Mikko Hirvonen has taken a somewhat unwanted lead on the Acropolis Rally at the end of the opening day after Ford team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala ran into problems on the final stage.

Latvala had led from the opening test of the morning and maintained his advantage through to the second run through Thiva at the end of the day. Rather than slow in an effort to secure a better road position for leg two, Latvala elected to push to extend his advantage but went off the road at a hairpin, losing more than three minutes as spectators helped him back onto the road.

As a result, he dropped down the order from first to eleventh place and will now face a push to break back into the points on day two.

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"I guess I had too much speed," he said. "The car got stuck and even though there were a few people there, I had to get out and explain to them what to do. Of course it's disappointing but you really have to drive if you want to win - you can't just cruise around."

With Latvala behind on the road, Hirvonen had no idea of what was unfolding in the stage after he stormed through to set the quickest time. Having started third, the Finn had elected to push with the anticipation that Latvala would still be ahead of him on the road, but his time loss - allied to the fact that Dani Sordo decided to slow to secure a better road position - meant that Hirvonen suddenly found himself leading the way going into the second day.

As a result, he will now face the prospect of playing roadsweeper for the rest of the field, with two stages of more than 20km being run twice on the second day.

Sordo's decision to slow on the final stage dropped him three second behind Hirvonen on the times and he will go into the second day of the event running second on the road, while Sebastien Loeb lies third - just over 21 seconds away from the lead. The Frenchman had endured a trying day as he battled with the loose gravel on the stages, but will now hope to attack Hirvonen during day two.

Petter Solberg lies fourth, despite losing time during the morning stages with a steering issue, while brother Henning lies fifth in the sole Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Focus to make it to the end of the day after team-mate Matthew Wilson was forced to retire on stage two after losing oil pressure.

Sebastien Ogier lies sixth, but would have been ahead of Solberg had it not been for a puncture on SS4 and a ten second penalty for starting one of the morning stages late. Heading into the second day, he lies just 0.1secs behind the Norwegian.

Federico Villagra and Khalid Al-Qassimi round out the points scorers with Conrad Rautenbach giving chase in ninth, while Mads Ostberg completes the top ten. The Adapta Subaru man had run well during the morning but suffered from a puncture during the afternoon and also faced engine problems as he slid down the order.

Latvala sits eleventh, while Evgeny Novikov will be disappointed to end the day in twelfth place, having secured his first ever WRC stage win with the fastest time through SS4. However, a double puncture on the following stage saw him plummet down the times.

Lambros Athanassoulas, at the wheel of the Skoda Fabia S2000, leads the way in the Production World Rally Championship having secured a guest drive in the event, with an advantage of just over eight seconds to fellow Skoda man Patrik Sandell.

Sandell in turn sits just 4.4secs ahead of title rival Nasser Al-Attiyah, while the third man battling for the crown - Armindo Araujo - lies in fourth and is barely five seconds further back. Toshi Arai in fifth is also within half a minute of the PWRC lead.