Petter Solberg will start day two of the Acropolis Rally in a commanding lead after reaching Friday's overnight halt in Loutraki with an advantage of 51.6s in his Citroen DS3 WRC.

The Norwegian privateer, who won the day’s first four stages - including a sensational time on stage two when he was 20s faster than his nearest rival - began Friday’s final test 29.2s in front of Jari-Matti Latvala with Sebastien Ogier third and Mikko Hirvonen fourth.

But when Latvala was slowed by a front differential failure and Ogier and Hirvonen both elected to drop time in the stage in order to gain a more advantageous road position for day two by slipping behind Sebastien Loeb, Solberg found himself clear in first place.

“I lost time on the last stage behind Latvala but I’m happy to be leading,” said Solberg. “The gap is good.”

Loeb spent much of day one cleaning the road of the loose surface gravel for the drivers behind. He also lost time with a front-right puncture 10 kilometres from the end of stage five which put him in fifth place starting stage six, which he completed in second overall in his factory Citroen following the dramatic sequence of events.

“We are second overall but second on the road and very far from Petter in front so it’s a problem,” he said.

Hirvonen is third overnight in the lead Ford Fiesta RS WRC, 3.7s behind Loeb. The Finn lost precious seconds with a puncture on stage three but otherwise enjoyed a trouble-free day.

Ogier is 1.9s behind Hirvonen heading into day two in his works DS3 WRC and seemingly well placed to gain from his lower starting position. After struggling to find an optimum set-up in the morning, Ogier reported having a “better” afternoon.

Latvala had impressed throughout the day, despite admitting he wasn’t entirely happy with his performance behind the wheel of his Fiesta. His delay on stage six means he languishes in eighth overall and almost four minutes off the lead after day one.

“It was 500 metres before the stage when I noticed the differential was slipping,” he said. “I checked the rear diff but I realised it was the front. I had no time to do anything and we came only with rear-wheel drive through the stage.”

Henning Solberg marked his return to the WRC after skipping Rally Argentina by completing day one in fifth position in his M-Sport Stoart Fiesta with team-mate Matthew Wilson six in his similar car. Wilson was fourth fastest on stage one despite a gearshift problem but reporting losing time on the slippery stages in the afternoon.

Mads Ostberg’s bid for a top-six finish ended when he crashed seven kilometres in to stage seven at the wheel of his M-Sport Stobart Fiesta. The Norwegian reported his car’s powersteering failing after a jump, which meant he was unable to avoid striking a rock and going off the road. Damage was restricted to the car’s front-left corner and Ostberg and co-driver Jonas Andersson are expected to restart under SupeRally rules on day two.

Kimi Raikkonen is 10th overnight in his Ice 1 Racing Citroen with fellow Acropolis newcomer Dennis Kuipers 12th for the FERM Power Tools World Rally Team. Raikkonen had a fraught final stage when he went off the road and bent his car’s steering but otherwise drove without error after missing the last two rounds.

Armindo Araujo stopped to change a broken wheel rim on stage six after initially fearing he’d damaged his MINI John Cooper Works WRC’s suspension. Daniel Oliveira went no further than stage five in his Brazil World Rally Team MINI due to the onset of a suspected electrical fault.

Federico Villagra was saddled by a brake problem throughout the day in his Munchi’s Fiesta and retired before the final stage.

Peter van Merksteijn Jr also failed to reach the finish of the opening day when he crashed his Van Merksteijn Motorsport Citroen DS3 WRC on stage three. Although the Dutch driver was unhurt, his Belgian navigator Eddy Chevaillier was taken to hospital in Lamia for precautionary checks after complaining of back pains. Van Merksteijn Jr’s father Peter Sr suffered a small off on stage five and retired.

There was frustration earlier in the day for local hero Lambros Athanassoulas and Russian Evgeny Novikov who retired their Fiesta RS WRCs with broken suspension on stage two.


Leading positions after SS6:  Pos  Driver              Team/Car           Time/Gap  1.  Petter Solberg      Solberg Citroen  1h39m24.2s  2.  Sebastien Loeb      Citroen             + 51.6s  3.  Mikko Hirvonen      Ford                + 55.3s  4.  Sebastien Ogier     Citroen             + 57.2s  5.  Henning Solberg     Stobart Ford      + 1m43.2s  6.  Matthew Wilson      Stobart Ford      + 2m27.7s  7.  Ott Tanak           MM Ford           + 3m32.4s  8.  Jari-Matti Latvala  Ford              + 3m55.0s  9.  Juho Hanninen       Red Bull Skoda    + 4m01.6s 10.  Kimi Raikkonen      Ice 1 Citroen     + 4m04.7s

Get full, exclusive access for only $6.55/month.
  • Full access
  • Exclusive news
  • Store & Tour discounts

Show Your Support


Recent Posts