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2-4 June

SEAJETS Acropolis Rally

FIA EUROPEAN RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND 3 OF 8

THE RALLY IN 100 WORDS
Greece made a successful return to the ERC in 2014 following a lengthy spell away when the seaside town of Loutraki on the banks of the Gulf of Corinth hosted the 60th running of the legendary event. Having last appeared on the ERC schedule in 1968, Greece’s comeback featured one day on fast asphalt roads and the second leg on more traditional rough gravel tracks. Now run in partnership with the OMAE Greek motorsport federation on gravel only, the 2016 event marked a return to Lamia after a break of 10 years, which meant the re-introduction of classic gravel stages.

WHAT HAPPENED IN 2016?
Young Latvian Ralfs Sirmacis secured an incredible win on the legendary SEAJETS Acropolis Rally on his first start at the top level of the FIA European Rally Championship. The 21-year-old was competing in his first rally in an R5-specification car after stepping up from the ERC Junior Championship, where he was runner-up in 2015. He won the first stage in his Sports Racing Technologies-run, ŠKODA Baltic Motorsport-backed Fabia R5 on MICHELIN tyres and led at the end of every test, headed only overnight when Alexey Lukyanuk had a penalty for a jump start rescinded on Saturday evening. Two seconds separated Lukyanuk and Sirmacis at the start of day two and a puncture for the Russian on SS7 handed the advantage back to the newcomer. Worse was to come for Lukyanuk, who lost 17 minutes on the mammoth 33.86-kilometre SS9 fixing a broken suspension arm on his Ford Fiesta R5. Sirmacis kept his cool to stretch his margin to 2m10.3s and clinch a special victory for himself and co-driver Arturs Šimins, who was also celebrating his 26th birthday. Greek hero Lambros Athanassoulas turned a 19.5s deficit to Jaromír Tarabus into a 35-second advantage and inherited second when Lukyanuk hit trouble. However, he got caught behind a slower car on the very last stage and was in tears at the finish, fearing his dream result had slipped away. In the end, he held on to second over Tarabus by just one tenth of a second in an incredible climax. Athanassoulas therefore went one better than he managed on the 2015 event, as did Tarabus, who scored his first ERC podium since 2013. Athanassoulas was later given back 32s after being unfairly obstructed. Raul Jeets, team-mate to Sirmacis at SRT, scored his best ever ERC finish in fourth after a consistent rally and completed a lock-out of the top four places for the ŠKODA Fabia R5 on an event that lived up to its reputation as a car breaker. Jarosław Kołtun was sixth with Tomasz Kasperczyk seventh and Kajetan Kajetanowicz eighth. The defending ERC champion lost 15 minutes when he rolled on the very first stage of the rally, but won eight stages. He eventually outscored rival Lukyanuk by three points, with the Russian ending up 20 minutes in arrears after a further turbo problem on the penultimate stage, but 10th overall. Wojciech Chuchała won ERC2 ahead of Jose Luis Jacquet Rios and Tibor Érdi Jr. Murat Bostanci’s path to the ERC3 victory was eased when Łukasz Pieniążek dropped out with a broken gearbox on the last of Saturday’s stages.

EVENT ESSENTIALS (all timings local and subject to change)
Starts:
18h30, Friday 2 June, Service Park, National Trade Fair, Lamia
Finishes: 16h04, Sunday 4 June, Service Park, National Trade Fair, Lamia
Headquarters: Service Park, National Trade Fair, Lamia
Service park: National Trade Fair, Lamia
ERC appearances (since 2004 restructuring): 3 (2014-2016)
Stages: 12
Stage distance: 229.74 kilometres (103.86 kilometres leg one, 126.68 kilometres leg two)
Liaison: 456.63 kilometres
Total: 686.37 kilometres
Surface: Mainly gravel with some asphalt on SS8/11, SS9/12

MEDIA INFORMATION (all timings local and subject to change)
Media Accreditation Office location:
Ground Floor, Building A, National Trade Fair, Lamia
Opening times: 10h00-20h00, Wednesday 31 May; 10h00-19h00, Thursday 1 June; 09h30-21h00, Friday 2 June; 08h30-19h30, Saturday 3 June
Media Centre location: Ground Floor, Building A, National Trade Fair, Lamia
Opening times: 10h00-20h00, Wednesday 31 May; 10h00-19h00, Thursday 1 June; 08h15-21h00, Friday 2 June; 08h15-23h00, Saturday 3 June; 07h30-23h00, Saturday 4 June

MEDIA EVENTS (all timings local and subject to change)
THURSDAY 1 JUNE
Pre-event briefing (all photographers must attend)
: TBA
FRIDAY 2 JUNE
Free Practice (for priority drivers):
08h30-10h30, Lamia, close to Service Park (3.70 kilometres)
Qualifying Stage (for priority drivers): 11h23, Lamia, close to Service Park (3.70 kilometres)
Shakedown (for all drivers): 12h30-14h30, Lamia, close to Service Park (3.70 kilometres)
Start order selection: 14h00, Service Park
Autograph session: 14h30, Service Park
Pre-rally press conference: 15h10, Media Centre
Ceremonial start: 18h30, Service Park
SATURDAY 3 JUNE
End of leg one press conference:
During end-of-day service, Service Park
SUNDAY 4 JUNE
Post-rally press conference:
17h00, Media Centre

Television coverage: Daily highlights, rally review and Inside ERC magazine show on Eurosport and Eurosport Player, plus additional coverage on a number of other networks
ERC Radio: Live throughout the event at FIAERC.com or through the ERC app. Extensive coverage on /97.1 STAR FM
Results, standings, live timing and text commentary: www.fiaerc.com
Rights-free images: Register at http://media.fiaerc.com
Event media contact: Helen Xenakis, hxenakis@acropolisrally.gr, +30 6974362362

PREVIOUS WINNERS
2016:
Ralfs Sirmacis/Arturs Šimins (ŠKODA Fabia R5)
2015: Kajetan Kajetanowicz/Jarek Baran (Ford Fiesta R5)
2014: Craig Breen/Scott Martin (Peugeot 208 T16)
2013: Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (Volkswagen Polo R WRC)*
2012: Sébastien Loeb/Daniel Elena (Citroën DS3 WRC)*
*World championship event