17 June 2001
McRae does the hatrick with Acropolis win.
Freddy Loix noted: ''I think our problem has been a little bit the tyres and a little bit the car here. Certainly on some stages the Pirelli runners seem to have had an advantage over the Michelin cars. We had some problems but at least we have seen the finish and got some points for Mitsubishi.''
At Citroen the sole remaining Xsara WRC of Philippe Bugalski has been reliable today. Bugalski's only moment of concern was a puncture in SS18. Bugalski concentrated on accumulating further gravel mileage in the Xsara WRC, but the Frenchman has been pleasantly surprised by his pace, particularly in the faster sections. He had little chance of improving or losing his position through pace alone, however - François Delecour and Armin Schwarz were a minute ahead and adrift respectively - so Bugalski maintained a steady pace to the finish. Sainz's, Burns's and Loix's dramas lifted him to sixth.
Philippe Bugalski said: ''I've been learning all the time on this rally, on every stage. Points weren't that important to me and Citroen can't score manufacturers points anyway, so I didn't take any big risks. I'm pleased to score one, though! I feel more comfortable with this car on gravel now, and I know the team has gained a lot of information. Obviously I would have liked Thomas (Radström) to have finished as well but it's been a good rally for us anyway.''
At Skoda the two Octavia WRCs of Armin Schwarz and Bruno Thiry have been generally reliable today, as the Czech manufacturer brought both its cars to the finish for the second rough rally in succession.
Armin Schwarz moved his Octavia into the top ten once Gilles Panizzi hit suspension problems on today's opening stage, and the German driver consolidated his placing to the finish. Team-mate Bruno Thiry lost time following Panizzi's dust in that first test, but otherwise the Belgian maintained his pace to finish just outside the top ten.
Armin Schwarz said: ''We can see where we've been losing the time - in the twisty stuff our pace is good but on the really fast open sections we've been losing a bit. It's just down to sheer horsepower. But at least we've proved again that the Octavia is a strong car - that gives us a good base to work from on our Safari test next week.''
Bruno Thiry added: ''It was impossible to see in Panizzi's dust on that stage. We had to stop at one point and then we could see this white car in the distance, and we knew what had happened. It has not been an easy event and perhaps there haven't been as many retirements as we all expected. But like Armin, I'm pleased with the strength of the Octavia and looking forward already to the Safari.''
At Hyundai Alister McRae's Accent WRC2 enjoyed a relatively troublefree day, with only a puncture on this morning's second stage to worry the Scot, until the last stage when a broken driveshaft cost him some time.
After his turbocharger problems and driveshaft difficulties over the opening two days, Alister McRae knew he had no chance of a points finish in Greece but the Scot drove on, setting respectable times as he worked his way back through the top 20. Another broken driveshaft cost him more time on the last stage.
Alister McRae said: ''Today's times prove what we've been saying all along - the potential was there for us to get close to, or in the points here, but the problems we had on days one and two ruined any chance of that. Of course I'm disappointed not to get a points finish, because the stages here suit our car much more than the next rally we're doing, Finland (Hyundai misses the Safari).''
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