Athens (GR), September 10, 2021 – The ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo crews dominated the WRC2 and WRC3 categories at the first stage of the Acropolis Rally Greece (September 9-12, 2021), the ninth round of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC). After six stages, the South Americans Marco Bulacia / Marcelo Der Ohannesian (BOL / ARG) are in the lead ahead of Andreas Mikkelsen / Elliott Edmondson (NOR / GBR), both of whom are ŠKODA Motorsport‘s Toksport WRT team. The 2019 FIA European Rally Champions Chris Ingram / Ross Whittock (GBR / GBR) defended Kajetan Kajetanowicz / Maciej Szczepaniak (POL / POL) and Emil Lindholm / Reeta Hämäläinen (FIN / FIN) in the battle for the WRC3 lead.
While the rain at the beginning of the week made the shakedown on Thursday surprisingly muddy, there was dust on Friday. In the WRC2, Andreas Mikkelsen from Toksport WRT, supported by the new co-driver Elliott Edmondson, and Marco Bulacia / Marcelo Der Ohannesian fought for the lead with Oliver Solberg. When the Swedish youngster was stopped by a chassis problem, the two KODA FABIA Rally2 evo crews were on their own.
Mikkelsen took a cautious approach. “That’s good. I was very careful and just made sure that the tires weren’t punctured. You never know because there are so many rocks everywhere. I think it’s the right tactic for this rally,” said WRC2 -Leaders at halftime of the day. Team-mate Marco Bulacia took the opportunity without hesitation and climbed to first place on the WRC2 leaderboard. “That is good. I thought we were going to slow down because I was having a hard time finding the right rhythm, ”commented the 20-year-old from Bolivia. Bulacia set the fastest WRC2 time in four of the five stages of the day and in the end led Mikkelsen by 5.4 seconds. Georg Linnamäe from Estonia and the British co-driver James Morgan, who shared an ALM Motorsport race ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, finished fourth in the first stage of WRC2.
In WRC3, a three-way battle 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. When driving into the service park on Friday evening, European rally champion Ingram had a lead of 10.4 seconds over his Polish rivals, the two Finns another 3.1 seconds back. After the first stage, seven KODA FABIA Rally2 evo crews are listed in the top 10 of the WRC3.
The “Rally of the Gods” continues on Saturday with six stages over 132.56 kilometers. This is the longest and toughest stage that takes participants to some famous stages south of Athens including “Bauxites” and “Eleftherohori”.
Table Acropolis Rally Greece after Stage 1 (WRC2)
1. Bulacia / Der Ohannesian (BOL / ARG), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, 1: 04: 38.0 hours.
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), KODA 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.
Table Acropolis Rally Greece after Stage 1 (WRC3)
1. Ingram / Whittock (GBR / GBR), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, 1: 04: 49.8 hours.
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 seconds.
Number of the day: 4
Youngster Marco Bulacia from Bolivia and co-driver Marcelo Der Ohannesian (ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo) not only took WRC2 stage wins today against experienced competitors like Toksport WRT team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) – they won four of five tests on Friday.
2021 FIA World Rally Championship
Monte-Carlo Rally, January 21-24
Arctic Rally Finland powered by CapitalBox, February 26-28
Rally Croatia, April 22nd – 25th
Vodafone Rally Portugal, May 20-23
Rallye Italia Sardegna, June 3-6
Safari Rally Kenya, June 24-27
Rally Estonia, July 15-18
Renties Ypres Rally Belgium, August 13th – 15th
EKO Acropolis Rally Greece, September 9th – 12th
Rally Finland, September 30th – October 3rd
RallyRACC Rally de España, October 14th – 17th