Greece is gearing up for the Acropolis Rally, a unique motor racing event that kicks off on Thursday at the Athens Olympic Stadium.
A total of seventy entries with crews from thirty-one countries will participate. There are 188.46 miles of Acropolis gravel for the drivers to contend with this year.
And there’s also a spectacular special stage to kick off proceedings in Athens’ Olympic stadium.
Dubbed as the “Rally of Gods,” Acropolis Rally is held on very dusty, rough, and rocky mountain roads of mainland Greece at high speeds and is best known for being extremely tough on competing cars and drivers.
First held in 1951 and part of the World Rally Championship (WRC), the Acropolis Rally is one of the toughest car races and one of the longest-standing international rallying events.
“The Acropolis Rally is the best investment for the promotion of Greek tourism internationally,” said Dimitris Fragakis, secretary general of the GNTO, which is a grand sponsor of the historic rally that goes by the name “EKO Rally Acropolis 2022” after its main sponsor of the year.
“The visibility and impact of the ‘Rally of the Gods’ contributes significantly to the promotion of Greece,” said Fragakis, adding that the race will be broadcast worldwide. “The Acropolis Rally is the best investment for the promotion of Greek tourism internationally.”
More than a million viewers in 150 countries across the globe will have the chance to see images of Greece, as many of the routes showcase lesser-known areas, he said.
History of Acropolis Rally
The Acropolis Rally started out as a marathon/endurance type event back in the early 1950s. When the rally became part of the World Rally Championship after 1973, the crews had to face up to eight hundred competitive kilometers in some of the most grueling stages and conditions imaginable.
This trip involved locations throughout Greece up to the late 1980s, such as the more well-known Kalambaka and Meteora, stages near Mount Olympus, Attica, Central Greece, and even down south in the Peloponnese.
Traditionally, the opening ceremony always took place under the legendary Acropolis in Athens while the closing ceremony was in the Panathenaic stadium.
The Acropolis Rally has been held since 1951 by the Greek Motorsports Organization Automobile and Touring Club of Greece (ELPA), making it one of the longest-standing competitions in world rallying.
Many world-renowned drivers have become champions, including Walter Röhrl, Björn Waldegård, Ari Vatanen, Stig Blomqvist, Juha Kankkunen, Carlos Sainz and Colin McRae among others.