Ready to battle on the Greek gravel
We will be going for gold at next weekend’s Acropolis Rally, the tenth round of the 2023 WRC season, following consecutive top-three finishes in Estonia and Finland. The gruelling Greek gravel gave us our best ever result in 2022, as we claimed a 1-2-3 finish.
“Following a podium in Finland and a dominant performance here last year, we are feeling confident for Acropolis Rally,” said Cyril, our Team Principal. “Our dream for this weekend is ultimately to have a repeat of last year’s results; at a minimum we are targeting all cars finishing in the top five.”
One of the most unique and exhilarating events on the calendar, Acropolis Rally featured in the WRC’s inaugural season and quickly established itself as one of the most challenging rallies for both crew and car. The rough and rocky mountain roads, paired with this year’s scorching hot temperatures, are sure to produce an even tougher competition than usual.
The rally is also renowned for its unique super special stages which kick off the event in style. The 2023 edition will commence in front of a new scenic backdrop, as our crews take on a 1.48km seaside stage on Thursday evening. 14 lengthy stages will follow, with the entire itinerary covering a total distance of 307.89km.
Inspired by success
Last season, our crews expertly navigated the abrasive gravel stages to secure a historic podium lock-out, with Thierry and Martijn on the top step and Dani and Cándido rounding out the rostrum in third. It was an impressive display by the i20 N Rally1 Hybrid, carrying our crews to nine stage victories and 22 top-three stage finishes. Both our Belgian and Spanish pairings will be hoping the success of 2022 will inspire another strong result this time around.
“I would rate Acropolis Rally as one of the harder events on the WRC calendar,” revealed Thierry. “You need reliability, a strong car and the right setup for every challenge; if you can be comfortable in every circumstance, it’s easier to go fast.”
“It would be amazing this year to repeat our 1-2-3 finish from last season,” added Dani, “but our goal is to just get the best out of the car, keep it clean and score as many points as we can.”
Esapekka and Janne have contested the Greek event previously in both WRC and ERC, with a best result of fourth place in the latter series. The duo has also displayed strong pace at this season’s pervious gravel rallies and will be hoping to emulate that performance and bounce back after a disappointing Rally Finland.
“It is either really tough or very hot, and sometimes even both, and that is what makes this rally special,” said Esapekka. “The goal is to make it onto the podium. That’s where I want to be on Sunday, so this needs to be what we push for.”
Acropolis Rally will take place September 7-10.