Unchanged from 2012, Klenia Mycenae starts on a smooth and flowing gravel road with some fast sections until the eight-kilometre point when the surface changes to bedrock and it gets faster. But the high-speed stuff doesn’t last for long. The sudden switch to narrow and twisty sections, or a sequence of hairpin corners, is a feature of this test and has caught out many drivers in the past – including Sebastien Loeb who crashed at the 8km point here in 2009.
How the action unfolded:
Jari-Matti Latvala extended his lead of the Acropolis Rally on stage seven, taking another stage win to pull 29.9sec clear of Dani Sordo in second.
The Finn led a trio of Volkswagen Polo R drivers at the top of the SS7 results sheet, with Sebastien Ogier second fastest, 3.7sec adrift, and Andreas Mikkelsen third, 0.8sec further back.
The repeat of Klenia Mycenae was a rougher challenge than the earlier pass, with big stones littering the route and a more abrasive bedrock surface that had been largely swept free of loose gravel.
But despite the numerous hazards, Latvala kept his boot down and completed in test in 11m 14.4s – nine seconds quicker than his time in the morning.
“It was good, no problems,” said Latvala. “The car was good, we had a good feeling so overall I’m very happy.”
Sordo however took a more cautious approach, bringing his Citroen DS3 to the finish in the seventh fastest time. “The road is completely destroyed and there are a lot of stones everywhere. Latvala is pushing like hell, yes? My plan is to keep out of trouble.”
Third placed Thierry Neuville was also concentrating on self-preservation. “There were many rocks on the [racing] line,” said the Belgian, who was sixth fastest. “I thought many times we would get a puncture, but we got away with it. I lost three or four seconds with a stall, but otherwise I just tried to be careful.”
Nasser Al Attiyah was eighth quickest, but his fourth place overall was under threat from the chasing Mikkelsen, who by the end of the test was just 14.5sec behind.
“The brakes work properly now and I found a rhythm that I’m happy with,” said Mikkelsen. “Let’s keep it up. The feeling of the car is much better when there’s more grip.”