31 May 08
Acropolis Rally leader Dani Sordo will have to complete Saturday’s two remaining stages without any punctures after wrecking two tyres on the repeated Aghii Theodori test.
Sordo completed the stage with a punctured left-hand rear tyre, and another which was badly damaged. The Spaniard had to use both his spares to get his C4 WRC ready for SS12. “I didn’t make a big attack in there but still we have a big problem,” said Sordo. “I will try my best to get to the finish but I’m not sure.”
Despite the problems Sordo increased his lead over team-mate Sebastien Loeb, who chose to drive more slowly through the punishing 32.16km section.
At the finish Loeb said his strategy was designed to preserve his tyres for the two remaining tests. “I just drove carefully as it was so easy to break something in there,” said Loeb. “I didn’t take any risks, now we have a bit of tyre and two stages to go - it’s okay.”
Jari-Matti Latvala’s plan to challenge the leaders was ruined by a turbo waste-gate problem which robbed his engine of power. The Finn completed the stage almost four minutes slower than Sordo and dropped to ninth overall.
The extremely rough conditions led to the retirement of two drivers in the top-ten: Munchi’s team driver Federico Villagra, who was sixth, retried 10km from the start with broken suspension on his Ford Focus RS WRC, while seventh placed Per-Gunnar Andersson retired at the stage end with rear suspension damage.
Andersson’s team-mate at Suzuki, Toni Gardemeister dropped almost four minutes with a turbo waste-gate problem. The Finn has chosen to continue despite the loss of power but is expected to lose more time during the afternoon.