The French Sébastien Ogier (Toyota) retired after suffering several incidents on Saturday in the last special of the day of the Greece rally and ceded the lead of the rally, 10th round out of 13 of the WRC championship, to the Finn Kalle Rovanperä, also on Toyota .
Leader of the 70th Acropolis rally after Belgian Thierry Neuville (Hyundai) retired early in the afternoon, who had been dominating the proceedings since Friday morning, the Frenchman finished the 12th special with a broken suspension and lost everything hope of victory.
The misfortunes of some being the happiness of others, Rovanperä, reigning world champion and leader of the provisional classification of the championship, now seems to be heading straight for victory since he has a lead of more than two minutes over the Spaniard. Dani Sordo (Hyundai) and the Briton Elfyn Evans (Toyota), his main competitor in the race for the world title.
During the three specials contested in the morning, Neuville and Ogier had fought a nice duel, the Frenchman taking the lead after the first special won by Rovanperä, before the Belgian responded in the next, taking advantage of an error from Gapençais , which had missed an intersection before stalling.
Leader with ten seconds ahead of Ogier at the start of the tenth special, Neuville made a mistake and broke his front right suspension, which forced him to retire.
The Frenchman then inherited the lead and resisted Rovanperä's attacks as best he could. But at the end of SS12, he broke a suspension and finished the stage with two flat rear tires. Unable to reach the service park, he too had to abandon.
Neuville and Ogier will try to take part in the last special on Sunday, the Power Stage, which brings the winner up to 5 points for the championship.
With only three stages on the program, barely 63 timed kilometers, Rovanperä should be content to manage his comfortable lead on Sunday to secure his third victory of the season.
. Classification of the Greece rally, 10th round of the WRC world championship, after the 12th special on Saturday: 1. Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen (FIN, Toyota) 2’29’’40.52. Daniel Sordo/Candido Carrera (ESP, Hyundai) at 2’04”43. Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (GBR, Toyota) at 2’09”44. Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (EST, M-Sport/Ford) at 4’49”75. Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (FIN, Hyundai) at 6’16”2;...
Special stage winners: Kalle Rovanperä (SS1, SS3, SS7, SS9, SS10, SS11, SS12), Ott Tänak (SS5, SS6), Thierry Neuville (SS2, SS8), Sébastien Ogier (SS4).
Main retirements: Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe (BEL, Hyundai), Sébastien Ogier/Vincent Landais (FRA, Toyota), Pierre-Louis Loubet/Nicolas Gilsoul (FRA-BEL, M-Sport/Ford).