1 June 2008
Greece - day 3: Acropolis win puts Loeb back top.
Citroen number one driver Sebastien Loeb came through to take the laurels on the Acropolis Rally of Greece this weekend, easily one of the toughest editions for a good few years.
Loeb had to wait until the repeat loop on Friday to grab P1, as early on he was left trailing BP Ford Abu Dhabi's Jari-Matti Latvala. Going into the second loop on day one, Seb was 4.2 seconds behind Jari, but he immediately took over at the top, when the Finn was slowed by a puncture - one of many that would afflict the field over the three-days.
Then thanks to three quickest times in succession and a third best effort in the short super special Seb built up a solid advantage, ending day one 15.7 seconds up on his team-mate, Dani Sordo.
Day two however turned out to be extremely difficult and a number of drivers' had costly problems, including Loeb, who lost the lead in SS9, when he conceded 30 odd seconds thanks to a left rear puncture.
In the afternoon, however, the pendulum swung the other way and with Sordo having tyre problems of his own, Loeb was bumped back up into the lead, regaining top spot in SS12 and then concluding the leg 28.7 seconds up on his closest rival.
After almost doubling his advantage on the first stage on Sunday, Seb could afford to ease off through the remaining tests and he eventually won by just over a minute, pacing himself through the final six tests.
The result puts him back in the lead in the drivers' championship - albeit by just a single solitary point.
"I am happy to be in this position. The rally was very difficult and rough," reflected Loeb, who had only ever won in Greece once before.
"Now we will see have to see what happens in the championship. This year the Acropolis was tougher than last year. We had to save the tyres and today we had to go slow in some places."
Petter Solberg meanwhile took the runners-up spot, a remarkable result for Subaru considering this was the first competitive outing with the all-new Impreza WRC2008, which was officially 'launched' the day before the ceremonial start.
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