The week of the 64th Acropolis Rally, round 3 of the European Rally Championship, began with the first tests for several top ERC crews in the classic stages of Pavliani and Kaloskopi.
Their aim, under a partially cloudy sky, was of course to familiarize themselves with the Greek gravel and to find the proper set-up of cars for the upcoming special stages –and even the possibility of rain. On Tuesday 29/5 the crews will start the official reconnaissance of the Acropolis Rally’s special stages.
No1: LUKYANUK Alexey – ARNAUTOV Alexey
“We know the race is hard. Our main goal is to see how the race will evolve, try not to have a puncture or other problems. These are the keys to success. Almost half of the special stages are new for us, while others have the opposite direction, so we need to write new notes. The conditions for all drivers will be virtually the same and this is positive.”
No. 2: MAGALHAES Bruno - MAGALHAES Hugo
"The Acropolis Rally is a very special race, very different from the rest, so it is very important to do a good test today and find the ideal set-up. Special stages are fast but at the same time we must be very careful because we have to avoid the big stones on the road. Our goal is to get to the podium and collect points for the championship. I am curious to see the special stages as many have a different direction, while others have new sections."
No. 3: HERCZIG Norbert - FERENCZ Ramon
"We are the new guys at the European Rally Championship and at the Acropolis Rally. For us everything is new. We do not know the special stages and the main goal is to finish the race. I've seen some onboard videos and I've found that some stages are too hard. In Hungary, we have a hard rally from which I have experience and I hope to find a good pace for the race."
No5: HABAJ Lukasz - DYMURSKI Daniel
"It will be a challenge for the car as the special stages are quite hard and we will have to respond. I am optimistic about the race as we have already made three races this year. This year we are aiming for the top five at the European Rally Championship and hopefully we will be in the same position at the Acropolis. Besides then they follow races that I know well."
No7: TSOULOFTAS Alexandros - CHRYSOSTOMOU Antonis
"Today we are on the mountain to do our test for the Acropolis Rally, although we are at a section where it does not have many similarities to the other stages. It will probably rain today, so this is positive as we expect rain in the race. We will make a few miles to find the set-up to be ready for the race. This year our expectations are much higher than last year as we have driven the car for a year but everything can happen. It will be a big fight, the important thing is to protect the car and the good position will come. I will try to drive quickly but carefully. "
Νο8: VON THURN UND TAXIS Albert - CHRISTIAN Frank
"I'm a bit sad because today we had a roll and we did a little damage to the roll cage, so we stopped earlier. We have improved on the asphalt but here we have very difficult conditions. It will be very interesting, I am looking forward. I believe we will finish in the top ten and if we manage to finish in the top five it will be a real dream. Some stages are new, while others have opposite direction, so I do not have much knowledge about them. I'm also racing with a new co-driver, so there are plenty of things I have to get used to."
No.9: PTASZEK Hubert - SZCZEPANIAK Maciej
"It's the first time for me in the rally, so I have no experience at all. I cannot know what to expect as I do not know the special stages yet. Everybody says the stages are pretty tough, so the basic thing in our minds is to try to drive quickly but at the same time keep the car in one piece. This is the goal. During the race we will concentrate on our work, I hope we have good notes and we can be close to the competition."
No. 11: MONTEIRO Aloisio - COUCEIRO Andre
"For us it's the first time so everything is new. It's a new experience with hard stages. We need to learn everything and write good notes. We are very excited. Our main goal is to finish the rally. And if we think there is not a lot of R5 cars we want to be in the top ten and get some points for the championship.”
Νο15: SERDERIDIS Jourdan - MICLOTTE Frederic
"We did a good training two weeks ago with the Rally of Fthiotida, so we have gained confidence in our car and our skills. Here, however, the competition is different, we have quite good cars and pilots specializing in the gravel and the Acropolis Rally, but we have good expectations for the race and we hope our current test will confirm them. We plan to start in a good rhythm at the super special stage in Markopoulo and Thiva, which is the biggest special and then see where we are. I hope to be in the top ten after the first day and then move up. We know very well Sunday's specials but I'm sure the rest will be on the same level. Some have tricky points, some are faster, and we have to see how much they will change after the first pass."
No 19: ERDI Tibor Junior - GYORGY Papp
"We started our preparation for the race today. Our goal is to win the race in the ERC2 category. This year we have more entries that are stronger and we need to win them. The special stages are new and I am happy about this because always in the new stages we are faster than the competition. I hope we stay away from technical problems."
Νο34: VASSILAKIS George - KARANIKOLAS Epaminondas
"First drive with our new car (Ford Fiesta R5) as we are going to be driving it into a special stage. The truth is that we want to learn the car. Special stages are nice but although I have not seen them in 100% are a bit tougher than expected. They had enough stones, they may not be ready yet. We will take care of it anyway."