Thierry Neuville has retired from the lead of Acropolis Rally Greece with suspension damage.
The Hyundai driver had a heavy impact with a hole in the road on the Pavliani test, the first of Saturday afternoon, and that broke his steering as well as the front-right suspension and wheel. He then had a half-spin, got his i20 N Rally1 going again but soon stopped to inspect the damage.
As soon as that happened, the focus moved to Toyota’s Sébastien Ogier and Kalle Rovanperä. They had gone into the stage 10.9 and 23.7 seconds behind Neuville respectively, and were now fighting for the lead.
Rovanperä was the quicker of the two, by just 0.2s, and it means Ogier now holds a lead of 12.6s over his team-mate.
Elfyn Evans made it a Toyota 1-2-3 on the stage, and is now 1.6s behind Hyundai’s Dani Sordo in what has become the battle for third following Neuville’s drama.
It is also closing up between Esapekka Lappi and Ott Tänak for sixth, with 29.7s between the pair.
Eighth overall and now in the WRC2 lead is Gus Greensmith, who benefited from former leader Yohan Rossel suffering from a tire off the rim while Sami Pajari went no further than the second split and Kajetan Kajetanowicz lost half a minute by stopping mid-stage.