Sebastien Ogier won a final-day battle with Citroen team-mate Sebastien Loeb to take an Acropolis Rally victory which underlined that he is still a threat for this year's title.
The younger of Citroen's two Frenchmen had made a low-key start to the event, running in the lower part of the top five as independent Citroen driver Petter Solberg stormed into a huge lead on Friday. But when Solberg struggled with running first on the road on Saturday, it was Ogier who hunted down and caught the 2003 champion fastest, gaining nearly a minute on Solberg in just three stages.
Ogier took the lead on Saturday afternoon, before backing off to hand it to Loeb so that the champion had to run first on the road today.
At first it looked like this strategy might have been misguided, as Loeb managed to match Ogier's pace on this morning's opening loop. But over the final three stages Loeb found his road position more costly, and Ogier was able to pull away and clinch the win by 10 seconds.
"It was a very good rally for me," said Ogier. "A difficult start on Friday but finally I managed to find a good rhythm, especially yesterday when we pushed very hard. It's perfect to get this."
Loeb's second place was his 100th podium in the World Rally Championship. He felt Ogier's triumph had been achieved more through road position than outright speed.
"It's been a great battle. But for sure we were not in the same conditions," said Loeb. "It's frustrating not to win because I think we were the fastest in the rally, but we cleaned the road on two days and we were second on the road one day, so there was always a disadvantage."
Solberg faded to fourth in the end, as Mikko Hirvonen came through to third for Ford, closing to within 3s of Loeb by the finish. Hirvonen's teammate Jari-Matti Latvala was second behind Solberg until transmission and then turbo problems on Friday and Saturday cost him a massive 13 minutes. Seven stage wins as he recovered to ninth proved what Latvala might have achieved.
The Stobart Fords of Henning Solberg and Matthew Wilson completed the top six. Their team-mates Evgeny Novikov and Mads Ostberg had to spend most of the weekend running under superally after breaking suspension in Friday incidents. Kimi Raikkonen (Ice 1 Citroen) had a fairly serene run to seventh on his return to the series.
Juho Hanninen now leads both the Intercontinental Rally Challenge and the S2000 World Rally Championship standings, after taking his first win in the latter in Greece. The Skoda driver was trailing Ott Tanak until the Estonian crashed on Saturday morning, leaving Hanninen to dominate the class and finish eighth overall.