rovanpera came out on the 3rd position. With this battle, Rovanpera broke the top three of Hyundai, winning the honorable 3rd place on the ladder for Toyota.
After some minor mistakes, Craig Breen / Paul Nagle fell slightly behind, so the comfort of Neuville at the end before Power Stage reached 24.3 seconds.
In the end, the local star managed to win. Neuville is well acquainted with the sections here in Belgium and has not made any mistakes. Craig Breen / Paul Nagle did their best to finished second.
Here is what the winner commented after the end of the last speed stage Thierry Neuville: I mean, we had a lot of pressure coming here, but I felt quite comfortable all the weekend and I could rely on my team and the car. It was a pleasure for me to give this first win to Martijn here in Belgium. It should have come earlier, but we were unlucky. It feels good here now.
At the end of the race Sebastien Ogier commented: I don't know if it's work that we need to plan. For sure, we have been quite unlucky with the conditions of the roads and I didn’t expect it to be so tough. The setup was not the best at the start of the rally, but we came away from here with some more points which is good.
1.Thierry Neuville / M. Wydaeghe (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) 2:30:24.2
2. Craig Breen / Paul Nagle (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +30.7
3. K. Rovanpera / Johnee Halttunen (Toyota Yaris WRC) +43.1
4. Elfyn Evans / Scott Martin (Toyota Yaris WRC) +49.6
5. Sebastien Ogier / J. Ingrassia (Toyota Yaris WRC) +55.8
6. Ott Tanak / M. Jarveoja (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +3:46.5
Ott Tanak / M. Jarveoja won the Power Stage, taking the stage with a 2.0-second lead over Ogier.
In the Rally2 category, the winners are Rossel Yohan / Coria Alexandre Citroën C3 Rally2.