BP Ford Abu Dhabi WRT number one driver Mikko Hirvonen has said that he was surprised to see so many of his rivals fall by the wayside on day two of the Acropolis Rally.

Hirvonen, who managed to steer clear of trouble during Saturday's action, ended the leg with over a 1.5 minute advantage, after Sebastien Loeb, then Dani Sordo and Petter Solberg all went out.

Speaking in the final service, Mikko added that it had been a 'strange' sort of day: "It was an incredible, but perfect, day for me," he continued. "I made no mistakes and drove fast enough to lead and cautiously enough not to damage the car.

"My lead is good but I must remember that this is Greece, conditions are rough, and to take it steady tomorrow.

"I looked after my tyres and didn't hit any rocks. I'm surprised so many people made mistakes but it shows things go wrong under pressure, especially on technical stages like these.

"I never drove at maximum speed, it was a controlled drive and that paid off. Tomorrow's roads are easier than today but there will still be a lot of rocks to avoid. It's good to have such a strong lead because that gives me the time to drive around the rocks, and if I lose a few seconds here and there it doesn't matter."

Jari-Matti Latvala meanwhile also kept his cool in the #2 car and he managed to climb up the leader-board from eleventh to third - a major boost after his error in the final stage on Friday which cost him P1.

"This rally requires respect and once you start to push then you encounter problems. I knew something would happen today, but I'm surprised how much happened," he stated. "The Acropolis showed its true nature, but I survived it.

"The roads were narrow, with rocks and small walls on the edge, so it was easy to hit a stone by cutting the bends. I kept a steady speed and can't believe I have climbed to third. I was thinking about seventh this morning, and I couldn't have imagined this.

"I want to control my pace again tomorrow. Third is my target, I have no ambition to chase second and risk making a mistake or damaging the car. I'm not going to try to take too big a piece of the cake."


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