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Greece - day 1: Loeb on top, Ford on the rocks.

Multiple world champion Sebastien Loeb heads a Citroen 1-2 on the Acropolis Rally of Greece at the end of day one, the seventh round in the 2008 FIA World Rally Championship.

Loeb was left trailing Jari-Matti Latvala on the opening loop this morning, and the Frenchman was 5.8 seconds slower than the Finn in SS1, the 11.57 kilometre-run through Schimatari.

Seb bounced back in SS2 however, topping the times and cutting the gap to just 1.5 seconds. Although he was unable to match the BP Ford Abu Dhabi man in SS3, he headed into the first service second overall, just 4.2 seconds off the lead.

On the repeat loop in the afternoon, Loeb finally took the lead, thanks to a combination of three successive fastest times and the misfortune that struck Latvala in the penultimate test.

The Citroen #1 eventually finished the day with a 15.7 second cushion and considering he was second on the road and had to play the 'road sweeper' early on, he was more than pleased.

"The phenomenon we saw in Sardinia didn't materialise here," he reflected. "This time, there was an acceptable amount of grip second time through once all the other competitors had been through; sufficient, in any case, to close the gap, move into the lead and then pull clear.

"But we couldn't afford to hang about! Daniel [Elena] and I pushed extremely hard and we only lifted over the trickiest portions. This rally is far from over however, and we could be in for a drama-packed weekend."

Dani Sordo meanwhile ended the day second, moving up a spot in the final stage, when Jari suffered suspension problems after hitting a rock.

Dani set top three times in all the 'proper' stages and was encouraged by his pace, even if he did suffer from overheating problems this afternoon.



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