Greece: 5th 2008 Win for Loeb-Elena and the Pirelli-Equipped Citroen C4 WRC
By winning the Acropolis Rally, Sebastien Loeb (Citroen C4 WRC) has claimed his fifth victory in seven events and regained the lead of the Drivers' championship. The Acropolis Rally, which finished today, has been the toughest event of the FIA World Rally Championship so far, but the Pirelli Scorpion tyres performed well despite road surfaces that were punishing not only for the tyres but for every mechanical component.
Athens, 1 June 2008 - Thanks to a clever strategy and the renowned strength of the Citroen C4 WRC, Loeb and Elena dominated the 55th Acropolis Rally, claiming their fifth win from seven events.
"We drove with the idea of preserving the car and the tyres on an incredibly rough surface," said Loeb. "The Pirelli Scorpion tyres were able to resist stages that were truly a massacre, so the overall conclusion is very positive - particularly considering that these tyres do not have anti-deflation mousse and that they have to adapt themselves to a very wide range of different surfaces.
The strength of our C4 WRC and a strategy that concentrated on looking after our car and tyres did the rest. We've won, and this means that we lead the Drivers' championship."
Along with Loeb and Citroen's well-deserved success another highlight of the rally was a magnificent second place for Petter Solberg and Phil Mills in the Pirelli-equipped Subaru Impreza WRC2008, which was making its debut on the rough Greek roads.
Solberg said: "The result went beyond our wildest expectations for a brand new car like our Subaru, on what is probably the roughest event of the entire year.
The Pirelli tyres backed us up well, and looking at the type of surfaces we had to deal with this year, I would say that the hard compound Scorpion tyres coped more than well with the conditions."
Mario Isola, Pirelli's Rally Manager, praised the exceptional performance of Loeb, Elena and the Citroën C4 WRC. "For a long time these Greek stages have been a tyre's worst enemy," he said.
"This situation has not changed since we went to a single tyre formula. Furthermore, although people adopted different strategies back then, it's important to realise that we picked up fewer punctures this time than we did in the days when drivers were allowed to use anti-deflation mousse."
After an impact against a rock on the opening day and some mechanical problems yesterday, Gigi Galli (Ford Focus WRC-Pirelli) started the event for the third time today under the Super Rally system. He did not finish the rally however after hitting a rock on the final afternoon - which forced him into a definitive retirement.