Latvala leads first morning in Greece

Jari-Matti Latvala has taken an early lead in the Acropolis Rally, benefiting from a good road position for the second event in a row

Latvala leads first morning in Greece

Despite his Sardinia win, Latvala remains sixth in the championship - which means he is the sixth driver onto the dusty Greek stages this morning and therefore benefits from better road conditions than the drivers ahead.

The Ford driver used that to his advantage to establish a 7.8-second lead over Citroen's Dani Sordo through the opening two stages.

"It's been quite okay, no big mistakes and we had quite a good feeling," said Latvala. "Dani is pushing very hard, but I'm satisfied."

Sordo won SS2 to move ahead of Latvala's team-mate Mikko Hirvonen and into second.

"I like this stage, every year I drive well here, I don't know why," said the Spaniard. "My road position is better of course, but Latvala's is even better than mine."

Championship leader Sebastien Loeb (Citroen) is unsurprisingly struggling more than those behind with the dusty surfaces. He was only eighth after the opening stage, and is now 26s behind Latvala in fifth.

His title rival Mikko Hirvonen is third in the second Ford, but frustrated not to have pulled further away from Loeb given his better road position. They are separated by 17s at present.

"I should have had a bigger advantage," Hirvonen admitted.

A great performance on SS1 gave Petter Solberg an early third place, but he lost 45s on the next stage with what turned out to be a steering problem.

"Something's broken in some place," he said at the end of the stage. "It just happened on the straight. I don't know what it is, something underneath is completely loose."

Adapta Subaru driver Mads Ostberg runs an excellent fourth after SS2, having also made the most of a good road position. He is just in front of Loeb and Citroen Junior duo Evgeny Novikov and Sebastien Ogier - both of whom might have been ahead of the world champion had they not overshot junctions this morning.

Henning Solberg currently completes the top eight, but his Stobart Ford team-mate Matthew Wilson was the first major retirement, reporting oil pressure problems during SS2.

The first loop has been truncated to just three stages today, the organisers having decided earlier this week that the scheduled third stage was too rough to use. The crews are therefore heading straight back to the remote service in Itea to prepare for this afternoon's three stages.

Leading positions after SS2:

Pos Driver Car Time 1. Jari-Matti Latvala Ford 35m21.9s 2. Dani Sordo Citroen + 7.8s 3. Mikko Hirvonen Ford + 9.3s 4. Mads Ostberg Subaru + 24.7s 5. Sebastien Loeb Citroen + 26.4s 6. Evgeny Novikov Citroen + 26.8s 7. Sebastien Ogier Citroen + 36.2s 8. Henning Solberg Ford + 48.6s 9. Petter Solberg Citroen + 51.5s 10. Conrad Rautenbach Citroen +1m01.3s 
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