The battle for the 2015 FIA European Rally Championship is a close affair after the opening leg of the 2015 SEAJETS Acropolis Rally which has seen torrential weather make driving conditions treacherous.
Local driver Lambros Athanassoulas leads the way after two stages in his Skoda Fabia R5 but championship contenders Kajetan Kajetanowicz and Craig Breen are locked in a close fight for second separated by just 5.1 seconds.
Bad weather resulted in the opening test being almost cut in half as the organisers were forced to shorten the 43.19km stage by over 19 km. LOTOS Rally Team’s Kajetanoiwcz won the stage overcoming muddy and slippery conditions in his Ford Fiesta R5 but admitted that it was a case of survival rather than speed; Breen went second fastest in his Peugeot 208 T16 R5 and also noted the difficulty of the conditions at the end of the stage. ERC2 front runner David Botka was a surprise third in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX while Alexey Lukyanuk went fourth fastest. ERC regular Robert Consani slid off the road in his Citroen DS3 R5.
Athanassoulas was the main surprise of the second and final stage of the day as the Greek driver set fastest time to jump from fifth to lead the event. Kajetanowicz was only fourth fastest admitting he was careful through the test while Breen set the second fastest time and closed the gap to his Polish rival but it wasn’t all good news for the Irishman.
“I had more things to be bothered in the stage. We had to do some mechanical work before the start,” said Breen, refusing to go into detail. Alexey Lukyanuk holds fourth after leg one 32.3 seconds off the leader while Jaromir Tarabus holds fifth.
Seven more stages greet competitors tomorrow for the final leg of the 2015 Acropolis Rally.