24 May 2012
Solberg quickest in Acropolis Q
Petter Solberg heads Ford 1-2 in Greek qualifier
Ford's Petter Solberg posted the best time today in the qualifying stage for this weekend's Acropolis Rally.
Petter completed the 6.20 kilometre Aghii Theodori test in 4 minutes 11.976 seconds, edging out team-mate, Jari-Matti Latvala by just 0.098 seconds. He will now get first choice of start position for the opening leg.
“I lost a bit [of time] at the start, but apart from this everything was okay, we had fun,” said 'Hollywood'. “I used hard tyres in the morning, but now with the soft compound it was better. The best place to be is on the road.”
Latvala, who is returning from injury after breaking his collarbone, added: “My arm is fine. I felt no pain at all. My confidence is growing. It was a good performance for us. But we need to do it in the rally.”
Citroen's Sebastien Loeb meanwhile was third, seven tenths off the pace, followed by M-Sport Ford man, Evgeny Novikov and his team-mate, Mikko Hirvonen, who nearly spun mid-day through the test.
“It was much better than this morning,” Loeb remarked. “It was a good special stage for us. We pushed 100 per cent. We used the soft tyres.”
Behind, Thierry Neuville took sixth for the Citroen Junior World Rally Team, with Mads Ostberg, Ott Tanak, Martin Prokop and Nasser Al-Attiyah rounding out the top ten. Al-Attiyah finished the test with a puncture, while Tanak broke a steering arm after hitting a tree. Prokop also had a moment after hitting a rock and going off the road.
Drivers will now select their start positions in a few hours time. The Acropolis Rally then continues this evening, with SS1, the 25.24 km Kineta test kicking off proceedings at 18.28 hours local time (16.28 hours UK time).
Acropolis Rally: Qualifying stage:
1. Petter Solberg Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC 4mins 11.976s M
2. Jari-Matti Latvala Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC +0.098secs M
3. Sebastien Loeb Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC +0.726secs M
4. Evgeny Novikov M-Sport Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC +1.042s M
5. Mikko Hirvonen Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC +2.081s M
6. Thierry Neuville Citroen Junior WRT DS3 WRC +4.296s M
7. Mads Ostberg Adapta WRT Fiesta RS WRC +5.340s
8. Ott Tanak M-Sport Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC +6.791s M
9. Martin Prokop Ford Fiesta RS WRC +6.903s
10. Nasser Al-Attiyah Qatar WRT Citroen DS3 WRC +7.188sM
11. Daniel Oliveira Brazil WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +14.894s M
12. Armindo Araujo WRC MINI Team Portugal John Cooper Works WRC +16.031s
13. Paulo Nobre WRC MINI Team Portugal John Cooper Works WRC +38.161s
all times unofficial
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