Ott Tänak and co-driver Martin Järveoja were fifth in stage one of the WRC EKO Acropolis Rally Greece 2021 on Thursday evening, joint with their teammate Dani Sordo. Estonian WRC2 driver Georg Linnamäe was ninth.
Stage one was held in the center of Athens, almost in the shadows of the Parthenon.
After coming third in an unusually wet and muddy test stage early morning, the pair were preceded by veteran French driver and seven-time WRC champion Sebastien Ogier (Toyota), and two more Toyota men – Welshmen and 2020 runner-up Elfyn Evans (+0.6s) and winner of the morning test, Finn Kalle Rovanperaä (+0.8), then Tänak's teammate at Hyundai, Thierry Neuville (+0.9s). Another Hyundai man, Dani Sordo (Spain) finished joint fifth with Tänak, one second off Ogier's pace.
Second-tier WRC2 driver Georg Linnamäe (ALM Motorsport) came ninth in the VW Polo GTI.
Tänak had finished third in relatively wet and cold conditions for Greece in September, the Thursday morning. The evening stage one was dry.
The teams relocate to the ancient city of Lamia, about 200km from the capital, for the rest of the event, Friday to Sunday.
Round nine of the 2021 championship, the Acropolis Rally is making a return to the WRC calendar after an eight-year absence. The event is also marking its 70th anniversary this year.
The normally dry and dusty conditions lead teams to use similar set-ups to those in, for instance summer's Rally Kenya.
Acropolis rally Itinerary, with distances, start time (Estonian time) and completed stages and their winners in italics:
Test 4,25 km 8.01 ROVANPERÄ
SS1 Cosmote 5G Athens Stage 0,98 km 18.08 OGIER
Friday, September 10:
SS2 Aghii Theodori 1 17.54 km 10.18
SS3 Loutraki 19.40 km 11.11
SS4 Aghii Theodori 2 17.54 km 13.24
SS5 Thiva 23.27 km 15.47
SS6 Elatia 11.65 km 17.40
Saturday, September 11:
SS7 Pavliani 1 24.25 km 8.32
SS8 Gravia 24.81 km 9.57
SS9 Bauxites 22.97 km 11.52
SS10 Eleftherochori 1 18.14 km 13.08
SS11 Pavliani 2 24.25 km 16.26
SS12 Eleftherochori 2 18.14 km 18.08
Sunday, September 12:
SS13 Tarzan 1 23.37 km 8.08
SS14 Pyrgos 33.20 km 9.51
SS15 Tarzan 2 (PK) 12.68 km 13.18
Editor: Andrew Whyte