Ford's Jari-Matti Latvala has dropped back on the Acropolis Rally of Greece after picking up a puncture in the first test this afternoon.

Latvala had closed right up on Sebastien Loeb this morning, cutting the Frenchman's overnight lead from 6.5 seconds to just 2.2 going into the mid-day halt. However on the repeat-run through the 17.41 kilometre Klenia Mycenae 2 test, the Ford man was slowed by a puncture, which he had to stop and change near the finish.

In total the Finn lost over 3 minutes in SS14, dropping him from second overall to a distant fourth and in reality ending any chance of victory.

"It was my mistake," Latvala told the official WRC site. "I was slightly wide at the beginning of the stage and hit a bank.

"There was a little touch but there was something sharp [in the bank] and it broke the tyre. It's very disappointing.

"Normally with a slow puncture I should be able to drive for quite a long time but unfortunately I broke the wheel and we had to stop to change it."

Latvala's misfortune leaves his Ford team-mate, Petter Solberg as Loeb's principal threat now, albeit 21.9 seconds adrift in P2. Mikko Hirvonen holds third, 53.5 seconds further back, followed by Latvala - now more than 2 minutes off the final place on the podium - and then Martin Prokop, who is just 0.8 seconds up on Mads Ostberg.