It's never a bad day on a round of the World Rally Championship when you have to stop and fill your car with fuel for the second time. It means you've broken free from the press office. It means you're living Jean Todt's distance dream. It means the adventure is back. Just for a day.
Day one of the Acropolis Rally was one of the finest in the careers of Petter Solberg and Chris Patterson. They took the Greek roads and shook them hard, wringing every second from them in their Citroen DS3 WRC to build a lead of close to a minute. At that moment, it truly looked like Solberg's long wait for a 14th victory could be coming to an end.
Solberg and Patterson had an incredible first day in Greece © LAT
Knowing that something special was going to happen that day meant the trip through the centre of Greece up to Kamena Vourla was worth it. But we made it even more worthwhile by tagging on a stop to talk to the drivers after the first stage before picking our way through Rengini (albeit the wrong way) before arriving at remote service beside the Aegean.
Solberg and Patterson were given plenty of time to plan their attack as the road section went from sea level to near mountain top and back down again a couple of times. The route from Loutraki hauled its way up Mount Gerania (the mountain which presents a dominant backdrop to the town) and down to the shores of the Korinthiakos Gulf before threading its way between more mountains (Pateras and Kitheronas) and out onto the baked flat plains around Livadia. The journey was unbelievable. How could anybody have taken the motorway instead of this? The scenery was outstanding and the road certainly kept you busy.