Sébastien Ogier takes up the fight
It’s been a difficult morning for the Citroën Total World Rally Team. Sébastien Loeb and Dani Sordo both retired while in contention for victory, although the Spaniard should be able to restart tomorrow under the SupeRally ruling. At the event’s halfway point, Sébastien Ogier lies third in the provisional standings, with Evgeny Novikov adding a further fastest stage time to his burgeoning CV this morning.

The second day of the Acropolis Rally of Greece took an unexpected turn when Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena retired on the first stage: “I look a right-hander a bit too fast. We got through the corner, but we weren’t on the correct line for the next left-hander. We hit a stone at the apex which ripped off a wheel and sent us into a series of barrel rolls on the other side of the road. The main thing is that neither of us was injured, but the car’s too badly damaged to restart tomorrow. It’s a shame to lose so many points in the championship.”

Two special stages down the road, Dani Sordo and Marc Marti were forced to stop: “We’d been running very comfortably from the start, but we hit a stone that wasn’t in our pace notes – it was hidden in the grass. It broke a ball joint: we could have repaired it but we’d have lost too much time. We should be able to restart in SupeRally. I’m very disappointed because I felt I could have won here.”

The Citroën Junior Team is ready to take up the fight with Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia, who were running third at the halfway stage of the rally: “We’ve been running at a good pace while also looking after our tyres, and the car’s working very well. There’s still a long way to go in the rally, so we need to maintain our pace and not make any mistakes. The second runs through the stages this afternoon look like they’ll be tough on the tyres, so we’ll have to pay attention. It would be perfect if we could hold our third position.”

Yesterday, Evgeny Novikov became the youngest driver in history to set the fastest time on a World Championship special stage, and he continued in the same vein today. On Ghymno (SS8), the 18-year-old Russian repeated the feat. He gained four positions on the day’s first stage to take eighth place overall: “I ran steadily on the first stage then really attacked on the second one. I’m pleased to set another fastest time. We looked after the car on SS9, but we’ll be on the attack again this afternoon. Our target is to make it to the finish and try to match our performance in Sardinia.”

Conrad Rautenbach and Daniel Barritt also made progress in the standings and they’re now running seventh: “I expected the stages to be more of a car-breaker this morning. But the temperatures aren’t as high as they have been and the road surface isn’t too hard on the tyres. I was probably a bit too cautious but other drivers got caught out. Our first target is to get sixth place, and we’ll be fighting hard to do it.”

The 67.68 km loop through the Peloponnese will be repeated this afternoon. The teams will return to service in Loutraki at 18:33.

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