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Sat 10 Sep 2022

BREAKING: Loeb retires from Acropolis lead

Sébastien Loeb has retired from the lead of EKO Acropolis Rally Greece with alternator belt failure after Saturday's opening stage.

The Frenchman emerged from the monster 33.2km Pyrgos test with an extended 19.0sec advantage over Thierry Neuville, who climbed from fourth to seize second overall.

But the smiles were short-lived as the alternator belt on Loeb's Puma failed between the flying finish and stop line - leaving the Frenchman to freewheel a few metres down the road before setting about repairing the issue.

Despite the frantic efforts, he and co-driver Isabelle Galmiche were unable to gain access to the faulty belt and could go no further. They have retired for the day, making Hyundai i20 N star Neuville the new rally leader.

Pierre-Louis Loubet's podium hopes disintegrated as the Puma hotshot plummeted from third to ninth overall with a front left puncture, while championship leader Kalle Rovanperä also hit trouble. The Finn sideswiped a tree which caused heavy damage to his Yaris' rear-end and dropped over six minutes. 

Ott Tänak brings up the rear of a Hyundai 1-2 18.6sec down on Neuville, while Esapekka Lappi fills the final podium spot 3.9sec behind in a Yaris. 

• Full coverage from Acropolis Rally Greece is available on WRC+ All Live here, including every stage broadcast as it happens as well as key interviews, features and expert analysis from the service park.

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