Storm Daniel has wreaked havoc in Greece this week severely affecting preparations for this weekend’s 70th anniversary Acropolis Rally.
Torrential rain disrupted the recce schedule, while the extreme conditions made making accurate pacenotes impossible. The weather has drastically improved since the drivers completed their original recce, which has left the roads in vastly different shape from earlier this week.
Following a request from drivers, rally organisers, in conjunction with the FIA, have conducted a special recce of the stages, using the WRC teams’ recce vehicles, to provide up to date videos and information regarding the road conditions.
These videos have been issued to the teams the day before each leg of the rally begins to allow drivers and co-drivers to analyse the roads and anticipate the conditions they will face.
Toyota’s Sebastian Ogier, who ended Friday, 2.8s adrift of rally leader Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville, has praised the FIA’s decision.
Thierry Neuville, Martijn Wydaeghe, Hyundai World Rally Team Hyundai i20 N Rally1
Photo by: Dufour Fabien / Hyundai Motorsport
“It was [challenging out there] but in the end the fact we got the video from the FIA helped a lot to anticipate a bit where the puddles were,” said Ogier.
“It was good for safety and we have to say thanks for taking the right decision on that.
“It will be important to watch those [videos of Saturday’s stages]tonight and we will probably not get so much sleep, but it is important to do the job.”
Neuville believes Saturday stages will be an “unknown” and while he is glad to have the FIA recce videos, he is predicting the road conditions to change quickly.
“It is bit unknown. We don’t know how much the [stages] have dried out,” Neuville said, when asked what he is expecting from Saturday’s stages.
“We are going to get some videos from the organisers but when they ran through the stages this morning, the changes might be massive from this morning to the afternoon. Those [videos]for today were helping though.
“It was difficult [out there today] even if it was maybe a bit less difficult than we could have expected because it dried out quite quickly.
“We had a good run through and we made the tyre choice to be the leader tonight. Is it the tyre choice to be the leader at the end of the weekend? We are going to find out.”