Motorsport News


British team needs big result from French legend on Acropolis Rally Greece

- By Graham Lister

Sebastien Loeb has declared himself “ready” to try to save M-Sport’s World championsh­ip season when the Acropolis Rally gets underway in the Greek capital Athens today (Thursday).

The nine-time champion makes his fourth start of the season in a

Ford Puma Rally1 as the British team attempts to halt a poor run of results that culminated in Craig Breen and Adrien Fourmaux crashing heavily on last month’s Ypres Rally.

Loeb, 48, is undertakin­g a limited WRC schedule for M-Sport in 2022 and made history when he took the first win of the Rally1 hybrid era on the Monte Carlo Rally in January with Breen finishing third.

However, M-Sport hasn’t celebrated another WRC podium this year aside from Breen’s runner-up spot in Sardinia in June and team chief Richard Millener is mindful of the need for results to improve.

“We have to put the bad ones behind us, to refocus and to move on,” he told “That’s what we’re going to do. It is tough, everybody in the factory, everybody in the team is working flat out for this season and rallies like that last one test you.”

He continued: “We know what we have to do, we have to be better. We’re not happy with the results, nobody is. One thing we can’t forget is that this car won [the Monte Carlo Rally] – so the car’s definitely not a bad one.”

Speaking following his Greek test, Loeb, who will be co-driven by Isabelle Galmiche, said: “The feeling with the car was correct and quite good. We tried to address a bit of the set-up with suspension, diffs and hybrid, which all seemed to go quite well. I’m happy after the test, the car was working well, everything was OK, and we are ready for the rally.”

Loeb is a three-time Acropolis winner, including in 2012, his last appearance in Greece to date.

“It’s a different event to the one I knew, it looks a lot less rough,” the Frenchman said. “There are a few stages that are still the same, but mostly we will be starting from scratch. I just hope I’ll be able to get into a good rhythm like I had in Kenya and Portugal. Hopefully we will do a bit better, without any mistakes or problems; that’s the goal.”

Breen, meanwhile, won the European championsh­ip-counting Acropolis in 2014. And although he didn’t take part when the gravel event returned to the WRC calendar last season, he did complete the recce alongside Paul Nagle.

“It’s difficult, there are a lot of tough, single-use stages,” said the Irishman. “The test went well, we had a good feeling with the car, and hopefully we can get ourselves back on track again and bring home a good result in Greece.”

Pierre-Louis Loubet, Jourdan Serderidis and Manchester’s Gus Greensmith, who finished fifth on the Acropolis last season, complete M-Sport’s Acropolis line-up.

Thursdays evening’s two-by-two Olympic Stadium superspeci­al is the first of 16 stages on the Lamiabased event’s 188.46-mile competitiv­e route.

 ?? Photos: Motorsport Images, mcklein-imagedatab­ ?? M-Sport needs results with its Puma Rally1
Loeb (left) will return to WRC
Photos: Motorsport Images, mcklein-imagedatab­ M-Sport needs results with its Puma Rally1 Loeb (left) will return to WRC

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