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GP Week : Issue 120
There is one other unusual aspect to the rally, the Athanassoulas effect! Lambros Athanassoulas and his elder brother Pavlos are enthusiasts local to Loutraki, where they have various businesses, including the local Jet Oil fuel station, and they have become integrated into the whole Acropolis scene. While Pavlos works with Aris Vovos, 34 year old Lambros is an ambitious, if little known driver outside Greece, who has been embraced by fans as a folk hero of Greek rallying. His career began in 2001 when he won a rally driver talent competition run by the Four Wheels magazine. He later contested the WRC Fiesta Sporting Trophy in 2006 and two years ago he rented a Skoda Fabia S2000 for the Acropolis, when he was nominated as the event’s Guest driver, winning the PCWRC category. Later that year he contested the Catalunya Rally where he won the R2 class in a Fiesta, but he has not been often seen in action since. For the 2011 Acropolis he launched a website in order to collect sponsorship payments from fans and admirers, and this time has entered a Fiesta WRC. He remains the protege of Stratis Hatzipanayiotou, who used to compete very successfully under the pseudonym ‘Stratissino’, and who is the nominated candidate for the presidency of the new Greek motorspor t federation and Director of the Four Wheels magazine. Note: the number 500 includes the years (1994-1996) when the event rotation system meant that 14 events counted not for the full series but instead for the FIA’s 2-litre series, events which were promoted and marketed as world championship rallies. The 10 such events run in 1995 and 1996 counted for the official FIA World 2- litre Cup. The number also includes the Sanremo event in 1986 after which the FIA discounted the allocation of points.