6 June 2004
Solberg wins Acropolis Rally.
2003 World Rally champion, Petter Solberg has won the Acropolis Rally today [Sunday], taking victory by a comfortable 18.4 seconds.
The Norwegian was untroubled all day, despite a 30 second penalty last night for not having mudguards fitted to his car earlier in the day that halved his advantage, over then second placed driver, Harri Rovanpera.
'Hollywood' has now score points on every event this year, something that no other driver has achieved.
"It's fantastic, very, very good indeed! It's been a hard rally, and a tough fight, right from the start, but to get this result after the disappointment we had in Cyprus feels very good," said Solberg.
"You know it's hard work to keep adjusting the pace to keep position, but the team kept the split times coming in and everything worked perfectly today - there were no problems at all. The penalty didn't really affect me much, last night when I heard the decision I have to say I was a bit fed up, but when I woke up this morning I just laughed, it just seemed like a joke.
"I must say that the car is incredible, and the tyres, the mechanics, everyone in the team is working so well I can't thank them enough and it seems that for now anything is possible."
The battle for second went on all day, and Rovanpera looked set to take 'silver' until SS20, when Sebastien Loeb went in front, the Frenchman then maintained his position until the finish, when they were seperated by 9.9 seconds.
"We were fighting with Harri all the second day and since the beginning," said Loeb. "We knew we could be as fast as him but sometimes it was him, sometimes us, it was really a big battle, we had to push very hard from the start this morning, to the end this evening. Everything we could we gave it. I'm very happy to finish second."
Loeb's second place keeps him firmly in the lead of the drivers' championship, five points in front of Solberg. Citroen also now lead the manufacturers' standings.
Rovanpera was happy with third though, and Peugeot team boss, Corrado Provera reckoned it was his best rally ever.
"I'm pleased with this result, although I've not been entirely confident with the car throughout the three days of the event," commented Harri. "I didn't have a good feeling with the suspension over the bumps yesterday, and this morning was a little bit the same. The most important thing though is that the car is both reliable and fast, and we clearly have the pace to run at the front. I think we're in very good shape for the next rally in Turkey now, which I was leading last year, and I'm hoping for an even better result than the one here in Greece."
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