23 Aug 2011


With only a few days remaining before the start of the 2014 Acropolis Rally, Skoda Motorsport Team has already arrived in Greece for two days of pre-event testing. The Czech team is providing its Skoda Fabia S2000 drivers (Esapekka Lappi, Sepp Wiegand) with testing in both asphalt (yesterday) and gravel (today) surface.

Skoda Motorsport factory driver, Finn Esapekka Lappi who won the previous round of ERC in Latvia, is visiting Greece for the first time and targets a podium finish. “My first impressions from Greece are very good, as the weather is magnificent and you have many beautiful places! Apart from this, we haven’t done the recce of the rally so far and thus, I have no opinion about the special stages. I have only seen some video footage from last year’s edition, while I know that the asphalt stages are very fast with very high average speed. Of course the fact that the event is being held on mixed surfaces is a challenge for everyone and something completely new for me. Maybe Sepp (Wiegand) who has previously participated in Rally Catalunya will find it easier than me. It will be very interesting! I just think that by the end of Day 1 we will have to delete everything from our mind, in order to start the gravel day, because the driving style must be completely changed. We always have to remember that the Acropolis Rally is an event that you can’t always drive flat out, as you have to protect your car in some places. Finally, my target is to get as many points as possible and thus, a podium finish would be great.

The German Sepp Wiegand has more or less the same expectations, although he thinks that finding his rhythm on asphalt will be crucial, because he hasn’t competed in this kind of surface recently. “The truth is that the last time I drove on asphalt surface was in Rally Catalunya, five months ago. At first, I want to regain the feeling of the car on asphalt, while I think that I am faster on gravel, which is my preferred surface. The fact that the event is being held on mixed surface is, no doubt, a challenge for us, because tarmac and gravel require totally different approach. For sure, the Acropolis is a classic event and I am happy to be here. My target is a podium finish, but you never know. This is my first time here and I haven’t driven since Rally Latvia, so I initially have to find a good rhythm and later see what happens.