Petter Solberg's Acropolis Rally victory bid ends with crash
|By David Evans and Matt Beer||Sunday, May 27th 2012, 06:57 GMT|
Petter Solberg has crashed out of the Acropolis Rally while chasing Sebastien Loeb for the lead on the final morning in Greece.
Ford driver Solberg had reduced Loeb's lead from 20 seconds to 10s during Saturday afternoon's loop, and was keen to push for the win on the deciding leg.
"We have five stages and we need to take two seconds in each stage," Solberg told AUTOSPORT before Sunday morning's action began. "It is possible, we can do it. Of course, it won't be easy, but we have to try. I will go at 109 per cent, not 110 per cent - we need to keep a little bit in reserve!"
But Solberg's charge did not last long as he went off the road and took a rear wheel off his Ford on the opening Aghil Theodori stage.
Solberg's retirement leaves Loeb leading by just under two minutes over his Citroen team-mate Mikko Hirvonen.
Loeb said he had been absolutely flat-out trying to resist Solberg and that it had been tough to stay focused after seeing his rival was out.
"I just tried to push very hard in this one. We were quite equal," said Loeb. "He needed some extra speed to take the 10s that I had.
"I saw he was stopped in the stage and for me it was quite difficult to keep the rhythm after that. I was flat-out at the first splits and now it's completely different.
"At the moment we've done a perfect race, pushing very hard and avoiding mistakes."