Suzuki in the top 10 on the toughest event of the year
Following last night's exceptionally popular ceremonial start at the Parthenon in the centre of Athens, the Suzuki SX4 WRC drivers Toni Gardemeister and P-G Andersson started the main event and the competitive action north of the city of Athens this morning. Arguably the harshest rally on the calendar, the Acropolis Rally combines the rockiest roads with the hottest conditions. Both Suzukis coped admirably with everything this Greek summer could throw at them. Andersson was never out of the top 10 and was ninth overnight, while his team-mate Gardemeister ended the day on the fringes of the top 10 in 11th position.

Tomorrow's stages are likely to be the toughest on the route. The itinerary includes the longest test of the whole event, the fearsome 32.16km Aghii Theodori test - which is also expected to be the roughest and rockiest in this year's championship: a true test for the world's fastest rally drivers.

Car news - Suzuki SX4 WRC n.11 (Gardemeister), n.12 (Andersson):
Suzuki arrived in Greece with the brace of SX4 WRCs sporting a similar set-up to the one employed by Gardemeister and Andersson on the last round in Italy. Clearly, it's a set-up which works in Greece, as both cars ran well across the rough terrain. Neither car suffered any significant technical issues on the stages.

Driver news:
Toni Gardemeister: "Everything has been quite okay today. We had some trouble this morning with the fuel pumps, but the afternoon was good. I was at 95 per cent. There is more to come."

P-G Andersson: "The first and third stages today were really technical, very twisty, but good fun in the SX4 WRC. I haven't been going at the maximum today; this rally is about surviving until the finish and that's what we've got our sights firmly set on. Tomorrow's a really tough day. There's still a very long way to go in this event."

Team news:
Paul Wilding, Suzuki World Rally Team manager: "Suzuki's target for this event is to get the SX4 WRCs to the end of the rally. We're one-third of the way through the toughest rally of the year - and we've had a clean run. The team is very pleased with that. We're not so focused on stage times here in Greece, what we want to see is good, consistent pace and reliability and both drivers have delivered that. We're looking forward to more of the same tomorrow, but we remain mindful of just how hard this rally can be."

Day 1 Leaderboard
1. S Loeb/D Elena 1h21m34.8s
2. D Sordo/M Marti +15.7s
3. P Solberg/P Mills +59.1s
4. H Solberg/C Menkerud +1m06.0s
5. U Aava/K Sikk +1m15.5s
6. J-M Latvala/M Attila +1m18.9s
7. M Hirvonen/J Lehtinen +1m36.4s
8. C Atkinson/S Prevot +1m36.8s
9. P-G Andersson/J Andersson +2m23.8s
10. F Villagra/J Maria Volta +2m29.3s

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