16 - 19 Jun 11
12:58 Thanks for following the 2011 Acropolis Rally on WRC.com
It's been another dramatic, eventful and ultimately close round of the World Rally Championship, and a hard-fought and thoroughly deserved win for Citroen's Sebastien Ogier. Join us for Rally Finland from July 28-31 when battle is rejoined!
12:57 Another SWRC podium for Sousa
Bernardo Sousa comes through in 2m37.5s, finishing 11th overall and second in the SWRC standings. It's been another clean run for him but he doesn't think he's ready to talk about the drivers' title yet: “Finally the rally has finished! It’s been a perfect weekend in the car apart from the problem with the driveshaft. I don’t think I have the experience to win this championship but you never know. It would be good to finish on the podium. Next we arrive in Finland for the first time so it will be difficult.”
12:56 Turan cements SWRC podium
Frigyes Turan completes the Power Stage in 2m38.1s and third place in the SWRC standings is his: “We are very happy. The car has been brilliant, and this has been a great rally - thanks to the spectators and the organisers. The team has done a good job.”
12:49 Top six recap after SS18: Ogier wins Power Stage and Acropolis Rally
It's a 1-2 finish for the Citroen Total World Rally team as Sebastien Ogier compounds his overall victory by taking three bonus championship points in the climactic Power Stage. Mikko Hirvonen ultimately falls 3.0s short of taking second place overall, but he goes home with a bonus point for setting third fastest time, behind Ogier and Sebastien Loeb, in the Power Stage: 1 Sebastien Ogier 4h4m44.3s; 2 Sebastien Loeb +10.5s; 3 Mikko Hirvonen +13.5s; 4 Petter Solberg +38.8s; 5 Henning Solberg +5m24.7s; 6 Matthew Wilson +6m54.7s.
12:45 Loeb makes it a dead heat on the Power Stage
It's a dramatic conclusion as Sebastien Loeb flashes through with an identical headline time to his team-mate Ogier. It comes down to hundredths of a second and Loeb is ultimately adjudged to have finished the Power Stage second, with Mikko Hirvonen third: “It’s been a great battle, but for sure we weren’t driving in the same conditions. I think we were the fastest on this rally, but we were cleaning the roads today and we were running second on the road another day. We could not have done better than this.”
12:42 Ogier takes Acropolis Rally win
Sebastien Ogier wins the Acropolis Rally in fine style, going quickest of all through the Power Stage, 0.4s faster than Hirvonen, stopping the clock at 2m22.7s: “It was a very good rally for me. Difficult on the first day but then I found a good rhythm and we pushed very hard. It was perfect to get that.” But can his team-mate snatch the Power Stage win?
12:39 Solberg just fails to beat Hirvonen in SS18
Petter Solberg was up on Hirvonen at the first split, but he’s lost time in the second part of the stage and comes through in 2m24.0s, 0.9s down. He finishes the rally fourth overall: “I don’t know why. I pushed, everything I can. I’m still happy with my performance, with my driving, and the team did a good job. We couldn’t do more than this - it’s impossible. Private team is private team - it’s difficult.”
12:35 Hirvonen finishes Acropolis Rally
2m23.1s for Mikko Hirvonen, quickest so far through the Power Stage as he pursues Sebastien Loeb for second place overall: “I really tried to push hard. I don’t know if it’s going to be enough.”
12:33 Fifth place for Henning Solberg
Henning Solberg matches Kimi Raikkonen's time of 2m26.1s, second quickest so far, as he drives through to fifth place overall: "I'm very happy to be here. It's been a hard week, we've had some bad luck, and we'll be back even stronger next time."
12:31 Engine trouble strikes WIlson
2m28.3s for Matthew Wilson, who finishes the rally in sixth overall: “There something wrong with the car again. We lost power at the start. It’s frustrating because we’re familiar with these roads now and we wanted to do well on this stage. It’s been a long rally, and to come away with sixth place without too many big problems is good - just a few niggly things that have held us up.”
12:28 Raikkonen second quickest so far through SS18
Kimi Raikkonen is second quickest through the Power Stage with 2m26.1s, and finishes the Acropolis Rally in seventh place: “It’s been okay. Friday we had some problems but yesterday was good and today also. Not too quick but we’ve been taking it easy to get the car home. The Power Stage was good but I ran wide on two corners and lost time.”
