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Greece - leg 2: Gronholm builds 40 sec cushion.

BP Ford team leader, Marcus Gronholm has finished the second day of the Acropolis Rally of the Greece with a very solid lead, more than 40 seconds up on his nearest rival.

Going into the leg, the Finn led by just 8.3 seconds, but he soon set the standard this morning and was 10.7 seconds quicker than the next best runner in SS10, the first test of the day - the monster 48.88 kilometre Agii Theodori stage.

The Finn then backed that up with three more second quickest times in SS11, SS12 and SS13, despite a small spin in Agia Triada and as such he returned to the mid-day service area having more or less doubled his cushion to 15.8 seconds.

In the afternoon, Gronholm once again made use of the longest stage and was 19.9 seconds up on Petter Solberg. He was then second quickest in SS15 and SS16, the final 'proper' tests of days and following the super special finished up with a 43.3 second cushion.

Sebastien Loeb meanwhile is his nearest challenger having moved up from fourth place overnight. The Frenchman was engaged in a close fight with Petter Solberg for the runners-up spot for most of the day and he only got ahead this afternoon, thanks in part to three quickest stage times in his C4 and the fact the Norwegian was slowed by a mechanical problem.

Seb himself was slowed slightly by a puncture in SS10 and SS14, but other than that had no problems. The Citroen man reckons though that there is little chance of winning now.

Petter, who went into the mid-day service 4.7 seconds up on Loeb, lost ground in SS15 and SS16 due to a front left damper problem which compromised his pace. He was only fifth and ninth fastest in those two stages, having been setting top three times prior to his issue. He ended the day 24.3 seconds adrift of second place.

Outside of the top three, Mikko Hirvonen is a lonely fourth in the second BP Ford Focus WRC car. Mikko lost a lot of ground to the top three this morning in the first test when he went off the road at high-speed and had quite a big off.

Although he was lucky to be able to continue, his pace for the rest of the morning was affected, as he had to compete with a broken windscreen. In the end he finished up more than one minute off Petter in third and 30 seconds up on Henning Solberg, who holds fifth.



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.
Sebastien Loeb (FRA) / Daniel Elena (MC), Citroen Total WRT C4 WRC. Acropolis Rally of Greece, 31st May - 3rd June 2007.
Petter Solberg (NOR) / Phil Mills (GBR), Subaru WRT Impreza WRC 2007. Acropolis Rally of Greece, 31st May - 3rd June 2007.
Pontus Tidemand (SWE) Emile Axelsson (SWE), Ford Fiesta R5
Pontus Tidemand (SWE) Emile Axelsson (SWE), Ford Fiesta R5, WRC2 winners
Bernardo Sousa, Hugo Magalhaes, (Ford Fiesta RRC, #43)
Bernardo Sousa, Hugo Magalhaes, (Ford Fiesta RRC, #43)
Yurii Protasov , Pavlo Cheperin (Ford Fiesta WRC)
Yurii Protasov , Pavlo Cheperin (Ford Fiesta WRC)
Yurii Protasov , Pavlo Cheperin (Ford Fiesta WRC)
Yurii Protasov , Pavlo Cheperin (Ford Fiesta WRC)
Yurii Protasov , Pavlo Cheperin (Ford Fiesta WRC)
Martin Prokop, Michal Ernst (Ford Fiesta RS WRC, #21 Jipocar Czech National Team)
Martin Prokop, Michal Ernst (Ford Fiesta RS WRC, #21 Jipocar Czech National Team)
Martin Prokop, Michal Ernst (Ford Fiesta RS WRC, #21 Jipocar Czech National Team)
Martin Prokop, Michal Ernst (Ford Fiesta RS WRC, #21 Jipocar Czech National Team)
Martin Prokop, Michal Ernst (Ford Fiesta RS WRC, #21 Jipocar Czech National Team)
Martin Prokop, Michal Ernst (Ford Fiesta RS WRC, #21 Jipocar Czech National Team)

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