Nasser Al-Attiyah leads the Seajets Acropolis Rally at the end of day one of the third round of the 2017 FIA European Rally Championship as rival Nikolay Gryazin’s car caught fire on the last stage of the day.
Al-Attiyah, who is making his first appearance of the season in the ERC, was trailing Gryakin by 11 seconds with one stage remaining of the day’s action, but would end up leading after Gryakin’s Skoda Fabia burst into flames without warning on the final stage of day one.
Both Gryazin and co-driver Yaroslav Federov escaped unharmed but that was more than could be said for the pair’s car which was all but destroyed in the incident as can be seen below:
Gryazin said on the fire: “We don’t know what happened. We drive on the road section like normal then on a corner the car was sliding at the rear. There was fire from the bottom of the car, maybe the fuel tank. We tried to stop the fire but it was impossible.”
After the drama of Gryazin’s retirement, former WRC man Al-Attiyah leads the event by 8.4 seconds ahead of championship leader Bruno Magalhães, with defending champion Kajetan Kajetanowicz in third with the Pole winning three stages and having two punctures already this weekend.
Fourth in the event is Greek driver Socratis Tsolakidis who has made a fine start to the event, with Murat Bostanci currently in fifth, Grzegorz Grzyb in sixth, George Philippedes seventh, Alexandros Tsouloftas in eighth and Albert von Thurn und Taxis and Efthimios Halkias rounding out the top 10 at the end of day one.
ERC2 sees Zelindo Melegari the only driver to be running without issues, with both Tibor Érdi Jr and Sergey Remennik both hitting issues. Érdi Jr slid off the road in SS5 and subsequently couldn’t continue while Remennik stopped after just the first stage with fuel pressure issues in his Mitsubishi Evo.
Finally in ERC3, Buǧra Banaz leads despite stopping on SS1 to cure an ECU problem in his Ford Fiesta R2T ahead of teammate Ümitcan Özdemir with Ismet Toktaş in third.
The 2017 SEAJETS Acropolis Rally continues this weekend between June 2-4.