Acropolis Rally: Novikov grabs shock lead as frontrunners hit trouble

Evgeny Novikov emerged as a shock Acropolis Rally leader as Sebastien Ogier, Mikko Hirvonen and Mads Ostberg all hit trouble on the opening stage

Acropolis Rally: Novikov grabs shock lead as frontrunners hit trouble

The 47-kilometre Kineta-Pissia stage claimed high-profile victims from the outset, including World Rally Championship points leader Ogier.

The Frenchman stopped with what Volkswagen would only describe as a 'mechanical problem'.

Hirvonen's Citroen made it to the finish despite a steering issue that cost him nearly six minutes, while Mads Ostberg reported that his M-Sport Ford's "wheel fell off" as he dropped three minutes.

Those that did make it through unscathed found themselves a long way off M-Sport driver Novikov's pace.

Second-placed Dani Sordo's Citroen is 20.6 seconds down on the Russian, but 15.7s ahead of Jari-Matti Latvala, who is now VW's main hope.

The Finn's team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen is fifth, behind Thierry Neuville.

Robert Kubica leads WRC2 despite some scares in dust on the stage, and holds ninth overall.

Leg one of the shortened rally comprises just two stages, with the field now heading to service before tackling SS2 in darkness.

Leading positions after SS1: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Evgeny Novikov M-Sport Ford 32m58.6s 2. Dani Sordo Citroen + 20.6s 3. Jari-Matti Latvala VW + 36.3s 4. Thierry Neuville M-Sport Ford + 38.3s 5. Andreas Mikkelsen VW + 54.4s 6. Nasser Al-Attiyah M-Sport Ford + 57.5s 7. Martin Prokop Czech Ford + 1m34.3s 8. Khalid Al-Qassimi Citroen + 2m13.3s 9. Robert Kubica PH Citroen + 2m51.6s* 10. Yuriy Protasov Mm Ford + 3m12.1s* * WRC2 
shares
comments
Acropolis Rally: Mikko Hirvonen not alarmed by poor qualifying pace

Previous article

Acropolis Rally: Mikko Hirvonen not alarmed by poor qualifying pace

Next article

Acropolis Rally: Evgeny Novikov pulls away on Friday night

Acropolis Rally: Evgeny Novikov pulls away on Friday night
Load comments

About this article

Series WRC
Why the casualty of rallying's evolution should still be cherished Plus

Why the casualty of rallying's evolution should still be cherished

The WRC's support categories are in a process of streamlining that will spell the end of a formalised 2WD world championship-level category. While its relevance to the top level has been questioned for some time, that doesn't mean it should be swept quietly under the carpet

WRC
Apr 5, 2021
Why WRC's hybrid path could leave it at a crossroads Plus

Why WRC's hybrid path could leave it at a crossroads

With all three major manufacturers committing to the World Rally Championship’s hybrid era from 2022, the future of the series is assured for now, but it could lead to trickier twists and turns further down the road

WRC
Apr 1, 2021
How Tanak froze out the competition at the Arctic Rally Plus

How Tanak froze out the competition at the Arctic Rally

Ott Tanak made up for a disastrous Monte Carlo Rally by leading all the way on the snow-kissed stages of the Arctic Rally Finland and in the process hit back at an event Toyota had been expected to dominate

WRC
Mar 1, 2021
What to expect from the WRC's venture to the Arctic Plus

What to expect from the WRC's venture to the Arctic

This week's Arctic Rally Finland will bring the World Rally Championship into new territory. And, almost without exception, the service park can't wait for the subzero challenge to commence

WRC
Feb 25, 2021
How Ogier achieved a fitting Monte Carlo farewell Plus

How Ogier achieved a fitting Monte Carlo farewell

Against pandemic-shaped odds, the World Rally Championship season opener went ahead in Monte Carlo last weekend as a familiar face again took top spot. But for an emotional Sebastien Ogier, his record-breaking eighth win meant more than most

WRC
Jan 25, 2021
What to look out for in the 2021 WRC Plus

What to look out for in the 2021 WRC

As the 2021 World Rally Championship prepares to launch amid tight COVID-19 restrictions in Monte Carlo, here are the eight things unrelated to the pandemic that you should keep an eye on this year

WRC
Jan 21, 2021
Evans on the talking points of WRC 2021 Plus

Evans on the talking points of WRC 2021

He came close to the title last year, and now Toyota's Elfyn Evans gives his verdict on what to expect from 2021 as the World Rally Championship prepares to reconvene for the Monte Carlo season opener

WRC
Jan 20, 2021
Why Britain's continued WRC absence is a wake-up call Plus

Why Britain's continued WRC absence is a wake-up call

OPINION: With Rally GB dropping off the World Rally Championship calendar for the second year in a row, one of Britain's best-attended sporting events faces an uncertain future. It's an unfortunate situation that points to troubling times ahead

WRC
Jan 12, 2021