Solberg cuts Loeb's lead in half on Rally Acropolis

Sebastien Loeb's Acropolis Rally lead is down to 10.2 seconds as Petter Solberg put on a charge in very wet conditions on Saturday afternoon

Solberg cuts Loeb's lead in half on Rally Acropolis

When Solberg's Ford team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala sustained a puncture on the first stage after lunchtime service, it looked like Loeb (Citroen) would have a relatively easy run to the finish, with new second place man Solberg 20 seconds adrift.

But three stage wins out of three on the day's remaining stages saw Solberg cut Loeb's lead in half, as heavy rain hit the region. The world champion felt he had caught the worst of the weather, as drivers ahead in the start order got through SS15 before it began, but still acknowledged that Solberg was flying.

"Clearly he was very fast. It will be a fight tomorrow. We were not so lucky," said Loeb.

Solberg said he had still been driving within himself during the pursuit.

"It's fantastic. I didn't take any risks at all and I was hoping to get some time," he said. "It will be very interesting. The car is working fantastically. I'm very happy with that."

Mikko Hirvonen is now nearly two minutes behind in third, with Latvala losing more time as damage from his SS14 incident also left him with only three working brakes.

Mads Ostberg (Adapta Ford) has now moved back into fifth ahead of Martin Prokop's Czech Ford.

Nasser Al-Attiyah lost seventh place when a driveshaft failure halted his Qatar Citroen. Both Volkswagen Skodas hit trouble too - Andreas Mikkelsen forced into Rally 2 by overheating, and Sebastien Ogier slowed by power steering problems.

Leading positions after SS17: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Sebastien Loeb Citroen 3h56m13.0s 2. Petter Solberg Ford + 10.2s 3. Mikko Hirvonen Citroen + 1m51.9s 4. Jari-Matti Latvala Ford + 4m44.6s 5. Mads Ostberg Adapta Ford + 7m39.7s 6. Martin Prokop Czech Ford + 8m08.6s 7. Thierry Neuville Citroen Junior + 10m39.4s 8. Sebastien Ogier VW Skoda + 12m17.9s 9. Yazeed Al Rahji Yazeed Ford + 18m52.3s 10. Andreas Mikkelsen VW Skoda + 22m08.6s 
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Puncture costs Latvala shot at victory on Rally Acropolis

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Series WRC
Drivers Sébastien Loeb , Henning Solberg
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