Posted by: wrcnf1 | June 13, 2009

Acropolis : Rally of Attrition

The Acropolis rally has always been a tough rally on both car and driver and it has shown no signs of easing up in its campaign against man and machine. On Friday, it almost claimed the exciting if not sometimes over-enthusiastic Jari-matti Latvala on SS6 as he was  leading the rally. Latvala arrived at a hairpin too fast and soon found why judgement is critical on this rally especially when the team has given you a job to do for your no.1 (more about this in my next post). Latvala lost about 3 minutes and left Mikko to sweep the road on Saturday.

Saturday was where it really took its tool. Both Dani Sordo and Sebastien Loeb crashed out to leave Citroen without a chance for any points and leaving Mikko his best chance to close the gap to Loeb. Can anyone tell me when was the last time both of the Citroen werent able to finish and get points. All of this left Petter in the great position of 2nd but he was not to benefit from this as he suffered suspension damage. A fighting team that he and Phil Mills have been since they first teamed up, they tried to repair the top mount with and adjustable spanner but it was not meant to be and they retired. Fellow Norwegian Mads Ostberg suffered a similar fate when a damper broke and forced him to retire.

This promoted young Sebastien Ogier to 2nd place more than a minute behind Hirvonen. Ogier was lucky to be there as well as a puncture cost him some time on Friday but he was quickly back on the pace to take his first stage win in the WRC on the next stage. His Citroen juniors teammate Evgeny Novikov also learned a tough lesson on Friday about tyres and the heat of this event as he cooked his tyres soon after taking his first WRC stage win on SS5. This dropped him from fourth to 12th.

With Ogier so far behind, Hirvonen should be in good position for the win and this only leaves Latvala to decide how important 2nd place his to him after he fought back from 11th to finish day 2 in 3rd.

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