Athens: Finn driver Jari-Matti Latvala won the Acropolis Rally for his first victory in the World Rally Championship (WRC) this year.
The Volkswagen driver crossed the finish line Sunday in 3:31:01 after covering a distance of 300 km from Athens to the seaside resort of Loutraki at the Peloponnese peninsula and back to the Greek capital in one of the most demanding international races in its 59th year.
Spaniard Dani Sordo ranked second for Citroen`s team and Belgian Thierry Neuville was third in a Ford.
French driver Sebastien Ogier, who retains a lead in the World Championship this season for Volkswagen, finished 10th.
Dusty roads with gravel under heat make the three-day Acropolis race, the so-called "Rally of Gods", one of the most difficult for participants.
Spaniard Alexander Villanueva lost control of his Mitsubishi for a moment during a turn in one of the final legs of the rally and got off the road slightly injuring a spectator, who received first aid.
A total of 50 crews, including 13 WRC cars, entered the 59th Acropolis Rally, which was the sixth race on the WRC calendar this year. The stages had been reduced to 14 from 22 in the past years due to the economic crisis, yet the excitement for teams and spectators remained undiminished.
"It feels good to be a winner. I am very happy for me and my team. It`s nice to see the smile on people`s faces," Latvala said.