Acropolis Rally Greece: Day 4 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing concludes a rocky Acropolis weekend
The TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team has completed a very challenging weekend at the Acropolis Rally Greece without the overall results it desired but with some important points secured to maintain its advantage in the drivers’ and manufacturers’ championships.
In its second running since returning to the FIA World Rally Championship calendar, the Acropolis lived up to its reputation with slippery and rocky roads and high temperatures providing a considerable challenge. For much of the weekend, the team was in contention for a podium position but those hopes ended early on the final morning when Elfyn Evans had to retire from fourth place after an engine-related issue on the road section to SS14.
With this, the team’s focus moved to the rally-ending Power Stage. Here, Kalle Rovanperä managed to set the second-fastest time to claim four bonus points. The championship leader experienced a trying weekend after sweeping the loose gravel roads on Friday before losing around 15 minutes on Saturday morning after damaging his car. However, his Power Stage drive ensures he still leads the drivers’ championship by 53 points with three rounds remaining.
Esapekka Lappi was running in second place on Saturday before he was slowed and forced to stop by a technical issue. Restarting on Sunday, he set the fifth-best time on the Power Stage. With the points scored by Rovanperä and Lappi for reaching the finish combined with those they claimed on the Power Stage, the team remains in the lead of the manufacturers’ championship by 63 points.
Takamoto Katsuta was the highest-finishing GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID driver, completing his Acropolis Rally debut in sixth overall to maintain his unbroken scoring run in 2022 with TGR WRT Next Generation.
Jari-Matti Latvala (Team Principal)
“It has been a very difficult weekend for us and our overall results at the finish are not good. There has been a combination of many factors contributing to those results and we have to learn from this weekend about why things went wrong and we must improve for the future. Elfyn’s retirement this morning was a particularly disappointing way to start the final day and we are already investigating what happened. The good thing is that we got Kalle and Esapekka both to the finish with some really helpful points towards the manufacturers’ championship plus five more from the Power Stage, and Kalle especially did a really good drive there to take four points for his own championship. We still have a good lead and now we need to look positively towards Rally New Zealand.”
Elfyn Evans (Driver car 33)
“We started this morning in a nice position after a tough weekend, back in contention for the podium and we were looking forward to that fight. Unfortunately on the road section we had an issue with the engine which developed as we got closer to the stage and with no easy fix we had to retire the car. It’s obviously a disappointing end to a weekend where we struggled overall, especially in the looser conditions at the start of the rally, so we have areas to work on there. We did manage to make progress during the weekend which was one positive, and now we look forward to a new challenge in New Zealand.”
Kalle Rovanperä (Driver car 69)
“It has been a long and tough weekend, more difficult than we expected and not what we wanted. At least we were able to get some points in the Power Stage today. The feeling again was tricky this morning running near the front of the order and we also needed to bring the car home to secure the manufacturers’ points, but we tried to do our best in the Power Stage. It wasn’t easy, I had to push everywhere including in the rough parts but we managed to get some good points so the situation isn’t so bad for the championship. Now we need to concentrate on the next one and come back much stronger.”
Esapekka Lappi (Driver car 4)
“Today we were more or less driving through, as we needed to make sure we got to the finish to bring home some points for the team, but we managed to get one extra point from the Power Stage as well. It has been a very challenging weekend for the team. From my side I think we were managing quite well until we had to stop yesterday, the speed and performance was not too bad, but as a team we need to keep working, learn from the issues and move forwards.”
PROVISIONAL FINAL CLASSIFICATION, ACROPOLIS RALLY GREECE
1 Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe (Hyundai i20 N Rally1 HYBRID) 3h34m52.0s
2 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Hyundai i20 N Rally1 HYBRID) +15.0s
3 Dani Sordo/Cándido Carrera (Hyundai i20 N Rally1 HYBRID) +1m49.7s
4 Pierre-Louis Loubet/Vincent Landais (Ford Puma Rally1 HYBRID) +3m42.2s
5 Craig Breen/Paul Nagle (Ford Puma Rally1 HYBRID) +4m09.0s
6 Takamoto Katsuta/Aaron Johnston (Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID) +6m21.1s
7 Emil Lindholm/Reeta Hämäläinen (Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo) +7m46.6s
8 Nikolay Gryazin/Konstantin Aleksandrov (Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo) +8m22.7s
9 Alexandros Tsouloftas/Ross Whittock (Volkswagen Polo GTI R5) +10m53.8s
10 Eyvind Brynildsen/Roger Eilertsen (Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo) +10m56.7s
15 Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen (Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID) +16m49.0s
22 Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID) +24m39.0s
Retired Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID)
(Results as of 15:30 on Sunday, for the latest results please visit www.wrc.com)
The WRC heads to Rally New Zealand (September 29–October 2) for the first time in 10 years. The smooth gravel roads around the capital city Auckland on the country’s North Island are hugely popular with drivers for their fast and flowing nature and considerable camber changes.
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