Tänak second in WRC Acropolis Rally Greece
Ott Tänak came second in the WRC EKO Acropolis Rally Greece 2021 after winning a third stage on Sunday. The result is his second best of the WRC season so far, after a win at the Arctic Rally back in February, and his third podium finish of the season. He remains in fifth place in the WRC drivers' table, with three more races to go.
Finn Kalle Rovanperä dominated the race meeting for Toyota and was 42.1 seconds ahead of Rovanperä by the finish, and 1.11.3 ahead of table leader Sebastien Ogier (France, Toyota).
Tänak won the penultimate stage of the rally and the second of three taking place Sunday morning, the Pyrgos stage, also, at 33.20 km, the longest stage in the event.
Tänak went into Sunday in second place overall, a position he had maintained from the end of Friday's stages.
Tänak won the final stage of Saturday, the 18.14-kilometer Eleftherochori 2 stage, and had also won one stage on Friday, the 17.54-kilometer Aghii stage.
He was in fifth place at the start of Friday after Thursday's opening stage, and had placed third in Thursday morning's preliminary test.
For only 20-year-old Rovanperä, this was the second World Cup stage victory of his career after the summer triumph at Rally Estonia. He has now reached the pedestal three times in a row and in two of these cases to its highest level.
Acropolis rally Itinerary, with distances, start time (Estonian time) and completed stages and their winners in italics:
Test 4,25 km 8.01 ROVANPERÄ (TOYOTA)
SS1 Cosmote 5G Athens Stage 0,98 km 18.08 OGIER (TOYOTA)
Friday, September 10:
SS2 Aghii Theodori 1 17.54 km 10.18 TÄNAK (HYUNDAI)
SS3 Loutraki 19.40 km 11.11 ROVANPERÄ
SS4 Aghii Theodori 2 17.54 km 13.24 ROVANPERÄ
SS5 Thiva 23.27 km 15.47 OGIER
SS6 Elatia 11.65 km 17.40 NEUVILLE (HYUNDAI)
Saturday, September 11:
SS7 Pavliani 1 24.25 km 8.32 ROVANPERÄ
SS8 Gravia 24.81 km 9.57 ROVANPERÄ
SS9 Bauxites 22.97 km 11.52 ROVANPERÄ
SS10 Eleftherochori 1 18.14 km 13.08 ROVANPERÄ
SS11 Pavliani 2 24.25 km 16.26 OGIER
SS12 Eleftherochori 2 18.14 km 18.08 TÄNAK
Sunday, September 12:
SS13 Tarzan 1 23.37 km 8.08 Rovanperä
SS14 Pyrgos 33.20 km 9.51 Tänak
SS15 Tarzan 2 (PK) 12.68 km 13.18 Rovanperä
Round nine of the 2021 championship, the Acropolis Rally made a return to the WRC calendar after an eight-year absence. The event also marked 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, though the initial test in Athens was in surprisingly wet and miserable conditions.
From Friday the cavalcade relocated to the central Greek city of Lamia, where conditions were fine.
Sebastien Ogier remains top of the table with 180 points, followed by Welshman Elfyn Evans (Toyota) with 136 points and Tänak's teammate Thierry Neuville on 130 points.
Neuville was out of contention in Greece after a steering issue Friday cost him over 10 minutes.
Sunday's race-winner Kalle Rovanperä is in fourth place with 129, just a point behind Neuville, and Tänak, the 2019 world champion, is fifth on 106 points.
Three more races remain on the calendar: Rally Finland, October 1-3, Rally Catalunya, October 14-17 and Rally Japan, November 11-14.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte