The Stobart VK M-Sport Ford team have all three crews in the top-ten after the opening section of the Acropolis Rally of Greece, this evening, at the Olympic Equestrian Centre in Markopoulo. Henning Solberg/Cato Menkerud were the Stobart squads quickest pair; flying home in sixth to a capacity crowd of 12,000 eager Greek rally fans.
Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila were next up, finishing eighth on the 3.2 kilometre Hippodrome super special, while team-mates Matthew Wilson/Michael Orr lurk in close proximity as they picked up tenth spot; taking 1.5 seconds off Frenchman Francois Duval on the way.
It was a solid shakedown this morning for all three Stobart Ford Focus RS world rally cars with Solberg setting the second quickest time, while team-mate Latvala was close behind as the third quickest competitor over the 2.51 kilometre test stage. Wilson also showed good form during shakedown after a positive reconnaissance over the previous two days.
Tomorrows action gets underway north-west of Athens when crews begin the morning loop of stages tackling the 11.57 kilometre Schimatari 1 test. The 106 kilometre-long leg 1 stages begin on the South Evoikos Gulf Coast and wind their way west finishing in the altitude of Mount Pateras.
Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Team Driver Jari-Matti Latvala said:
I had no big mistakes on the stage but I think I could have gone a bit faster. I really enjoyed it, the grip level was good, and for a change there were no big concrete barriers to damage the car. We did have a couple of heavy landings but generally it all went fine. The first stage tomorrow was muddy on the recce; it is obviously dry now but we just need to learn what the grip level will be like.
Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Team Driver Henning Solberg said:
The stage went fine, we backed off on the few muddy corners and pushed harder on the faster sections. I thought it was a good super special and there were lots of people and lots of sunshine. I have a good feeling with the car and am looking forward to the main stages tomorrow. I think this rally will suit me. My driving has come a long way on gravel from the start of the year so I am happy.
Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Team Driver Matthew Wilson said:
The car was amazing in that stage. It would do anything that I wanted it to do in there and it felt really positive. There was quite a bit of room in the stage to push and get the speed up and we both really enjoyed this opening test tonight. It was quite exciting to perform in front of that crowd and Im looking forward to the stages tomorrow; both my notes and the car feel good.