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Solberg stamps out early Peugeot threat in Greece.


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 Rovanperä after a trouble-free day in Greece.

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

"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 Grönholm 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.



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