This Acropolis Rally 2022 it reminds us of how sweeps can rescan cards. Three drivers were able to use their positions on the road to perfection. Therefore, we have the right to a good fight between the French pilots referred to by Finn Esapekka Lappi. In WRC-2, Mikkelen attacked too hard to try to make a magical comeback.
WRC: Loeb is happy, Loubet is surprised!
First special of the day and that’s it Sebastien Loeb who held off the Greek dust to set the best time ahead of Loubet and Tänak. To avoid penalizing the pilots, the gaps between each start are increased by one minute. But that doesn’t change anything for Loeb who has the best time in SS3 and SS4 (tied by Lappi)! At midday the nine-time WRC champion leads by 6s4 over Neuville and 8s over Loubet. Craig Breen (Ford Puma) was the only driver in the premier class who suffered a puncture and lost any chance of a podium finish.
In SS5, Pierre Louis Loubet (Ford Puma Rally1) made his WRC debut and also took the opportunity to take the lead in the rally by leading by 1s9 over Loeb. Esapekka Lappi (Toyota Yaris Rally1) moved up to third place just ahead of Neuville (Hyundai i20 N Rally1). In the following special, Loubet drives the point home by setting a new start time with a lead of 3s6 over Lappi and 6s4 over Loeb! The young Corsican driver finds himself leading by 7s8 ahead of Lappi and 8s3 over the “God” of the rally before the final special event of the day.
The 7th is the longest of the day with 22.97 km remaining. Sébastien Loeb takes advantage of this long special (SS7-Bauxites) to make his “special” and put a big blow on the competition! He set the fastest time with a lead of 4s over Dani Sordo (Hyundai i20 N Rally1) and 5s9 over Ott Tänak (Hyundai i20 N Rally1). Loubet finished ninth, 10 seconds behind Loeb and lost the rally lead by 1s7!
At the end of this Friday, Sébastien Loeb finds himself in the lead of the Acropolis Rally ahead of another Frenchman, Pierre-Louis Loubet.. Two Ford Pumas leading the way, it’s a whole new situation! Esapekka Lappi completes the microphone with 8s7. Neuville holds fourth place, 16 seconds ahead of team-mates Dani Sordo (+22s2) and Ott Tänak (+31s1). Gus Greensmith took 7th from Elfyn Evans for ten sixes. Kalle Rovanperä, first on the road, is eighth over a minute from the race leader! The top 10 is completed by the cautious Takamoto Katsuta (Toyota Yaris Rally1).
Mikkelsen jumps to the top of the debates, a solid leader of Lindholm in WRC-2.
After his big mistake last night, Andreas Mikkelsen (Skoda Fabia R5 Evo) tries everything! The first three times, the third double and the second time, and here is Mikkelsen who has already won 9 places in WRC-2. 33rd last night, he is now 24th 9mins47 behind the leader, Emil Lindholm (Skoda Fabia R5 Evo). The Finn is ahead of his second winner of the evening, Nikolay Gryazin (Skoda Fabia R5 Evo), who is already in the 30s5. Teemu Suninen (Hyundai i20 N Rally2) is third, 5s6 behind the Russian. The Frenchman, Yohan Rossel (Citroën C3 Rally2) is playing by placing and aiming for big points while remaining cautious. Here he is fourth, 20 seconds from the podium.
In WRC-3 Junior, the Acropolis Rally is the last round of the season and counts twice! Championship leader Sami Pajari may have lost everything in SS3. It is enough to relaunch the fight between Jon Armstrong (second in the championship) and Robert Virves (third by one point). The Estonian finished the day ahead of his title rival. In this configuration, it is Virves who will be crowned Junior WRC champion this season.
Tomorrow, the day promises to be more sophisticated with two loops of three specials. However, the fight for victory should be very exciting to follow!
The article was published on 09/09/2022.