Loeb cruises home to Acropolis win

Autosport

Sebastien Loeb extended his World Rally Championship lead to 31 points as he clinched his fourth win from this year's six rallies in Greece.

Loeb's third Acropolis Rally victory was not an easy one, as he had to overcome both a late puncture and stern challenges from both Ford drivers to secure the win, taking the power stage bonus points as well.

Jari-Matti Latvala led early on, before losing time with an overshoot and handling issues. The Finn, returning to the series after missing Argentina with a broken collarbone, charged back to get within a second of Loeb again, only for a mistake on Saturday to cause a puncture and brake damage, leaving him four minutes off the lead by the end of the day. Latvala eventually finished third.

In the other works Ford, Petter Solberg initially lost ground with a tyre choice error, had a scare when he damaged the underside of his car, and then began carving back into Loeb's lead only to crash out on Sunday's first stage.

All of that left Loeb two minutes clear of Citroen team-mate Mikko Hirvonen, a sufficient margin to hold the lead even when he had to stop and change a punctured tyre with three stages to go.

Hirvonen had dropped a bit of time to a puncture on Friday, but also lacked the pace to stay with the other frontrunners, so was pleased to complete a Citroen one-two ahead of Latvala.

Amid heavy attrition in the rest of the WRC field, Mads Ostberg (Adapta Ford) recovered from a trip off the road on Friday to come back to fourth, ahead of the consistent Martin Prokop's Czech Ford.

Thierry Neuville succeeded in getting through a weekend without using Rally 2, but did lose several minutes with a broken driveshaft on Friday, leaving him a distant sixth for Citroen Junior.

Result to follow.

View comments (0)
  • Bell steers England to victory, hosts take 2-1 Ashes lead

    Bell steers England to victory, hosts take 2-1 Ashes lead

    Ian Bell guided England to an eight-wicket victory over Australia in the third test at Edgbaston on Friday to put the hosts 2-1 up in the series with two matches to play. Bell (65 not out) and Joe Root, with an unbeaten 38, anchored the chase after England were set to 121 to win on the third day at Edgbaston where a dominant performance banished memories of a heavy defeat at Lord's. England lost Alastair Cook (7) and Adam Lyth (12) to set a few nerves on edge but Bell, dropped on 20 by Australia captain Michael Clarke, made his second 50 of the match to spark raucous celebrations after Root hit the winning runs. More »

    Reuters - 5 hours ago
  • Lambert leaves Liverpool to join West Brom

    Lambert leaves Liverpool to join West Brom

    Liverpool offload Rickie Lambert after just one unproductive season at Anfield More »

    Reuters - 4 hours ago
  • Serie A - Confusion as Stevan Jovetic joins Inter

    Serie A - Confusion as Stevan Jovetic joins Inter

    Inter Milan have signed Stevan Jovetic from Manchester City, although there were conflicting reports as to whether it was a loan or permanent switch. More »

    Eurosport - 5 hours ago
  • Can we ever trust Fifa again? Football writer Jonathan Wilson and Copa90's Eli Mengem investigate

    Can we ever trust Fifa again? Football writer Jonathan Wilson and Copa90's Eli Mengem investigate

    Can we ever trust Fifa again? Who replaces Sepp Blatter? These key questions and more are answered on this week's episode of The Rail, as Spencer is joined by football writer Jonathan Wilson and Copa90's Eli Mengem. More »

    Copa90 - 5 hours ago
  • No snow no problem as China's financial might lands 2022 Games

    No snow no problem as China's financial might lands 2022 Games

    The snow will be fake, but the very real financial muscle China boasts proved decisive on Friday when Beijing won the right to host the 2022 Winter Olympics. Games officials meeting in Kuala Lumpur voted for the Chinese capital over the lure of a winter wonderland offering from Kazakhstan's Almaty, in a clear sign that the International Olympic Committee is craving solidity and security after a series of problems and headaches. While Rio scrambles to make up lost time in its building for the 2016 Olympics, and Tokyo is embroiled in a stadium drama the allure of a megacity with a cast-iron financial guarantee proved irresistible. More »

    Reuters - 7 hours ago