Subaru's Petter Solberg leads the Acropolis Rally after winning five of today [Friday]'s stages.

The Norwegian has pulled out a 55.7 second advantage over Harri Rovanper? after a trouble-free day in Greece.

'Hollywood' was delighted with his performance, but conscious that there is still a long way to go...

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"It's not bad. Not bad at all. It's just what I was hoping for and I'm feeling very positive now," said the Norwegian. "I was concentrating so hard on not making any mistakes today, and so far it's worked out very well.

"At the same time Marcus has made a couple of small mistakes and that has helped me too. Of course I'm happy to be leading. But don't forget that I've been in a similar situation more than once this year - and I know that it can all change again very quickly, so I'm not planning too far ahead just yet."

Peugeot's Marcus Gr?nholm took the early lead but spins in stages five and six hampered his charge and the Finn even dropped from third to fourth this afternoon with the wrong tyre choice.

"It's not been a perfect day," he noted. "For some reason I was struggling with the car a little bit during the afternoon and then we made a bad tyre choice for the final stages. In general, the stages were more slippery than I expected but I am still feeling confident. We'll be back fighting tomorrow!"

Ford's Francois Duval meanwhile powered ahead of the Finn and moves into third in the lead Focus.

"I wasn't happy with my driving this morning which was quite untidy but I had better concentration and confidence this afternoon when the car seemed easier to drive," he said. "On two occasions we were lucky to escape from big incidents but I think all the drivers could probably say the same today.

"I'm just going to continue driving at the same rhythm and the same speed because I really want to finish this rally. It's not necessary for me to be on the podium. Fourth or fifth place would be good so I'm not going to take any risks."

Tyre woes hindered Sebastien Loeb this afternoon; the Frenchman lays fifth in his Citroen Xsara WRC with Daniel Carlsson sixth, the lead privateer, in a Bozian Peugeot 206.

Of the rest, Gilles Panizzi is seventh for Mitsubishi, with Manfred Stohl, Mikko Hirvonen and Janne Tuohino completing the top ten.

Hirvonen, who drives the second works Impreza WRC, lost 90 seconds when a stone broke his car's brake pipe and he drove SS4 with just the handbrake. Despite this he was pleased with his day.

"I'm quite happy with the way that the day has gone and without the braking problem, it could have been very, very good," he reckoned. "But, I'm feeling very positive about the way I'm driving and the car feels good. I'm going to make some small changes to the dampers tonight to see if we can get some more traction, but overall things have felt much better. I think perhaps I was thinking too much about my driving before, whereas now I'm just driving in a way I feel is right and I'm much happier. The plan now is to keep driving this way and catch the guys in front."

In the Junior WRC category, Kosti Katajamaki leads, 12.1secs in front of Suzuki team-mate, Guy Wilks, while Mirco Baldacci is third, to complete Suzuki's domination.

A number of crews have hit problems throughout the day and many will undoubtedly be pleased that 'SupeRally' regulations give them the potential to re-join tomorrow. Ford's Markko M?rtin was forced onto the sidelines after going off the road in SS2 and despite efforts to re-join ultimately went over the time permitted.

"I entered a fairly slow left bend, maybe third gear, at about 40mph and slid wide," he explained. "There was an area at the exit of the corner where the land had slipped away and I just ran out of road, and ended up down the bank. The car was no more than one metre off the road, but the back was at the bottom of the bank with the nose pointing up in the air. Spectators tried to help us but the car was stuck. It was a little mistake from the driver. I took the wrong line and just ran out of road. I'm obviously disappointed."

Armin Schwarz was another to hit problems, he damaged the left rear suspension on his Skoda Fabia in SS3 but both, he and Martin will be back out on the stages tomorrow after re-fettling machinery.

Toni Gardemeister also sustained rear suspension damage this afternoon in the sister Fabia and was ultimately forced out with an engine fire in the super special stage.

Carlos Sainz lost more than 30 minutes with damper problems that started in SS4 and stayed with him until arriving in service another two stages later. He has plummeted way down the leaderboard as a consequence, and lies 48th, although significantly still on course to notch up points for Citroen in the manufacturers'.

"My job now is to drive for the team," he stated. "I will do everything I can to be as useful as possible."

In total 72 competitors started the event Thursday night, 51 completing today's nine special stages.

The second leg tomorrow starts at 0700hrs, when cars leave Lamia parc ferme to contest seven more stages (two of which are repeated) and a further 133.18 competitive kilometres. The first stage, the 14.59km test from Amfissa, starts at 0846hrs, and the final stage, a final blast round the Super Special at Lilea, at 1711hrs.

Following the introduction of the SupeRally - a new re-start system that is being trialled at this event for the first time - all cars that retired in leg one are allowed to re-start on tomorrow's leg. However, such drivers will not be eligible to score points in either the WRC drivers' or manufacturers' championship.