Solberg dominates early stages
|By Matt Beer||Friday, June 17th 2011, 09:04 GMT|
Petter Solberg leads the Acropolis Rally by a commanding 20-second margin after just two stages.
The Norwegian made the most of his road position to take an immediate lead on SS1 - and then blitzed the competition by 19.8s on the 39-kilometre Elatia stage that followed.
The Fords are next up, with Jari-Matti Latvala in second, 6.2s ahead of Mikko Hirvonen.
Championship leader Sebastien Loeb had the worst of the stage conditions on SS1 and was only eighth fastest.
"My time in the stage is what you see in the time," he told AUTOSPORT after the stage. "We hoped the rain would've stayed last night but unfortunately it only rained at the ceremonial start.
"Here it was completely dry, there was a lot of gravel and it's kind of what we expected from the recce."
But he fared better on Elatia, and moved up to fourth place overall despite an electrical glitch. His Citroen team-mate Sebastien Ogier completes the current top five.
Stobart Ford's Matthew Wilson was an impressive fourth on SS1 but has now slipped to seventh behind his team-mate Mads Ostberg, as he struggled with a gearshift glitch and had a half-spin. Fellow Stobart driver Evgeny Novikov was third after SS1 but then stopped on the second stage with broken suspension.
Kimi Raikkonen (Ice 1 Citroen) is currently running ninth in his return to the World Rally Championship after his recent NASCAR explorations.
Leading positions after SS2: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Petter Solberg Solberg Citroen 44m22.5s 2. Jari-Matti Latvala Ford + 20.3s 3. Mikko Hirvonen Ford + 26.5s 4. Sebastien Loeb Citroen + 32.1s 5. Sebastien Ogier Citroen + 34.2s 6. Mads Ostberg Stobart Ford + 42.1s 7. Matthew Wilson Stobart Ford + 53.7s 8. Henning Solberg Stobart Ford + 55.6s 9. Kimi Raikkonen Ice 1 Citroen + 1m30.8s 10. Federico Villagra Munchi's Ford + 2m08.3s