Dani Sordo makes his ambitions clear at Greece

Dani Sordo and Carlos del Barrio kept out of trouble, however, to finish day one in second position overall.

Dani Sordo makes his ambitions clear at Greece

The first leg of the Acropolis Rally may well have only featured two stages, but there was no shortage of incidents. Dani Sordo and Carlos del Barrio kept out of trouble, however, to finish day one in second position overall. Meanwhile, in the second DS3 WRC of the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team, Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen lost time due to a mechanical problem.

Featuring the qualifying stage, the ceremonial start and two stages, the first leg of the Acropolis Rally provided the crews with a full schedule. Those who believed that the compact format of the event would lead to a dull race were however left to revise their position!

Daniel Sordo and Carlos del Barrio, Citroen DS3 WRC, Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
Daniel Sordo and Carlos del Barrio, Citroen DS3 WRC, Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team

Photo by: XPB Images

It must be said that the 47.70km-long SS1 provided one hell of test for the start of the rally. The first driver to make it to Kineta’s stop control, Khalid Al-Qassimi looked somewhat taken aback. “I had no confidence at all, I had to carve a line for my rivals and the DS3 was constantly going off the road”, exclaimed the Abu Dhabi driver. “I then calmed down, but I thought I had lost a lot more time.” Khalid ended up with the eighth fastest time, having lost less time than Mads Ostberg, Sébastien Ogier and Mikko Hirvonen.

The Finn had however been on course to set the second fastest time, but sadly it just wasn’t to be. “We were seven kilometres from the finish when I started to feel vibrations and hear strange noises. There was a problem with the steering, but the car was still able to turn a little. We managed to keep going at a slower speed. Sometimes, I had to do a lot of manoeuvring just to get round some of the corners, but we managed to get there in the end.” Clearly disappointed, the no.2 DS3 WRC driver made it to the service park where the team’s mechanics repaired his car.

Meanwhile, Dani Sordo kept out of trouble on this treacherous stage. The Spaniard set the second fastest time, around twenty seconds off the pace. “When I saw the splits and the messages telling about the problems that some of the other guys were having, I decided to take it a little bit easier”, he said, as the sun set on the Gulf of Corinth. “Obviously, it’s a very good start, but the misfortunes of some of the others show just how difficult this rally is. For the time being, we need to try and get to the end of SS2…”

Held on the first twenty-six kilometres of SS1, the Kineta stage was therefore contested in the dark. Dani Sordo lost a few more seconds to Novikov, but he was still pleased with this first leg: “The main thing is that we’re right up there and haven’t had any major problems. Maybe I was a little too cautious on SS2, but Evgeny’s lead is small on a rally like this one. I feel confident about the rest of the weekend.”

Mikko Hirvonen set a good time on this stage, but his objectives are now more modest: “After losing so much time, I have given up any hopes of winning and will now try to pick up a few points for the Championships.”

With the roads swept clear of loose gravel by the first runs, Khalid Al-Qassimi was visibly happier in his DS3 WRC and enjoyed driving it on the second test. The Emirati now lies eighth overall.

Competing in their DS3 RRC, Robert Kubica and Maciek Baran lead the WRC2 standings after setting the fastest time in their category on both of the opening stages. The Polish pair lead second-placed Yurii Protasov by 38.2s.

Citroën Racing

shares
comments
Novikov flies to Acropolis rally lead
Previous article

Novikov flies to Acropolis rally lead

Next article

Volkswagen in third and fifth place after day one in Greece

Volkswagen in third and fifth place after day one in Greece
Load comments
The WRC star that's earned the right to lead M-Sport's revival Prime

The WRC star that's earned the right to lead M-Sport's revival

Part-time opportunities with Citroen and Hyundai have offered brief glimpses of what Craig Breen can do in a World Rally Championship car. Now signed up by M-Sport to lead it into the WRC's new hybrid era, Breen has been given the chance he's pursued for so long and is determined to make the most of it

WRC
2 h
Why the WRC's 'modern Group B' era was rallying at its bonkers best Prime

Why the WRC's 'modern Group B' era was rallying at its bonkers best

The World Rally Championship has brought down the curtain on the aggressive, aero-laden generation of cars first introduced in 2017 that have been likened to the 1980s Group B icons. As the championship prepares to begin a new era of Rally1 hybrid cars, its stars explain just why the outgoing machines were so special

WRC
Dec 24, 2021
Ranking the top 10 WRC drivers of 2021 Prime

Ranking the top 10 WRC drivers of 2021

On the eve of a new hybrid era for the World Rally Championship, the 2021 season was a blockbuster fought out between Toyota's two top dogs, with a familiar figure eventually emerging on top after a final showdown at Monza. We pick out the 10 best performers from the top class and its supporting cast

WRC
Dec 21, 2021
Why Ogier's WRC swansong was a season to savour Prime

Why Ogier's WRC swansong was a season to savour

He’s shuffling into semi-rally-retirement, but Toyota star Sebastien Ogier was at the peak of his powers in the final season for the high downforce era-World Rally Championship cars. Despite Toyota's domination, there was still much to enjoy as the old master emerged atop a fierce title fight against teammate Elfyn Evans.

WRC
Dec 19, 2021
How WRC legend Ogier will be remembered by his peers Prime

How WRC legend Ogier will be remembered by his peers

After winning his eighth WRC title, Sebastien Ogier has drawn the curtain on his full-time rallying career. To understand Ogier's legacy, many of his former rivals, team-mates and colleagues have shared their thoughts on a vastly successful career

WRC
Nov 26, 2021
Ranking lost WRC legend Richard Burns' 10 best rallies Prime

Ranking lost WRC legend Richard Burns' 10 best rallies

Richard Burns was a determined driver who took on the best rally drivers in the world during a boom period in the early 2000s, and beat them. On the 20th anniversary of his crowning glory in winning the 2001 WRC title, and 16 years on from his death on the same date, we pick out his 10 greatest drives

WRC
Nov 25, 2021
The internal focus that made Burns a legendary world rally champion Prime

The internal focus that made Burns a legendary world rally champion

At the turn of the millennium, WRC was full to the brim with rallying's great and good - and 20 years ago on this day, Richard Burns became England's first world rally champion. Although Burns' natural talent drove him to the top, his steely determination and mental strength was the key attribute behind his title-winning form

WRC
Nov 25, 2021
How Ogier emerged from Loeb's shadow to form his own WRC legend Prime

How Ogier emerged from Loeb's shadow to form his own WRC legend

OPINION: Adding an eighth WRC title to his name, Sebastien Ogier has bowed out from full-time rallying in style. Having been compared throughout his career with nine-time champion Sebastien Loeb, Ogier has convincingly demonstrated that he can stand on his own as one of the greatest rally drivers in history

WRC
Nov 22, 2021