Matthew Wilson ended stage one of the Acropolis Rally frustrated at a gearshift problem that cost him a chance to challenge for the lead of the event.
The Stobart Ford driver completed the 23.6-kilometer Thiva stage in a promising fourth place overall, just 6.2sec behind early leader Petter Solberg as the likes of Sebastien Loeb and Mikko Hirvonen struggled with running higher up the road order in the dusty conditions. But Wilson said he had been compromised by an issue with the flat-shift gear-change system, which was cutting the engine for too long on every shift.
"Every time I go from second to third to fourth to fifth to sixth, I'm getting a dead patch where there's nothing [from the engine]," Wilson said. "It feels like ages but it's probably less than a second. But it's also really distracting. Also we didn't push as much as we could've done."
The Briton is now concerned about how much time he will lose with the issue on the 39.1km Elatia stage that completes this morning's initial loop.
"It's a shame because I'll now have the problem all the way through the long stage," said Wilson. "We can fix it at the remote service, we can plug in the laptop, but there's nothing we can do about it now. It's just extremely frustrating."