Sebastien Loeb joined WRC legends Miki Biasion, Walter Rohrl and Carlos Sainz by becoming a three-time winner of the Acropolis Rally following a faultless performance in his Citroen DS3 WRC. After seeing off determined challenges from Jari-Matti Latvala and Petter Solberg, Loeb was able to win with ease, despite a late scare when he and co-driver Daniel Elena had to stop to change a puncture tyre on stage 20.
Solberg started Sunday’s five stages trailing Loeb by 10.2s only to crash out on the opening test in his Ford Fiesta RS WRC. The Norwegian’s misfortune - he tore a rear wheel off his car after striking a tree - promoted Loeb’s team-mate Mikko Hirvonen up to second with Latvala securing the final podium place in third. The Finn marked his return from injury by claiming 10 fastest stage times.
Mads Ostberg fought his way back up to fourth in his Ford Fiesta RS after he got stuck going off the road on the opening day. Martin Prokop and Thierry Neuville also continued their strong scoring runs in fifth and sixth respectively. Sebastien Ogier took seventh for Volkswagen Motorsport although team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen failed to finish after damaging his car’s suspension on Sunday’s opener.
Acropolis tyre facts:
Michelin will supply its Latitude Cross gravel tyre to all of the World Rally Car crews. The WRC’s second tyre supplier, DMACK, lost its sole WRC runner when Michal Kosciuszko pulled his Acropolis entry and is now focused on the WRC-2 runners with its DMG+2 tyre.
Both Michelin’s Latitude Cross and DMACK’s DMG+2 tyres are available in just one construction and tread pattern, but are offered in two compounds (hard and soft) to suit the varied conditions on the nine gravel rallies in the season.
In Greece, each WRC crew will have 35 hard-compound tyres available, plus an alternative of 16 soft-compound tyres. Each competitor is allowed to use a maximum of 35 tyres across both compounds for the entire event.
In accordance with FIA technical regulations, each tyre manufacturer is allowed to nominate one new specification of both its gravel and asphalt tyres during the season. DMACK has chosen to make changes in Greece, by reclassifying its existing S3 compound tyre from ‘soft’ to ‘hard’ and introducing a brand-new S1 compound as the new ‘soft’ option.