After navigating through the fifteen special stages of this year’s Acropolis Rally, Kalle Rovanpera emerged as the triumphant winner. The 22-year-old Finnish driver already won the Rally in 2021.
This year’s Acropolis Rally lived up to its reputation as an exceedingly tough and demanding competition. The persistent heavy rains added another layer of complexity, with mixed conditions on several special stages and the tire choice becoming a challenging puzzle.
WRC winners @acropolisrally 2023, Congratulations!
🇫🇮 @KalleRovanpera / 🇫🇮 @JonneHalttunen 🥇 👏@TGR_WRC I @pirelli_motorsport #WRC I #ToyotaGazooRacing I #AcropolisRally I #Greece 🇬🇷 pic.twitter.com/rKkeAIzNXM
— World Rally Championship (@OfficialWRC) September 10, 2023
Despite the disadvantage of starting first on the road and encountering tough conditions, Rovanpera minimized his time loss, with his only near-mishap occurring on stage three due to extreme weather conditions. Saturday’s drier stages saw Rovanpera trailing Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville, who was in a fierce battle with Toyota’s Sebastien Ogier.
— WRC Fanatix (@wrcfanatix) September 10, 2023
Rovanpera surged back into contention with four consecutive stage wins, ultimately seizing the lead when both Neuville and Ogier faced setbacks. Neuville’s suspension damage and Ogier’s punctures and suspension issues allowed Rovanpera to secure a substantial two-minute lead.
Avoiding punctures and mechanical problems, Rovanpera clinched victory and boosted his championship lead over Evans by winning the Power Stage. Evans, who battled mechanical issues on Saturday, displayed an impressive comeback to finish second. A suspected overheating problem on his GR Yaris temporarily dropped him to fifth, but a roadside repair and retirements by Neuville and Ogier propelled him to second place, narrowly edging out Hyundai’s Daniel Sordo.
📸 © EKO Acropolis Rally 🇬🇷🏛️🏁 pic.twitter.com/AJs73mmO22
— Antwnis Selekos (@ASelekos) September 9, 2023
Sordo, who avoided troubles throughout the rally, secured third place, although he couldn’t fend off Evans, ultimately finishing 4.2 seconds behind him.
In the informal ranking of Greek crews, Jourdan Serderidis emerged as the leader, steering clear of mistakes throughout the race.
This year, the iconic Rally took place from September 7th to 10th.
Challenging Weather Conditions
The EKO Acropolis Rally 2023 encountered unexpected weather challenges due to Storm Daniel. Adverse conditions prompted organizers to make adjustments, shortening the “Grammeni” Special Route and canceling the shakedown.
Despite this, the race proceeded with a ceremonial start beneath the Holy Rock of the Acropolis in Athens. Organizers monitored conditions closely and ensured spectator convenience with mass transportation recommendations. Drivers were urged to cooperate with traffic controllers to prevent congestion and ensure a safe rally experience.
As a result of Storm Daniel, fourteen individuals lost their lives. In response to the disaster, a total of 4,250 rescue and evacuation operations have taken place since September 5th, relocating individuals to safer areas. Since September 7th, 767 rescue missions have been conducted using various aircraft. Larissa remains on high alert as the Pinios River has overflowed, leading to evacuations and challenging road conditions, which have required boat operations for rescues.