Juho Hanninen (Finland) will start among the favourites for FIA Production Car World Rally Championship (PWRC) victory on next week's third round of the series, the Acropolis Rally of Greece. The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution driver has the perfect record in this year's series so far, having won the category in Argentina, his first and only PWRC outing of 2008.

Hanninen is going to face an incredible challenge in his efforts to add another 10 points to his tally, with a strong field of Lancer Evolution drivers ranged against him and co-driver Mikko Markkula. More than half of the PWRC entries in Greece come from drivers of Mitsubishis, with an exceptional 24 of the total entry of 62 cars being Lancer Evolutions.

All of these drivers will aim to maintain the Mitsubishi's unblemished 2008 record of pace and reliability through this season; on the six rounds of the World Rally Championship run this year, the Lancer Evolution remains undefeated in the Group N category. It's those two key attributes which have led to the current Production leaderboard being packed out with Mitsubishis: eight of the top cars in the standings are Lancer Evolutions.

MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION IX

Andreas Aigner (Austria) won the second round of the PWRC in Argentina, but his failure to score on the PWRC's season-opener in Sweden cost him the chance of leading the standings outright. Aigner is well versed in the precise requirements of this event, having taken second place here last season.

Martin Prokop (Czech Republic) is fast coming to terms with the requirements of the driving in the PWRC as well as the Junior World Rally Championship. He arrives in Greece on the back of missing out on a potential JWRC win in Italy after a fuel-related problem. Prokop said: "I have finished the first two Production rounds this season and that's got to be the aim in Greece. The Acropolis is a very tough rally and as I found out in Sardinia, nothing is certain until you have made it past the finish of the final stage."

Fumio Nutahara (Japan) - another of the Production favourites in his Lancer Evolution echoes those sentiments. Despite having enjoyed a long and successful career in the PWRC, Nutahara has yet to tackle the Acropolis Rally. His ability, however, to manage his Mitsubishi over some of the rockiest roads in the world has been well documented by his win on the 2006 Cyprus Rally. Nutahara will be looking for a maiden win when he arrives in Athens.

One of the highlights of the World Rally Championship year returns to next week's Acropolis Rally with the ceremonial start (Thursday May 29 at 19h30) taking place next to the Parthenon, one of the oldest buildings in Greece, which dates back to the fifth Century. In years gone by, pictures of rally cars alongside the Parthenon have made this classic Greek relic instantly recognizable to rally fans across the globe. It also brings a symbolism of what the Acropolis Rally is all about: one of the roughest and most demanding events on the calendar.

And this year is no exception. The event's base has shifted 20km north, leaving the Olympic facilities which it has used for the last two seasons behind, and heading for the airport at Tatoi north of Athens. The morning after the Acropolis-based ceremonial start, to 11km Schimatari test will act as the perfect loosener for one of the classic Acropolis stages: Thiva. 110.08km of Day one includes six long stages and a new purpose-built superspecial at Tatoi of 4.6km. Saturday's route includes another of the most entertaining and challenging Greek roads: Aghii Theodori, on a schedule which makes up the longest day of the event 119.12km. Those resolute and battle-hardened crews who make it through Friday and Saturday will then be faced with an unusually gruelling Sunday, with a further seven stages and 110.74km. The good news for the drivers and thousands of rally fans alike is that the 20th and last test of the event is a second run around the Tatoi superspecial. The total distance of the rally will be 1,311.32km including 339.94.km special stage run.

