x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Loeb crashes out of Acropolis

Sebastien Loeb crashes out of the Acropolis Rally but believes his hopes of a sixth world title are still alive.

Sebastien Loeb leaves the site where he crashed out during the Klenia Mycenae special stage of the WRC Acropolis rally.
Sebastien Loeb leaves the site where he crashed out during the Klenia Mycenae special stage of the WRC Acropolis rally.

World champion Sebastien Loeb has withdrawn from the Acropolis Rally after suffering a crash that "destroyed" his Citroen C4 during today's first stage of the seventh leg of the World Rally Championship. The Frenchman's Citroen C4 left the road eight kilometres from the start of the the 17.25km-Klenia Mycenae stage on a high speed sixth gear section. The Citroen Total team has confirmed that Loeb and his co-driver Daniel Elena, who won the first five rallies of the season, are okay.

Sources on the stage reported the car was a long way from the road and is badly damaged. The C4 sustained a heavy impact on Loeb's side and is missing a wheel. "It was my fault," Loeb admitted. "It happened after I went around a high-speed right-hand corner, I was bit too sideways then the hit a big stone with the left-hand front wheel and that sent the car into the air. "The car rolled over five or six times. "The car is destroyed. There's no chance to return tomorrow - the race is over. We are okay, that's the main thing." Loeb had been third overall before the crash. Finland's Mikko Hirvonen, leading the rally and second in the overall standings behind Loeb, said he was trying to remain focused on the stages ahead.

"That's something new," he said of Loeb's crash. "But there a long way to go yet. I need to keep it together myself." Second-placed Dani Sordo cut the gap to Hirvonen to 1.8sec, but admitted he was not forcing the pace. Sordo has spent three seasons as Loeb's support driver at Citroen but now has a rare chance to push for his first victory on the WRC circuit. "I don't know what we'll do yet," the Spaniard said. "I'm not pushing Mikko too hard, at the moment I'm controlling my pace to look after my tyres."

*AFP