The checkered flag will not fly to mark the end of 2019’s Acropolis Rally. The famous race that promoted Greece and challenged race car drivers from all over the world will no longer be held in Greece, ending in 2018 after a run of 67 years.
The “Acropolis Rally” was a symbolic event for Greece, and it was one of the more challenging car races in the world due to the topology of the Greek terrain. Many groups proudly advertised the performance of their vehicles on the difficult Greek course. It was so difficult that it was considered the equivalent of Formula One Monaco for the World Rally Championship (WRC) series.
However, the allure of the great rally faded in 2014 amidst the economic crisis and indifference to the race on the part of the Greek state. From being one of the most important WRC races, it was demoted to a European Rally Championship (ERC) regional race. In 2018, the Acropolis Rally was ousted from the ERC as well, putting an end to Greece’s greatest motor sports event.
After the Greek state stopped promoting and sponsoring the Acropolis Rally some time ago, its popularity waned. Sponsors turned their backs, and there were financial difficulties and inconsistent payments to the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA).
In addition to bad organization which turned away drivers and sponsors, there was increasing apathy in terms of fan support. All factors combined in 2018 to cause the death of this great Greek great motor sports tradition.