Ciao a tutti,
'It's Bruno again and this is my last column for the Acropolis Rally and for the season in fact, because as we head to New Zealand our Chief Engineer Tomo will take over as your guide!
'It was a weekend - or a week rather - of mixed fortunes I have to say, it feels like we've lived a season's worth of drama in one event! This is one of those rallies we'll all remember for how hard it was from the very beginning.
'After a rocky start to the week (in more ways than one!), this morning we all cleared our minds and started the day with a positive attitude trying to make the most of the remaining stages and use the experience for the rest of the season. Both crews aim for today was to cut a steady path through the stages to make sure they got their MINIs over the finish ramp. Despite the time loss due to Rally 2 penalties, Armindo made his way up on the leaderboard to finish in 11th place overall. For us as a team, there is a private satisfaction with this result. After coming to the Acropolis last year and retiring on Day Two, our main aim was to finish the event successfully this season and to have not one but two MINIs at the end is great.
'It was a rough event, there's no better way to describe it. However we tried to face its challenges as best as possible always learning something from our mistakes and misfortunes. For us we face every problem as a team and find a solution as a team, and more than anything that's been our strength this weekend.
'Tomorrow we head back to Italy to the Motorsport Italia headquarters and we'll have a busy couple of weeks preparing for Rally New Zealand. We'll be working very hard in the workshop to make sure our cars are spot on for the next event which we'll once again head to intent on securing the best result possible.
'That's all from me, despite everything it's been a fantastic Rally Greece.
'I hope you have enjoyed this MINI adventure as much as I have and I would like to thank you for the support the WRC Team MINI Portugal has been receiving here and from all over the world!
'A Presto! Bruno De Pianto
Final Overall Classification – Acropolis Rally
1.S. Loeb (FRA)/ D. Elena (MCO) Citroen 4:42:03.3 2.Hirvonen (FIN)/ J. Lehtinen (FIN) Citroen +40.0 3.J.M Latvala (FIN)/ M. Anttila (FIN) Ford +3:04.8 4.M. Ostberg (NOR)/ J. Andersson (SWE) Ford +6:16.4 5.M. Prokop (CZE)/ Z. Hruza (CZE) Ford +7:46.5 6.T. Neuville (BEL)/ N. Gilsoul (BEL) Citroen +9:41.4 7.S. Ogier (FRA)/ S. Ingrssia (FRA) Skoda +12:59.9 8.Y. Al Rajhi ( / M. Orr (GBR) Ford +20:12.2 9.O. Tanak (EST)/ K. Sikk (EST) Ford +23:18.9 10.A. Alkuwari (QAT)/ N. Arena (ITA) MINI +28:40.5 11.A. Araújo (PRT)/ M. Ramalho (PRT) MINI +30:28.6 ... 17.P.Nobre (BRA)/ E. Paula (BRA) MINI +59:10.2 ... 32.H. Kaltsounis (GRE)/ A. Peridis (GRE) Opel +2:24:04.5
2012 FIA Drivers' Championship Standings
S. Loeb 119/ M. Hirvonen 89/ M. Ostberg 80/ P. Solberg 73/ J.M. Latvala 45/ E. Novikov 43/ M. Prkop 36/ N. Al-Attyiah 23/ S. Ogier 22/ T.Neuville 22...A. Araújo 7...A. Alkuwari 1