Kajetanowicz Wins Seajets Acropolis Rally


Photo: Gregory Lenormand / DPPI

Kajetan Kajetanowicz won the Seajets Acropolis Rally, round three of the 2017 FIA European Rally Championship after both Bruno Magalhães and Nasser Al-Attiyah hit issues on the final day of the event.

The defending ERC champion went into the last leg of the rally 30 seconds adrift of the lead, but both Magalhães and Al-Attiyah both suffered from mechanical issues to let Kajetanowicz storm to the win.

Overnight leader Al-Attiyah was the first to fall, with his Ford Fiesta R5 taking over two minutes to restart after the former WRC driver stopped on the first stage on Sunday to try and cure a power steering glitch with the car which meant Magalhães now led Kajetanowicz by 12.3 seconds; Al-Attiyah would eventually retire altogether from the event on stage 10 as the steering problem returned.

Magalhães would lead for only two stages after the Portuguese driver was also hit with electrical issues and Kajetanowicz took advantage and led until the end of the event. Despite Magalhães having various other issues including a non-functioning powershift and a overheating problem, he was able to still salvage second overall, over three minutes ahead of Grzegorz Grzyb in third.

Photo Credit: Thomas Fenetre / DPPI

Third place overall changed four times in just the last afternoon; Murat Bostanci was seemingly going to claim the final step on the podium, but the Turkish driver crashed just kilometres away from the finish on the final stage.  Another driver in contention for a podium result was George Philippedes, but in similar fashion to Bostanci, also crashed on the final stage and retired as a result.

This left Grzyb to take third in a Skoda Fabia R5 that was suffering from a vibration and he would finish ahead of Alexandros Tsouloftas in fourth. Socratis Tsolakidis meanwhile took fifth and was the final R5 car to finish the event after, managing to salvage a fine result after losing 10 minutes after changing a wheel on stage eight.

Several drivers including former Lamborghini GT driver Albert von Thurn und Taxis would leave the event empty handed – von Turn und Taxis another driver to crash on the final Elatia/Karya 2 stage while Efthimios Halkias and Antonín Tlusťák would also retire from the rally.

Photo Credit: Gregory Lenormand / DPPI

ERC2 saw Zelindo Melegari keep out of trouble and take the win in his Mitsubishi Evo IX as original leader Tibor Érdi Jr crashed on the road section between stages on Saturday. Érdi Jr did return under Rally 2 rules on Sunday and won all six stages on the day to take second in the class overall however.

Sergey Remennik, who retired on just the second stage of the event would also return under Rally 2 rules but his disastrous weekend would continue as the Russian rolled out of the event on the first stage on Sunday morning.

ERC3 meanwhile went the way of Bugra Banaz who survived an off on stage eight to go on and take the win in his Ford Fiesta R2T ahead of Ümitcan Özdemir and Ismet Toktaş.

Round four of the 2017 FIA European Rally Championship is the Cyprus Rally between June 16-18.