Stage data: SS17, Ziria 2 (21.36 kilometres)
By M-Sport Ford Rally Team co-driver Denis Giraudet: “This is a new stage for 2012. The first part is going up on a rocky bed with hairpins, very bad for the tyres. Then it’s like motorway and for 15 kilometres the speed will be more than 120kph. They’ve put three or four chicanes in this section but it’s still very, very fast. The scenery is so beautiful - you are about 2400 metres high. There is still some snow in the mountains. The last four kilometres are very twisty.”
How the action unfolded:
Petter Solberg has cut Sebastien Loeb’s lead of the Acropolis Rally to 10.2s starting the final day of round six of the FIA World Rally Championship powered by Nokia.
Solberg, in a Ford Fiesta RS WRC, completed Saturday’s last stage 3.9s faster than Citroen DS3 WRC driver Loeb, who reported driving in heavy rain at the start of the 21.36-kilometre test.
“I didn’t take any risks at all and I was hoping to get some time back so it’s fantastic,” said Solberg. “I would like to have it a bit less than 10s but it will be very interesting tomorrow.”
Loeb said: “He was faster than me in the stage, we had heavy rain at the start, so we will see for tomorrow. We have to hold onto the lead, I am ready for a fight.”
Mads Ostberg and Jari-Matti Latvala shared the third-fastest time with the latter’s performance particularly noteworthy due to his ongoing brake problem.
“That was the best I can do with three brakes, I can’t drive any better than this,” said Ford driver Latvala. “The hairpins are so difficult because I can’t use the handbrake. Now we are at the finish of the day so let’s get things sorted out on the car in service so we can concentrate on tomorrow.”
Saudi driver Yazeed Al-Rajhi has moved into the top 10 in his Fiesta RRC after he set the 11th fastest time.
Crews are now on their way back to the service park in Loutraki. Sunday’s action resumes with the 19.42-kilometre Aghii Theodori stage at 09:14hrs local time.