12:24 Broken roll bar hinders Latvala on the Power Stage
Jari-Matti Latvala finishes ninth overall and is quickest so far in SS18 with 2m25.1s, but he’s not optimistic that this is enough to win the stage: “I’ve been quite quick in some stages but I don’t think I’ve won this one. The rear roll bar broke on the previous stage and it’s quite distracting to my driving.”
12:21 Ostberg laments 'up and down' weekend
Mads Ostberg complained of steering trouble after today’s first stage but he has a good run through this final test, completing it in 2m26.4s, 0.3s quicker than Novikov: “It’s been very up and down this weekend. Too many small things throughout the rally. It’s not been what I hoped for and I sort of lost my motivation when it [the accident] happened on stage four, but we’ll be back.”
12:19 Novikov goes top
Superally re-entrant Evgeny Novikov posts the quickest time thus far in the Power Stage - 2m26.7s - and is typically loquacious at the end: “We were not so lucky here, with some problems on Friday, but the stages I could drive I drove flat. Maximum!”
12:16 Hanninen takes SWRC victory
Juho Hanninen has a clean 2m33.2s run through the Power Stage to cement his SWRC lead: “Good week, a very rough rally with very hard stages. But the car was working well, we had a great run. We had one day fighting with Tanak and then we just had to hold the lead. Big thanks to the team.”
12:15 Athanassoulas finishes Acropolis Rally
2m31.5s for Lambros Athanassoulas, who has a big moment on this final stage and almost rolls his Fiesta: “We had a problem with the car on the first day, nothing we could do about it - it was a mechanical failure. But we’re overjoyed to finish now. The weather was good and everything went according to plan.”
12:11 Stage Begin - SS18 Power Stage (New Loutraki) (3.97km)
The Power Stage combines elements of SS13 and SS14/16, so the surface is going to be very second-hand. It’s going to be slippery and, because it’s a wide road, it’s going to be quick. Superally re-entrant Lambros Athanassoulas will be first on the road through the stage. There are bonus championship points on offer for the fastest three drivers - will Sebastien Loeb be able to pull off a surprise or will Mikko Hirvonen mug him for second place? Will Jari-Matti Latvala take some consolation points?
11:48 Tweet from @StobartWRC
"Henning's new livery - side view pic. What does everyone think, do you like the yellow? http://fb.me/XP7Bndo4"
11:06 SWRC frontrunners through SS17
The leading SWRC trio of Juho Hanninen, Bernardo Sousa and Frigyes Turan are safely through SS17 but the fastest SWRC car on the stage is driven by Superally re-entrant Nasser Al-Attiyah. He completes in 8m23.7s, having announced this morning that he will be driving for Volkswagen when the German marque enters the WRC.
11:04 Latvala fastest in SS17
Another stage win for Jari-Matti Latvala, ninth overall after being stymied by transmission trouble on day one and a turbo failure on day two. 8m04.5s is 0.2s quicker than the previous best, which was set by team-mate Hirvonen.
11:00 Top six recap after SS17: Has Ogier done enough?
Whichever Sebastien has been leading, Citroen have bossed the Acropolis Rally until today. Now, while Sebastien Ogier seems to have done enough to secure victory with just the 4km Power Stage to go, Sebastien Loeb has a fight on his hands to defend second place form the resurgent Abu Dhabi Ford of Mikko Hirvonen: 1 Sebastien Ogier 4h02m21.6s; 2 Sebastien Loeb +10.5s; 3 Mikko Hirvonen +13.1s; 4 Petter Solberg +37.5s; 5 Henning Solberg +5m21.3s; 6 Matthew Wilson +6m49.1s.
10:56 Stobart Fords through SS17
Henning Solberg and Matthew Wilson come through in 8m16.7s and 18m19.3s, consolidating their grip on fifth and sixth overall. Seventh-placed Kimi Raikkonen is 1m36.9s behind WIlson overall and completes the stage in 8m22.0s
10:53 Leading SWRC trio through SS16
No dramas for the SWRC leaders Juho Hanninen, Bernardo Sousa and Frigyes Turan, who finish SS16 within a spread of 28.2s. Hanninen remains in eighth place overall, with a 2m10.4s margin over the flying WRC entry of the recovering Jari-Matti Latvala, who posts the third quickest time in SS16 (12m35.0s).
10:50 Hirvonen fastest through SS17
Another great time from Mikko Hirvonen, who stops the clock at 8m04.7s - 0.4s quicker than Ogier, but perhaps more crucially 4.8s quicker than Loeb. That brings him to just 2.6s behind Sebastien Loeb in the overall standings, definitely within striking distance with just four competitive kilometres to run.
10:48 Podium unlikely for Solberg now
Petter Solberg crosses the line in 8m09.8s, three tenths off Loeb. He's now too far away from Hirvonen to challeneg for the final podium spot unless the Ford driver makes an error on the last stage.
10:45 Ogier boosts his lead
8m05.1s from Sebastien Ogier - 4.4s quicker than his team-mate. That brings his lead to 10.5s over Loeb and that could be an insurmountable margin, even for the mighty Loeb. The Acropolis Rally belongs to Ogier unless he fumbles the Power Stage.
10:44 Loeb through SS17
Sebastien Loeb completes SS17 in 8m09.5s, but team-mate Ogier has been posting faster split times. The outcome of the Acropolis Rally could be decided in the next few moments...
10:38 Stage Begin - SS17 New Pissia 2 (11.37km)
Possibly the last chance to make a difference, since the Power Stage is a short 4km blast. SS17 runs partly on roads used by SS6, albeit in the opposite direction, and it alternates between wide, fast sections and narrow, rock-strewn mountain passes.
10:34 Top six recap after SS16: Ogier retakes the lead
A scintillating performance by Sebastien Ogier in SS16 has brought him back into the lead of the Acropolis Rally from team-mate Sebstien Loeb by 6.1s, offering the prospect of a thrilling lunge to the tape between the two Citroen Total WRT drivers: 1 Sebastien Ogier 3h54m16.5s; 2 Sebastien Loeb +6.1s; 3 Mikko Hirvonen +13.5s; 4 Petter Solberg +32.8s; 5 Henning Solberg +5m09.7s; 6 Matthew Wilson +6m34.9s.
10:33 Tweet from @OfficialWRC
"Kimi Raikkonen: Acropolis form better than expected http://bit.ly/mRwqlJ"
10:32 Raikkonen 'a bit too slow'
13m06.6s for Kimi Raikkonen: “We’re still a bit too slow but it’s the first time for us here.”
10:30 Tweet from @OfficialWRC
"Van Merksteijn Motorsport co-driver Eddy Chevaillier to make full recovery http://bit.ly/mskNiE"
10:27 Wilson 'not pushing stupidly'
Like his M-Sport Stobart team-mate Henning Solberg, Matthew Wilson has his position sewn up provided he stays out of trouble. He completes SS16 in 13m04.3s: “We had a nice run through there, with a good rhythm and not pushing stupidly. No problems so far but there’s still two stages to go.”
10:26 No dramas for Henning Solberg
Fifth place is in the bag for Henning Solberg provided he goes trouble-free to the finish, and he comes through in 13m00.3s: “All good in the car. I’m just driving at my own pace, no problems at all. I will continue like this.”
10:25 Hirvonen makes the most of road position
An impressive 12m33.7s for Mikko Hirvonen, quickest so far by 1.1s from Ogier and bringing him to 7.4s behind Loeb: “We’re getting close, but only two short stages are left. Hopefully we’re gaining through our road position. We did a few changes to the car and found some more traction.”
10:21 Solberg quicker than Loeb
Petter Solberg's podium hopes are receding as he completes SS16 in 12m38.6s, second quickest but 3.8s off Ogier’s time: “It’s tough. I’m trying everything I can. Pushing, pushing, pushing - I’m trying more all the time.”
10:19 Ogier flying in SS16
Sebastien Ogier posts a stunning 12m34.8s to go 6.2s quicker than Sebastien Loeb through SS16: “We pushed very hard on this one - we had a good drive and I’m very happy with this stage. We’ll have to do well on the next stage as well - it’s not over yet!”
10:12 Loeb 'could not have gone faster' in SS16
12m41.0s for Sebastien Loeb: “It depends on the road cleaning in the next one. Road cleaning makes the difference - for me, I drove a perfect stage. Flat out everywhere. I could not have gone faster.”
10:11 Tweet from @Officialferm
"Rene Dennis Fred and Annemieke relaxing and waiting for the beginning next stages. See pic #acropolisrally #WRC #rally yfrog.com/hslfukhj"
10:08 Tweet from @colmcklein
"Danny Baker needn't try the 'Daz Doorstep Challenge' round my house next week. Mega dust in #WRC Acropolis rally. http://twitpic.com/5dojl8"
10:07 Stage Begin - SS16 Aghii Theodori 2 (19.42km)
A wide, fast road narrows and becomes more technical over the closing kilometres of this stage. The surface will have been swept by cars on the preceding loop, but the leaders may encounter unexpected rocks that have been pulled onto the line earlier in the day.
08:25 Latvala's mystery resolved
Back at the service park, Jari-Matti Latvala reveals that he has traced the source of the distration he reported at the end of SS14 - what he thought was a stone interfering with his throttle foot was actually the pipe from the fire extinguisher.
08:14 SWRC leaders through SS15
The podium places in the SWRC remain unchanged as Juho Hanninen, Bernardo Sousa and Frigyes Turan complete SS15 in 8m38.5s, 8m47.5s and 8m53.7s respectively. Second-placed Sousa is 1m13.7s ahead of Turan but trails Hanninen by over four minutes.
08:10 Top six recap after SS15: Loeb leads again
It's a titanic scrap for the lead of the 2011 Acropolis Rally. An extraordinary performance from Sebastien Loeb, running first on the road and having to cope with the worst of the loose gravel, has brought him into the lead again. Mikko Hirvonen is edging his Fiesta closer to the two Citroens, but with just three stages to go he needs to do even more: 1 Sebastien Loeb 3h41m41.6s; 2 Sebastien Ogier +0.1s; 3 Mikko Hirvonen +14.7s; 4 Petter Solberg +29.1s; 5 Henning Solberg 4m44.3s; 6 Matthew Wilson +6m05.5s.
08:09 Tweet from @citroenracing
"SS15. Sébastien Loeb moved ahead of @SebOgier by a margin of 0’’1 following New Pissia 1. #wrc #acropolisrally"
08:06 Latvala clocks up another stage win
Jari-Matti Latvala lost the best part of a quarter of an hour to various technical troubles earlier in the rally. Now the Abu Dhabi Ford is on song once more he's showing what he can do: 8m15.1s is fastest of all through SS15, 1.3s faster than Hirvonen in the other works Fiesta.
08:01 Respectable pace for Stobart drivers
The M-Sport Stobart drivers running in the top six are safely through SS15, Henning Solberg in 8m38.1s and Matthew Wilson in 8m30.6s. But Mads Ostberg is flying, despite the issue with his steering: his 8m24.4s matches Petter Solberg's time exactly.
08:00 Hirvonen rapid in SS15
Mikko Hirvonen continues his charge, stopping the clock at 8m16.4s - quickest so far through the stage by 0.4s.
07:55 More woe for Solberg
Petter Solberg completes SS15 in 8m24.4s, losing nearly eight seconds to Loeb.
07:53 Turan tilting for SWRC podium
13m55.5s for Frigyes Turan, who is just over a minute behind second-placed Sousa in the SWRC battle: “We’d like to keep this position. The dream is to be on the podium I hope to move the gap a bit bigger to [Hermann] Gassner.”
07:52 Sousa through SS14
Bernardo Sousa completes SS14 in 13m47.2s and remains second in the SWRC standings in spite of losing time last night: “We thought it was the diff but it was a driveshaft. We repaired that and the car seems to be okay. Now I need to stay focused and watch Turan. To finish on the podium would be perfect. I want to take these 18 points home and think about Finland.”
07:50 Hanninen fighting for focus
13m40.9s in SS14 for Juho Hanninen whose main challenge, sitting on such a big lead in the SWRC, is to keep up his concentration while not driving at ten-tenths: “It’s difficult to keep the rhythm and concentration. I try to avoid all the rocks and punctures. The stages feel slow now. We fixed a suspension part yesterday evening and everything’s okay now.”
07:44 Loeb outpaces Ogier on SS15
The leaders are through SS15 already and Sebastien Loeb has hit back at his team-mate, clocking up a time of 8m16.8s which Ogier is unable to beat. Ogier comes through 0.2s down.
07:42 Stage Begin - SS15 New Pissia 1 (11.37km)
This stage uses the same roads as part of SS6 but running in the opposite direction, starting flat but then heading sharply uphill on a narrow road with plenty of rocks and gravel.
07:39 Top six recap after SS14: Ogier takes the lead again
With the leaders already in SS15, the top six looks like this: 1 Sebastien Ogier 3h33m24.7s; 2 Sebastien Loeb +0.1s; 3 Mikko Hirvonen +15.2s; 4 Petter Solberg +21.6s; 5 Henning Solberg +4m23.1s; 6 Matthew Wilson +5m51.8s. Kimi Raikkonen is a further 1m29.6s behind Wilson in seventh.
07:38 Novikov fourth quickest
Evgeny Novikov is out of overall contention but enjoying himself at the wheel, as evinced by his time of 12m55.9s - fourth fastest through the stage so far: “Not so bad. Maximum as I can - flat out everywhere. I have a lot of fun when I’m doing maximum.”
07:33 Steering trouble for Ostberg
Mads Ostberg finishes the stage in 13m03.6s, 14.1s off the leader, and he has technical problems already: “The steering isn’t going straight. It feels like the rack is loose. Definitely not good! It’s not feeling very comfortable. We could have gone a lot quicker if everything was working. I will definitely be careful in the next one.”
07:31 Latvala fastest in SS14
Jari-Matti Latvala goes quickest of all with a time of 12m49.5s, 0.4s faster than team-mate Hirvonen: “It was a good stage. I think I have a hole in the floor or something because at some points of the stage It felt like I had a stone under my boot as I was pushing the throttle. It was quite distracting.”
07:30 Raikkonen aiming for the finish
Kimi Raikkonen seems nonplussed with his 13m23.1s: “I dunno, it was a bit slippery feeling. We can’t really move up places so we’re just driving for the finish.”
07:25 Wilson happy with car fix
13m18.7s for Matthew Wilson, who is driving to consolidate sixth place: “It’s much better this morning. We fixed it [the misfire] before the night stage last night. We like these stages so we’re aiming for a nice run through, keeping a good pace but not taking any risks.”
07:23 Cautious start for Henning Solberg
Henning Solberg is safe in fifth place and driving for the finish, taking SS14 in 13m21.3s: “I’m very happy with my position. I hope we can come into fifth place. No problems with the car.”
07:21 Hirvonen quickest in SS14
Mikko Hirvonen shows he’s still gunning for a win, completing the stage in 12m49.9s. That’s fastest of all so far by five seconds: “It’s still there so I’m really going to go for it and try hard. I have to stay calm and focused. We were close to the edge but we didn’t have any moments.”
07:19 Mistakes for Solberg in SS14
Petter Solberg comes through in 12m57.8s, 2.9s off Ogier's time: “It went okay, I did a couple of mistakes but I’m pushing hard. I have to do that because it’s a big fight, the guys up front are going flat out and so is Mikko behind. I lost some time at the end.”
07:17 Ogier takes narrow lead
Sebastien Ogier completes SS14 in 12m54.9s, taking the lead from Sebastien Loeb but only by 0.1s: “It’s not enough [of a lead] to be comfortable, for sure, but it’s not too bad. Yeah, I slowed down [in last night’s final stage] but I was already slow because of the dust.”
07:12 Loeb loose through SS14
12m57.2s for Sebastien Loeb: “I feel I had a very good drive, pushing very hard, but there was a lot of loose gravel so for sure we lost a lot of time. I was just angry [last night] because we had no splits in the last stage and still they decided to put Ogier behind. For sure I will not be leading after this stage but it depends on the cleaning in the following stages. We have to push to try to do a podium, maybe.”
07:10 Stage requires commitment
The first section of SS14 also formed part of the SS13 route, and while this stage begins with a wide and fast road it soon funnels down into a wickedly technical section with plenty of twists. The loose surface is bound to sweep clean for following drivers so this could be a frustrating one for Sebastien Loeb...
07:07 Tweet from @B_Sousa_rally
"Good morning! Bom dia! http://fb.me/DabEadNG"
07:06 All going to plan, says Solberg
Petter Solberg will be running third on the road today. Here's what he said at the end of yesterday's action: "We lost a lot of time today cleaning the roads. But that was expected. We figured we would be about 22 seconds behind at the end of the day, so with the 20 seconds now we are exactly as we planned. We still have a chance to win this rally, and the plan is to do that!"
07:04 Stage Begin - SS14 Aghii Theodori 1 (19.42km)
Good morning and welcome to live text coverage of the final day of the 2011 Acropolis Rally. It's a battle of the Citroens at the moment, chiefly the works entries of Sebastiens Ogier and Loeb. Here's what Citroen competitions boss Olivier Quesnel said last night: “They will be allowed to fight but they know they need to stay on the road. If they go out of the road then for the drivers’ championship it is over for one of them. Everybody agrees with that, the only problem is that Loeb wanted Ogier to stay before him. He was not happy but this is the problem of the [running order]. I completely understood Loeb because from the first day he is driving hard and he knows everybody is trying to get him. He drove really first, maybe he is the fastest on this rally.”
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