Rovanperä holds Friday morning Acropolis lead, Evans hits trouble | Federation Internationale de l'Automobile
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Rovanperä holds Friday morning Acropolis lead, Evans hits trouble

10.09.21

2021 Acropolis Rally Greece - Friday morning

2021 WRC - Acropolis Rally Greece - K. Rovanperä / J. Halttunen (Photo WRC Promoter)

Kalle Rovanperä steered to the top of the Acropolis Rally Greece leaderboard after an incident-filled Friday morning on rugged gravel roads near Athens.

Fourth in the opening 17.54km Aghii Theodori left the 20-year-old Finn in fourth overall in his Toyota Yaris World Rally Car. He soared to the top of the order with fastest time in the following 19.40km Loutraki to lead Ott Tänak by 3.0sec.

After Thursday evening’s spectacular street stage through the centre of the capital, the action switched to rocky tracks in the Peloponnese peninsula, close to the Corinth Canal.

Like all the frontrunners, Rovanperä opted for Pirelli’s hard compound Scorpion tyres for stages that were dry and hard. After a cautious approach to Aghii Theodori he attacked more in the next test.

Tänak was fastest in Aghii Theodori to demote overnight leader Sébastien Ogier. Third in Loutraki kept the Estonian on the heels of Rovanperä despite a far from easy drive in his Hyundai i20 World Rally Car.

Road opener Ogier was third, the Frenchman coping admirably with his sweeping duties to lie 1.3sec adrift of Tänak in third.

Hyundai duo Dani Sordo and Thierry Neuville were fourth and fifth. Spaniard Sordo incurred a 10sec penalty for a jump start in Loutraki while Neuville was unhappy with his i20’s handling.

Worse befell Elfyn Evans. The Welshman was third after the opener but transmission troubles struck his Yaris en route to Loutraki. He worked on the car before the test but incurred a 40sec penalty for starting late. The car appeared to be jammed in gear throughout the stage and he conceded more than a minute to plunge to 13th.

M-Sport Ford’s Adrien Fourmaux completed the top six in a Fiesta. The Frenchman was almost half a minute off the leading pace and a handful of seconds ahead of team-mate Gus Greensmith, who struggled with his car’s balance with two spare wheels on board.

Pierre-Louis Loubet was eighth in his i20, despite also incurring a jump start penalty, with WRC2 leader Oliver Solberg and Andreas Mikkelsen completing the leaderboard.