Stage data: SS2, Aghia Marina (13.80 kilometres)
By M-Sport Ford Rally Team co-driver Denis Giraudet: “This is the first stage of the longest day of the rally and I don’t like it so much with only the remote service but this is the way it goes. The roads on this stage are made with big machines so they are not so nice but the scenery is fantastic with big drops and views of the sea. It’s a very early start to the day but on the direction we go in there should not be problems with the low sun.”
How the action unfolded:
Jari-Matti Latvala started the first full day of the Acropolis Rally in encouraging style as he edged slightly further away from the chasing Citroen DS3 WRC of Sebastien Loeb.
Ford driver Latvala won the Aghia Marina stage by a scant 0.4s over Loeb, bringing his overall advantage up to 3.2s.
Latvala denied that he was driving to Loeb's splits, and reckoned they were just naturally evenly-matched this morning.
"It seems that it's quite equal," he noted.
Loeb's team-mate Mikko Hirvonen was 3.3s slower than Latvala but remains third.
In the second Ford World Rally Team Fiesta RS WRC, Petter Solberg moved up from fifth to fourth, but was concerned by a handling problem.
"Something is not right, the car is very, very difficult to drive. Something is not correct," said the Norwegian. "I have to think what it is. It's not in balance at all. The car is strange in right-handers. There's a big difference between right and left corners."
Solberg still moved past Mads Ostberg, as did Evgeny Novikov, with Ostberg unhappy with his Adapta Ford and sliding from fourth to sixth.
Novikov's M-Sport team-mate Ott Tanak pulled clear of his sparring partners in seventh, as Thierry Neuville (Citroen Junior) lost a little time with a spin but still came through just ahead of Ford driver Martin Prokop.