18 Jun 2011

Solberg sets early pace in Greece

2:25 pm on 18 June 2011

The Norwegian Citroen driver Petter Solberg got off to a flier in the Rally of Greece, establishing a 51-second lead over world championship leader Sebastien Loeb after the day's six special stages.

Solberg timed an overall one hour 39 minutes and 24.2 seconds with his team-mate Loeb second and Finnish challenger Mikko Hirvonen lying three seconds further back in his Ford Fiesta.

France's Sebastien Ogier was 57.2 seconds off the early pace in his Citroen.

Citroen DS3 driver Loeb had been looking to keep his good form going after wins in Sardinia and Argentina, and is also targeting further Greek good fortune after wins here in 2005 and 2008.

Ford's Hirvonen had the advantage, however, of knowing that his stable have the better recent record here having racked up an impressive seven wins since 2000.

The Seven-time world champion Loeb went into the race 13 points clear in the standings but Hirvonen is breathing down his neck while 2003 world champion Solberg has ground to make up in fifth spot overall.

Solberg set off at a canter in winning the opening four stages before Ogier bagged a stage and Loeb rounded the day's proceedings off with special stage six.