WRC Acropolis Rally Shakedown Report

Loutraki, Greece

Loeb tops Acropolis shakedown

Sebastien Loeb has set the pace in shakedown for the Acropolis Rally, which gets underway with the first of 18 special stages tomorrow (Friday).

Driving a Citroen DS3 WRC, the seven-time world champion recorded a fastest time of 2m15.5s over the 6.05-kilometre practice stage east of the permanent service park in Loutraki.

Overnight rain created a muddy surface but the conditions soon improved as the ambient temperature rose and the road dried out.

Afterwards Loeb, who currently tops the World Rally Championship by 13 points, said: “Like every rally I hope to be able to fight for the victory. But for sure it’s more important to score some points. I’m in a good position in the championship and it’s important not to loose too much. For the rest we will see.

“It’s a rough rally, difficult for the tyres and suspension, and maybe the hardest rally of the season for the cars. We have to take care a bit in some places but when you are fighting for the second you can’t loose too much.”

Sébastien Loeb
Sébastien Loeb

Photo by: Citroën Communication

“What we saw in recce is that it will be a disadvantage to be first on the road. But now it has been raining since the recce I don’t know for tomorrow.”

Petter Solberg was second fastest behind Loeb in his privately-entered DS3 WRC. The Norwegian set his best time on his fifth and final run, seven-tenths of a second slower than Loeb, after changing his car’s suspension dampers following his second run.

Mikko Hirvonen was the leading Ford Fiesta RS WRC driver in third with Loeb’s Citroen team-mate Sebastien Ogier fourth.

Henning Solberg, absent on the previous round in Argentina, made the most of the running time to experiment with the set-up of his Fiesta, completing a total of eight runs alongside co-driver Ilka Minor. He ended up fifth fastest, one place ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, who returns to the WRC for the first time since the Jordan Rally in mid-April.

Local hero Lambros Athanassoulas used the shakedown to drive his Team Greece-entered Ford Fiesta RS WRC in anger for the first time. He said: “We made adjustments to the rear suspension. I was feeling confident in the car but we were losing a lot of time because I am still learning the car.”

MINI John Cooper Works WRC driver Armindo Araujo hit trouble in shakedown when he was forced to stop in the stage with broken front suspension.

-source: wrc

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About this article
Series WRC
Drivers Kimi Raikkonen , Petter Solberg , Sébastien Loeb , Mikko Hirvonen , Henning Solberg , Ilka Minor , John Cooper , Armindo Araujo , Sébastien Ogier , Lambros Athanassoulas
Teams Citroën World Rally Team
Tags greece, hirvonen, loeb, solberg, wrc