31 May 08
Total-Citroen team driver Dani Sordo returned to the military complex at Tatoi for the midpoint service as the new leader of the Acropolis Rally.
After the morning loop of stages, the Spaniard has a lead of 16.4 seconds over his team-mate Sebastien Loeb who slipped to second following a puncture on SS9.
Sordo has never won a WRC rally before but thanks to some tactical driving on Friday he is well placed to increase his lead on this afternoon’s repeat loop.
Sordo is the third driver to tackle each of Saturday’s stage; giving him the advantage of a racing line swept cleaner by the cars of Sebastien Loeb and Jari-Matti Latvala.
Whether Sebastien Loeb will try to overtake Sordo today, or be content to say behind and benefit from a better road position on Sunday, remains to be seen. But with Citroen keen for Loeb to take a fifth World Championship, team orders could well come into play before the rally is over.
Petter Solberg had another drama free morning in the new Subaru Impreza WRC2008 to hold third overall, although his position is under serious threat from the Ford Focus RS WRC of Jari-Matti Latvala. The gap between the pair narrowed to 1.5 seconds on SS10, when Solberg was held up in the dust cloud following Mikko Hirvonen’s damaged car.
Latvala once again proved to be the king of the salvage job, and after losing 70 seconds on day one, is back to fourth - just 47 seconds off Sordo’s lead.
Henning Solberg of the Stobart Ford squad rounds off the top five, despite reporting intermittent engine problems throughout the morning.
Munchi’s team driver Federico Villagra is sixth, more than two minutes behind Henning. But Swede Per-Gunnar Andersson is less than five seconds behind in seventh in the leading Suzuki SX4 WRC. Andersson was on course to catch Villagra on SS10 but lost time when he missed two junctions and switched off the car’s ECU by mistake.
Championship leader Mikko Hirvonen is eighth, having lost more time through SS10 with his damaged rear suspension. Matthew Wilson is ninth for the Stobart team and one of many drivers to collect a puncture during the morning. Tenth placed Toni Gardemeister had been ninth overall after SS9 but dropped a place when his car lost its power steering three kilometers into SS10.