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Novikov extends lead on Acropolis Rally

“It was an incredibly difficult start to the Rally Greece," Mikkelsen added. "In the first stage, the car felt totally different on the loose gravel to how it had during the practices because of our starting position at the front. The road was narrow and winding. The engine stalled on us on three hairpin bends. Dust got into the cockpit, which wasn't ideal for visibility, of course. We had trouble with visibility in the dark in the second stage too and didn't feel 100 per cent comfortable. But all in all, the first day went better for us than it did for a number of top drivers. Fifth place overall is a very good result. As a consequence, we've got a better starting position for day two than we had today.”

Further back, Martin Prokop, Khalid Al-Qassimi and Ostberg hold positions 7 through to 9, the latter hauling himself back into the points, after losing a wheel in the first stage and conceding over 3 minutes.

“It [the impact which broke the wheel] was just in the beginning [of SS1] going onto a concrete step. We knew it was there and I didn't feel as though there was much of an impact so it was very strange – nothing like I have ever experienced before. The nuts and the bolts were all still there, but everything else was gone – the rim and everything," Ostberg stated.

“We'll have to have a proper look at the onboard to see exactly what happened and how it happened, but obviously I am extremely disappointed. The disappointment was still with me for the second stage [SS2] and I couldn't get into the perfect rhythm.

“There is still a long way to go, but a lot will have to happen for us to get back up to where we want to be now. We'll have a fresh start tomorrow and fight as hard as we can to claim back some positions.”

Robert Kubica rounds out the top ten, and despite a spin in SS2, the Pole continues to head the WRC2 class - 38.2 seconds up on Yuriy Protasov.

Of the rest, Hirvonen is a lowly 17th, after he dropped almost six minutes in SS1 with a steering problem. The Finn posted the third best time in SS2, despite nearly rolling his DS3. Runaway championship leader Ogier is also on the backfoot after having to retire in SS1 with a technical issue. He is due to re-start under the Rally 2 regulation tomorrow.

The event now continues on Saturday and day two includes two loops of four stages. SS3, the 17.41 km Klenia Mycenae 1 test, is due to start at 08.23 hours local time [06.23 hours UK time].



Acropolis Rally of Greece: Overall standings after Stage 2 (Top 10):

1. Evgeny Novikov Qatar M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC 50mins 59.3secs M
2. Dani Sordo Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC +30.3s M
3. Jari-Matti Latvala Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC +39.1s M
4. Thierry Neuville Qatar WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +51.1s M
5. Andreas Mikkelsen Volkswagen Motorsport II Polo R WRC +1m 14.6s M
6. Nasser Al-Attiyah Qatar WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +1m 32.9s M
7. Martin Prokop Jipocar Czech National Team Ford Fiesta RS WRC +2m 34.3s M
8. Khalid Al-Qassimi Abu Dhabi Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC +3m 22.4s M
9. Mads Ostberg Qatar M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +3m 30.1s M
10. Robert Kubica Citroen DS3 RRC +4m 17.3s WRC2

Others

11. Yuriy Protasov Ford Fiesta RRC +4m 55.5s WRC2
17. Mikko Hirvonen Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC +6m 04.1s M


WRC2 standings after Stage 2 (Top 3):

1. Robert Kubica Citroen DS3 RRC 55mins 16.6secs WRC2
2. Yuriy Protasov Ford Fiesta RRC +38.2s WRC2
3. Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari Ford Fiesta RRC +55.3s WRC2


JWRC standings after Stage 2 (Top 3):

1. Jose Antonio Suarez Ford Fiesta R2 1hour 01mins 59.0secs JWRC
2. Marius Aasen Ford Fiesta R2 +52.0s JWRC
3. Pontus Tidemand Ford Fiesta R2 +2m 34.1s JWRC


Notable retirements:

SS1. Sebastien Ogier Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC Technical problem M*


*denotes due to re-start under the Rally 2 regulations


all times unofficial




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Evgeny Novikov (RUS) Ilka Minor (AUT)), Ford Fiesta WRC, Qatar M-Sport WRT
Evgeny Novikov (RUS) Ilka Minor (AUT)), Ford Fiesta WRC, Qatar M-Sport WRT
Evgeny Novikov (RUS) Ilka Minor (AUT)), Ford Fiesta WRC, Qatar M-Sport WRT
Evgeny Novikov (RUS) Ilka Minor (AUT)), Ford Fiesta WRC, Qatar M-Sport WRT

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