Solberg holds big lead after leg one
|By Matt Beer||Friday, June 17th 2011, 15:49 GMT|
Petter Solberg will take a huge 51-second lead into day two of the Acropolis Rally, as his rivals all hit trouble or backed off to try and give each other inferior road positions for Saturday.
The Solberg Citroen driver preferred to keep pushing flat-out to try and build a lead that he could defend when running first on the road tomorrow, and won four of today's six stages.
Sebastien Loeb is now second behind Solberg, albeit 51.6s adrift, having gained three places on today's concluding stage. The world champion had fallen back to fifth when his Citroen picked up a puncture earlier on the loop, but both his team-mate Sebastien Ogier and Ford's Mikko Hirvonen slowed on the final Mavrolimni stage to drop behind Loeb and try to give themselves better stage conditions tomorrow. Hirvonen and Ogier go into leg two 3.7s and 5.6s behind Loeb respectively.
Jari-Matti Latvala had been running second, within half a minute of Solberg, until a differential issue left his Ford on rear-wheel drive only through SS6.
The problem cost him three and a half minutes, dropping him to eighth, and also left Solberg frustrated, as the leader had to pass the slowing Latvala on the stage and felt his rival should have made life easier for him.
"I was driving behind him for a long, long time," said Solberg. "A long time. He could have stopped before. That was very, very bad. I lost time there."
Stobart Ford's Henning Solberg and Matthew Wilson complete the top six, although their team-mate Mads Ostberg went off the road and retired on SS4.
S2000 class leaders Ott Tanak and Juho Hanninen sandwich the delayed Latvala in seventh and ninth, with Kimi Raikkonen's Ice 1 Citroen completing the top 10.
Leading positions after SS6: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Petter Solberg Solberg Citroen 1h39m24.2s 2. Sebastien Loeb Citroen + 51.6s 3. Mikko Hirvonen Ford + 55.3s 4. Sebastien Ogier Citroen + 57.2s 5. Henning Solberg Stobart Ford + 1m43.2s 6. Matthew Wilson Stobart Ford + 2m27.7s 7. Ott Tanak MM Ford + 3m32.4s 8. Jari-Matti Latvala Ford + 3m55.0s 9. Juho Hanninen Red Bull Skoda + 4m01.6s 10. Kimi Raikkonen Ice 1 Citroen + 4m04.7s