The Rally of Greece - round eight of the World Rally Championship - got underway on Thursday night in the Olympic Stadium of Athens, in front of 70,000 enthusiastic spectators. The Race of Champions, organised by Michele Mouton in the Stade de ...
The Rally of Greece - round eight of the World Rally Championship - got underway on Thursday night in the Olympic Stadium of Athens, in front of 70,000 enthusiastic spectators. The Race of Champions, organised by Michele Mouton in the Stade de France, gave the Greek organisers the idea to stage their own stadium superspecial which enjoyed great success.
Today, the drivers found themselves back onto familiar gravel territory, for two loops of stages making up a total of 125 competitive kilometres. The stages consisted of rough gravel, with several rocky sections. Marcus Gronholm showed himself to be completely at ease in the tough conditions, leading the rally before conceding a lead of just six seconds to Sebastien Loeb on the final stage. Marcus is nearly eight seconds ahead of Carlos Sainz, who is currently third.
Marcus Gronholm: "It's been quite a good day for me, with only a small problem with the paddleshift on the steering wheel, which stopped working on SS3 and SS4. I had to use the back-up lever, which was much slower. I was also held back by my tyres, which went off from the middle of the two long 32-kilometre stages. But at the end of the day I am happy as I have set three fastest times and I am only six seconds behind Sebastien Loeb. I think tomorrow's stages will suit us better: these stages are the most difficult of the rally. The surfaces are very damaging, and our tyres should work well in these conditions. I'm going to attack!"
Markko Martin: "I don't really understand today. The car seemed difficult to drive; maybe my choice of tyres was not the best for the afternoon's loop of stages. Tomorrow I will go back to the tyre choice we had this morning, which seemed to work better for us."
Jean-Pierre Nicolas: "It's been a good opening leg for the Peugeot team: Marcus led for a large part of the day, and was only passed by Loeb on the final stage. After a day like this, we have proved that our car is truly at the sharp end of the field. On this type of terrain the tyres seem to work better and the 307 is very reliable. This allows our drivers to go very quickly on even the roughest sections."