ENTRIES
No

Driver Co-Driver

Nat Vehicle Grp
Cls
1
M
Sebastien Loeb
Daniel Elena
F
MC
CITROEN C4 WRC A
8
2
M
Daniel Sordo
Marc Marti
E
E
CITROEN C4 WRC A
8
3
M
Mikko Hirvonen
Jarmo Lehtinen
FIN
FIN
FORD FOCUS RS WRC 07 A
8
4
M
Jari-Matti Latvala
Miikka Anttila
FIN
FIN
FORD FOCUS RS WRC 07 A
8
5
M
Petter Solberg
Philip Mills
N
GB
SUBARU IMPREZA WRC 2006 A
8
6
M
Chris Atkinson
Stephane Prevot
AUS
B
SUBARU IMPREZA WRC 2006 A
8
7
M
Gigi Galli
Giovanni Bernacchini
I
I
FORD FOCUS RS WRC 07 A
8
8
M
Henning Solberg
Cato Menkerud
N
N
FORD FOCUS RS WRC 07 A
8
9
M
Federico Villagra
Jorge Perez Companc
RA
RA
FORD FOCUS RS WRC 07 A
8
10
M
Aris Vovos
Fred El-Em
GR
GR
FORD FOCUS RS WRC 07 A
8
11
M
Toni Gardenmeister
Tomi Tuominen
FIN
FIN
SUZUKI SX4 A
8
12
M
Per-Gunnar Andersson
Jonas Andersson
S
S
SUZUKI SX4 A
8
14 Khalid Al Qassimi
Michael Orr
UAE
GB
FORD FOCUS RS WRC 07 A
8
15 Urmo Aava
Kuldar Sikk
EE
EE
CITROEN C4 WRC A
8
16 Matthew Wilson
Scott Martin
GB
GB
FORD FOCUS RS WRC 07 A
8
17 Mads Ostberg
Ole Unnerud
S
N
SUBARU IMPREZA WRC A
8
18 Conrad Rautenbach
David Senior
ZW
GB
CITROEN C4 WRC A
8
31
P
Toshi Arai
Glenn Macneall
J
AUS
SUBARU IMPREZA N
4
32
P
Mirco Baldacci
Giovanni Agnese
RSM
I
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION IX N
4
33
P
Martin Prokop
Jan Tomanek
CZ
CZ
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION IX N
4
34
P
Gianluca Linari
Roberto Mometti
I
I
SUBARU IMPREZA N
4
35
P
Evgeny Novikov
Dimitry Chumak
RUS
RUS
SUBARU IMPREZA N
4
36
P
Eyvind Brynhildsen
Denis Giraudet
N
F
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION IX N
4
37
P
Spyros Pavlides
Denis Giraudet
CYP
F
SUBARU IMPREZA N
4
38
P
Amjad Farrah
Nicola Arena
HKJ
I
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION IX N
4
39
P
Nasser Al Attiyah
Chris Patterson
QAT
GB
SUBARU IMPREZA N
4
40
P
Baldacci Loris
Rudy Pollet
RSM
I
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION IX N
4
41
P
Andreas Aigner
Klaus Wicha
A
D
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION IX N
4
42
P
Bernardo Sousa
Carlos Magalhaes
P
P
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION IX N
4
43
P
Eygeniy Vertunov
Georgy Troshkin
RUS
RUS
SUBARU IMPREZA N
4
44
P
Gabor Mayer
Robert Tagai
H
H
SUBARU IMPREZA N
4
45
P
Andrej Jereb
Miran Kacin
SLO
SLO
SUBARU IMPREZA N
4
46
P
Jari Ketomaa
Miika Teiskonen
FIN
FIN
SUBARU IMPREZA N
4
48
P
Evgeny Aksakov
Alexander Kornilov
RUS
RUS
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION IX N
4
49
P
Simone Campedelli
Danilo Fappani
I
I
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION IX N
4
50
P
Armindo Araujo
Miguel Ramalho
P
P
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION IX N
4
51
P
Subhan Aksa
Hendrik Mboi
RI
RI
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION VIII N
4
52
P
Juho Hanninen
Mikko Markkula
FIN
FIN
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION IX N
4
53
P
Uwe Nittel
Detlef Ruf
D
D
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION IX N
4
54
P
Travis Pastrana
Derek Ringer
USA
GB
SUBARU IMPREZA N
4
55
P
Patrik Sandell
Emil Axelsson
S
S
PEUGEOT 207 N
4
56
P
Fumio Nutahara
Daniel Barritt
J
GB
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION IX N
4
57
P
Martin Rauam
Silver Kutt
EE
EE
MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION IX N
4
58
P
Naren Kumar
Nicky Beech
IND
GB
SUBARU IMPREZA N
4
59
P
Pan Hatzitsopanis
Andreas Andrikopoulos
GR
GR
SUBARU IMPREZA N
4
60
P
Labros Athanassoulas
Nikolaos Zakheos
GR
GR
SUBARU IMPREZA N
4
P = FIA PWRC / M = FIA WRC MANUFACTURERS
RA=ARGENTINA / AUS=AUSTRALIA / A=AUSTRIA / CYP=CYPRUS / CZ=CZECH REPUBLIC
EE=ESTONIA / FIN=FINLAND / F=FRANCE / D=GERMANY / GB=GREAT BRITAIN
GR=GREECE / H=HUNGARY / IND=INDIA / RI=INDONESIA / I=ITALY / J=JAPAN
HKJ=JORDAN / N=NORWAY / P=PORTUGAL / QAT=QATAR / RUS=RUSSIA / RSM=SAN MARINO
SLO=SLOVAKIA / E=SPAIN / S=SWEDEN / UAE=UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
USA=UNITED STATES OF AMERICA / ZW=ZIMBABWE
  • Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution remains undefeated in the Group N category
  • 24 of the total entry of 62 cars will be Mitsubishi Lancer Evolutions
  • Juho Hanninen is favoured for another 2008 victory