Serial world champion Loeb leads Acropolis Rally

·1-min read

Nine-time champion Sebastien Loeb is enjoying his dip back into the world rally championship as the veteran Frenchman led the Acropolis Rally at the end of Friday's stages.

'Part-timer' Loeb, competing in his fourth and final rally of the season for Ford, holds a more than one-minute advantage over series leader Kalle Rovanpera.

Rovanpera, now 21, became the youngest ever WRC winner in Estonia last year, while Loeb became the oldest ever winner when he won the season-opener in Monte Carlo two months shy of his 48th birthday in January.

Rovanpera paid dearly for his position as the first to take on the dirt roads around Athens, the chasing pack benefitting from greater grip.

And it was Loeb, a two-time runner-up in the Dakar Rally, who emerged at the top of the pile at the end of the day's closing seventh stage.

Loeb, who claimed four of the day's six stages in a throwback to his heyday, leads fellow Frenchman Pierre-Louis Loubet, also behind the wheel of a Ford, by 1.7 seconds.

"It was a dream day even if we had brake issues at the start of the last stage," said Loubet.

Rovanpera is back in ninth spot with time to make up in a rally where mathematically he could tie up the world title.

dlo/nr/jc