Loeb Quickest in Superspecial

Sebastien Loeb drew first blood in the Acropolis Rally after posting the fastest time in Superspecial in Athens Olympic stadium

Loeb Quickest in Superspecial

In front of a sold-out audience of 55,000 fans, the Frenchman drove the 2.4km stage in 2:15.4.

Privateer Mark Higgins was a surprise second place in his 2003 WRC Focus, just 0.1s off the Frenchman, signalling his intent for a points charge this weekend.

Higgins told Autosport-Atlas: "It was amazing, the crowd was just awesome. I waved to the crowd on my way out to get them even more excited.

"The stage was quite tight and you had to be very precise. But it was just brilliant. That Loeb always gets in the way!"

Peugeot's Markko Martin was a further 0.8 seconds further back in third, ahead of the Mitsubishi of Harri Rovanpera, who was 1.2 seconds off Loeb.

Petter Solberg, in second place in the championship, finished fifth.

The rally proper begins tomorrow morning, with a 20km stage at Eleftherohori.

Superspecial Classification:

Pos Driver Car Time 1. Loeb Citroen 2:15.4 2. Higgins Ford 2:15.5 +0.1 3. Martin Peugeot 2:16.3 +0.9 4. Rovanpera Mitsubishi 2:16.6 +1.2 5. Solberg Subaru 2:16.9 +1.5 6. Gardemeister Ford 2:17.2 +1.8 7. Sainz Citroen 2:17.6 +2.2 8. Gronholm Peugeot 2:17.7 +2.3 9. Solberg Ford 2:17.7 +2.3 10. Carlsson Subaru 2:18.0 +2.6 11. Warmbold Ford 2:18.1 +2.7 12. Tuohino Skoda 2:18.4 +3.0 13. Galli Mitsubishi 2:18.6 +3.2 14. Johansson Subaru 2:18.8 +3.4 15. Kresta Ford 2:19.0 +3.6 16. Stohl Citroen 2:19.2 +3.8 17. Schwarz Skoda 2:19.3 +3.9 18. Paasonen Skoda 2:19.9 +4.5 19. Atkinson Subaru 2:20.4 +5.0 20. Sarrazin Subaru 2:20.5 +5.1 21. Hirvonen Ford 2:20.8 +5.4 22. Sohlberg Subaru 2:20.9 +5.5 23. Pons Citroen 2:22.3 +6.9 24. Vovos Subaru 2:23.1 +7.7 25. Papadimitriou Ford 2:24.4 +9.0 26. Andersson Suzuki 2:28.3 +12.9 27. Meeke Citroen 2:28.9 +13.5 28. Philippedes Skoda 5:15.4 +3:00.0 

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