Greece WRC: Ogier leads Evans in Athens Super Special

Sebastien Ogier kicked off the World Rally Championship’s return to the Acropolis Rally by winning the opening Super Special stage in front of a bumper crowd in Athens city centre.

The championship leader put on a spectacular yet slick performance to chalk up a stage win by 0.6s from Toyota teammate and title rival Elfyn Evans.

The rally's return after eight years away from the WRC began with a fan-friendly blast around an 0.98km asphalt super special stage in the centre of Greece's capital in the shadow of the famous Parthenon.

It is the event's only tarmac stage before the rally returns to traditional rough gravel roots, with crews completing the test on the gravel tyres they will use in Friday's first three stages.

After heavy rain and fog plagued the lead up to the event, skies cleared for the opening stage.

Ogier was the last of the top runners to complete the stage and the Frenchman made no mistakes on the tricky course that included a couple of roundabouts.

"I am really happy to come back on these roads," said Ogier. "We have a job to open the road first tomorrow, but we will do our best with the situation because it's a rally I like."

Read Also:

Toyota dominated the stage to occupy the top three spots with Evans second and Kalle Rovanpera third fastest, the Rally Estonia winner 0.2s adrift of his Welsh teammate.

Winner last time out in Belgium, Thierry Neuville was fourth fastest - a tenth of a second ahead of Hyundai teammates Dani Sordo and Ott Tanak, who clocked identical times on the stage. It was the first WRC stage for Sordo and new co-driver Candido Carrera.

WRC2 title rivals Mads Ostberg and Andreas Mikkelsen also logged identical times for tied seventh overall.

M-Sport's WRC duo of Gus Greensmith and Adrien Fourmaux were unable to match their WRC rivals ending the stage 17th and 21st overall. Hyundai's 2C Competition entry for Pierre-Louis Loubet was 20th on the timesheets.

The rally proper begins on Friday morning with five special stages, beginning with the first pass through the Aghii Theodoroi test at 0718 GMT.

Crews will have to navigate the stages without a midday service, only a tyre change zone after stage 3 will break up the day.

shares
comments

Related video

The WRC drivers that came of age at the Acropolis Rally
Previous article

The WRC drivers that came of age at the Acropolis Rally

Next article

Greece WRC: Rovanpera leads, Evans and Neuville suffer dramas

Greece WRC: Rovanpera leads, Evans and Neuville suffer dramas
Load comments
How WRC legend Ogier will be remembered by his peers Prime

How WRC legend Ogier will be remembered by his peers

After winning his eighth WRC title, Sebastien Ogier has drawn the curtain on his full-time rallying career. To understand Ogier's legacy, many of his former rivals, team-mates and colleagues have shared their thoughts on a vastly successful career

WRC
Nov 26, 2021
Ranking lost WRC legend Richard Burns' 10 best rallies Prime

Ranking lost WRC legend Richard Burns' 10 best rallies

Richard Burns was a determined driver who took on the best rally drivers in the world during a boom period in the early 2000s, and beat them. On the 20th anniversary of his crowning glory in winning the 2001 WRC title, and 16 years on from his death on the same date, we pick out his 10 greatest drives

WRC
Nov 25, 2021
The internal focus that made Burns a legendary world rally champion Prime

The internal focus that made Burns a legendary world rally champion

At the turn of the millennium, WRC was full to the brim with rallying's great and good - and 20 years ago on this day, Richard Burns became England's first world rally champion. Although Burns' natural talent drove him to the top, his steely determination and mental strength was the key attribute behind his title-winning form

WRC
Nov 25, 2021
How Ogier emerged from Loeb's shadow to form his own WRC legend Prime

How Ogier emerged from Loeb's shadow to form his own WRC legend

OPINION: Adding an eighth WRC title to his name, Sebastien Ogier has bowed out from full-time rallying in style. Having been compared throughout his career with nine-time champion Sebastien Loeb, Ogier has convincingly demonstrated that he can stand on his own as one of the greatest rally drivers in history

WRC
Nov 22, 2021
How confronting self-doubt drove Ogier to become a WRC legend Prime

How confronting self-doubt drove Ogier to become a WRC legend

This weekend's Rally Monza marks the end of an era in the World Rally Championship, as Sebastien Ogier prepares to bring down the curtain on his full-time career with an eighth title. For all his enduring success, the Toyota driver reveals in an exclusive interview that lingering insecurities have compelled his quest for perfection

WRC
Nov 18, 2021
The third generation McRae on his way to the WRC Prime

The third generation McRae on his way to the WRC

The McRae family name is steeped in rallying history, with eight British titles between Jimmy, Colin and Alister - plus the small matter of the 1995 WRC title too. Next on the conveyor of talent is Alister's 17-year-old Max McRae, who’s setting out in Australia to conquer the world of rallying and return the famous name to the WRC...

WRC
Nov 12, 2021
Inside Hyundai’s radical approach to prepare for the WRC hybrid era Prime

Inside Hyundai’s radical approach to prepare for the WRC hybrid era

As the World Rally Championship undergoes its biggest shift in regulations for a generation, teams are taking radical measures to prepare for its new era. Hyundai's unique approach involved conducting a private 1500km rally in Italy and Motorsport.com went to see how the team is preparing for 2022

WRC
Nov 4, 2021
How Neuville stole the show from Ogier vs Evans slugfest in Spain Prime

How Neuville stole the show from Ogier vs Evans slugfest in Spain

While all pre-event chat focused on the two World Rally Championship title fighters, their closest challenger charged into the spotlight on Rally Spain. Thierry Neuville's star turn and another strong drive from Elfyn Evans in his fight with Sebastien Ogier made for an intriguing event as the 2021 campaign nears its crunch point

WRC
Oct 18, 2021