Sébastien Loeb leads EKO Acropolis Rally

Sébastien Loeb snatched the EKO Acropolis Rally Greece lead from team-mate Pierre-Louis Loubet late on Friday evening as their M-Sport Ford team dominated proceedings. From abject misery for M-Sport at Rally Ypres, the first day of the Acropolis Rally was a dream day for the British squad with its Ford Puma cars topping the timesheets on every single speed test as the rally threaded its way north following Thursday's spectacular start in Athens.

Loeb was initially dominant on the rugged gravel roads and opened up an early advantage on his fourth WRC start of the season. However, as temperatures soared, the nine-time world champion lost momentum. An overshoot on a hairpin bend in Dafni was enough to break Loeb's stride and he gave way to Puma team-mate and fellow Frenchman Loubet, who seized the top spot whilst also grabbing his first top-flight stage win in the WRC.

Loubet looked likely to lead overnight after notching up another fastest time at Livadia but Loeb's superior experience came to the fore. Armed with previous knowledge of the stage from his last Acropolis outing in 2012, the 48-year-old shaded his apprentice by 10 seconds in Bauxites to go back in front. Just 1.7sec separated the Puma duo as Toyota GR Yaris driver Esapekka Lappi filled the final podium spot 8.7sec further back. With all to play for the action continues early Saturday morning.

9th September, 2022