Solberg still leads, but penalty dents advantage.

2003 World Rally champion Petter Solberg continues to lead the Acropolis Rally tonight [Saturday] and the Subaru driver has an 28.5 second lead heading into the final leg tomorrow.

The Norwegian's day though has not been without dramas and a loss of brakes in SS13 cost him around 25 seconds.

At the end of SS16, it appeared he had a 58.5 second advantage over Harri Rovanpera, however it was later announced that he had been handed a 30 second time penalty, something which means tomorrow will be a lot tighter than first thought.

Speaking prior to the stewards' decision, 'Hollywood' said: "Today I've been keeping one eye on the split times and trying to keep myself out of trouble. On the whole it's been a very good day but there's still a long way to go before we can think about a party..."

The penalty, which was a result of a minor technical infringement, the Impreza left service this afternoon with no rear mud-flaps, left Subaru team boss, David Lapworth red faced.

"On behalf of our team I would like to apologise to World Champion Petter Solberg that a common, minor technical infringement has resulted in a halving of his rally lead," he noted. "Our oversight in not re-fitting the mud-flaps provided no competitive advantage whatsoever and occurred when replacing the damaged rear bumper of his car. We hope that the penalty will have no bearing on the result of this rally."

Rovanpera meanwhile has enjoyed a relatively trouble-free day while Sebastien Loeb has powered from an overnight fifth to third, overhauling Francois Duval in the process as the trio battle for second position - only 8.8 seconds separates the 307WRC from the Xsara, while Duval is only a further 9.6 seconds adrift.

"I pushed hard all day, and I will continue tomorrow," pledged Loeb. "My Xsara is perfect, second place is within reach, and I will do everything I can to claim it."

Duval added: "I'm pushing hard but at the same time trying to preserve the car. The Focus is strong but in these conditions it's important to be careful and ease off sometimes. It's still close between the three of us and tomorrow will be an exciting day."

A comfortable fifth position is held by Daniel Carlsson, who ends the leg as the lead privateer, in his Bozian ran Peugeot 206 WRC.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Petter Solberg / Phil Mills - Subaru Impreza WRC04
Harri Rovanpera / Risto Pietilainen - Peugeot 307 WRC
Sebastian Loeb / Daniel Elena - Citroen Xsara WRC
Alexey Lukyanuk - Ford Fiesta R5
Alexey Lukyanuk - Ford Fiesta R5
Pierre Louis Loubet (FRA) - Vincent Landais (FRA) Citroen DS3 R5
Pierre Louis Loubet (FRA) - Vincent Landais (FRA) Citroen DS3 R5
Karl Kruuda (EST) - Martin Jarveoja (EST) Ford Fiesta R5, Drive Dmack Trophy Team
Scott Pedder (AUS) Dale Moscatt (AUS), Skoda Fabia R5
Scott Pedder (AUS) Dale Moscatt (AUS), Skoda Fabia R5
Scott Pedder (AUS) Dale Moscatt (AUS), Skoda Fabia R5
Essapeka Lappi (FIN) Janne Ferm (FIN), Skoda Fabia R5 WRC2, Skoda Motorsport
Quentin Gilbert  (FRA) - Renaud Jamoul (BEL) Citroen DS3 R5
Lorenzo Bertelli (ITA)-Simone Scattolin (ITA) Ford Fiesta RS WRC, FWRT
Lorenzo Bertelli (ITA)-Simone Scattolin (ITA) Ford Fiesta RS WRC, FWRT
Teemu Suninen (FIN) - Mikko Markkula (FIN) Skoda Fabia R5, Team Oreca
Nicolás Fuchs (PER) - Fernando Mussano (ARG) Skoda Fabia R5

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