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Greece - leg 1: Gronholm top.

Marcus Gronholm leads following the opening day of the Acropolis Rally, the eighth round in the 2007 FIA World Rally Championship and the final event before the two-month summer break.

Gronholm took the lead on the first test this morning, the 11.57 kilometre-run through Schimatari 1, demoting BP Ford team-mate, Mikko Hirvonen, who won the super special on Thursday evening, to second.

Marcus slipped back in the next few tests though as he lost time running first on the road and sweeping away all the loose gravel. He therefore dropped to fourth going into the mid-day service.

In the afternoon, the Finn managed to re-assert his dominance however and thanks to a quickest time in SS6, a second best time in SS7 and a fourth best in SS8, he will take an 8.3 second cushion into the second day on Saturday.

Petter Solberg meanwhile heads the chasing pack for Subaru, not that there is much separating the drivers' from second to sixth – with less than 3 seconds in it.

Petter had no issues all day, apart from not knowing his split times in SS7. Other than that he had a trouble-free run in his Impreza WRC2007 and both he and team-mate, Chris Atkinson showed good speed.

Atkinson led after winning SS3 and while he also had a spin in SS4, which cost him a few seconds, he still did enough to take his second stage victory in succession. The Aussie was unable to repeat the same sort of pace in the afternoon though and he relinquished the lead in SS7, when he also dropped behind his team-mate in the sister Impreza. Going into SS8 the gap between Atkinson and Petter was 2.8 seconds, after it the margin was just 0.7 seconds.

Triple world champion, Sebastien Loeb is next up in fourth place, the Frenchman suffered from his road position on the first loop, much like Gronholm. He managed to move two places up the leaderboard this afternoon though and he finished the day just less than 1.4 seconds off second.

Further down the order, Hirvonen and Citroen number two driver, Daniel Sordo round out the top six, split by just 0.4 seconds.



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Marcus Gronholm (FIN) / Timo Rautiainen (FIN), BP Ford Focus RS WRC 06. Acropolis Rally of Greece, 31st May - 3rd June 2007.
Petter Solberg (NOR) / Phil Mills (GBR), Subaru WRT Impreza WRC 2007. Rally d`Italia Sardegna, 17-20th May 2007.
Chris Atkinson (AUS) / Stephane Prevot (BEL), Subaru WRT Impreza WRC 2007. Acropolis Rally of Greece, 31st May - 3rd June 2007.
Kajetan Kajetanowicz - LOTOS Rally Team Ford Fiesta R5
Kajetan Kajetanowicz - LOTOS Rally Team Ford Fiesta R5
Yazeed Al-Rahji - Ford Fiesta RRC
Podium WRC2; Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT) Giovanni Bernacchini (ITA) Ford Fiesta RRC
Podium WRC2; Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT) Giovanni Bernacchini (ITA) Ford Fiesta RRC
Ott Tanak (EST) Raigo Molder (EST) Ford Fiesta RS
Ott Tanak (EST) Ford Fiesta RS
Ott Tanak (EST) Raigo Molder (EST) Ford Fiesta RS
Yuril Protasov (UKR) Pavlo Cherepin (UKR) Ford Fiesta RRC
Robert Kubica (POL) Maciej Szczepaniak (POL) Ford Fiesta RS WRC
Robert Kubica (POL) Maciej Szczepaniak (POL) Ford Fiesta RS WRC
Robert Kubica (POL) Maciej Szczepaniak (POL) Ford Fiesta RS WRC
Robert Kubica (POL) Maciej Szczepaniak (POL) Ford Fiesta RS WRC
Robert Kubica (POL) Maciej Szczepaniak (POL) Ford Fiesta RS WRC
Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN) Ford Fiesta RS WRC

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