Ogier, Hirvonen and Ostberg talk about their chances
Let’s see what the three drivers, selected to be on WRB’s virtual podium in Greece, have to say about the classic round of the World Rally Championship. Well, not classic in terms of what Acropolis Rally used to be, but plenty of old character still remains. At least they’ll still have gorgeously huge rocks and harsh, warm weather!
First up, Sebastien Ogier, and then Mikko Hirvonen and Mads Ostberg, in no particular order, except the first guy.
Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Motorsport
“I like the Rally Greece because I have really fond memories of it – not just thanks to my win in 2011. My second place in 2009 in particular will always have a special place in my heart, because you could call it my breakthrough in the WRC category; things have got better and better for me since then. The Rally Greece is one of the most difficult and toughest events of the year. Of course, I’d ideally like to win every rally, but we need to think about the world championship too. Given our comfortable lead in both competitions, we don’t absolutely have to win. It’ll be enough if we keep racking up points regularly.”
Mikko Hirvonen, Citroën Racing
“The road surface can change quite dramatically from one stage to the next. Sometimes, the roads are very smooth and flowing, and sometimes they are totally rock-strewn and full of potholes. The reliability of the cars and the strength of the tyres mean that we are pretty much flat out all the time, but endurance is still a real factor here.
Having set some very good times in Argentina, the Finn hopes to put together the final pieces of the jigsaw to claim a win: “We are working all the time with the team to improve the car. Actually, we completed a short, specific test session when we arrived in Greece. I hope that luck will be on our side and that we manage to secure another win for Citroën.”
Mads Østberg said, Qatar M-Sport WRT
“Our main aim is to finish an event without having to [restart under] Rally 2 [regulations]! This is definitely one of the most difficult events of the year, but we will certainly try to achieve that goal next week.
“The Acropolis Rally is a really rough event. There is always a risk that rocks can be pulled onto the line and there will be a few really tricky sections to contend with. The key is to take care of the car. Tyre wear is always a factor too, so that is something else we’ll need to consider throughout the weekend. Then there are the night stages. The organisers will do their best, but if there is no wind, dust could be a big problem.
“To get the car back in one piece is a big challenge, but we will push from the beginning and hopefully have some good speed. We’ve had some bad luck in recent events, so now we need to turn that around. The podium is where we want to be, and that’s what we’ll be fighting for.”