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4 JUNE 2017

KAJETANOWICZ IS THE ERC SEAJETS ACROPOLIS RALLY GOD

FIA European Rally Championship 2017: Round 3 of 8
SEAJETS Acropolis Rally: leg two report, 4 June

*Three ERC rallies, three ERC winners as defending champion takes thrilling victory
*Magalhães extends European title advantage following determined drive
*Third place changes four times on dramatic final afternoon
*Melegari and Banaz claim ERC2 and ERC3 respectively

Kajetan Kajetanowicz made it three different winners from the first three rounds of the FIA European Rally Championship with a dramatic victory on an action-packed SEAJETS Acropolis Rally, which lived up to its reputation as one of the toughest events on the international calendar.

The back-to-back ERC champion, co-driven by fellow Pole Jarek Baran, was almost half a minute off the lead at the overnight halt in Lamia having lost time with two punctures on Saturday, but grabbed first place when Bruno Magalhães – struggling with an electrical issue – was powerless to prevent the LOTOS Rally Team driver from getting ahead on Sunday’s third stage, the gruelling 33.86-kilometre Elatia/Karya test.

Magalhães, in his SEAJETS-backed ŠKODA Fabia R5 had moved to the head of the order when overnight pacesetter Nasser Al-Attiyah hit trouble on the morning’s opening stage, unable to restart his Ford Fiesta R5’s engine for some two minutes when he stopped to reset a powersteering glitch. While Magalhães battled to the finish in second hampered by non-functioning flat-shift, windscreen wipers, start control and an overheating issue, Al-Attiyah was forced out following stage 10 when the steering issue returned.

The Qatari’s exit promoted Murat Bostanci to third but the Castrol Ford Team Turkey driver’s hopes of a maiden ERC podium ended when he went off four kilometres from the finish of the final stage and got stuck. With Greek driver George Philippedes also going off the road on the last run, Polish champion Grzegorz Grzyb overcame a vibration in his Fabia to take his first ERC points of the season and the second ERC podium of his career as Cypriot driver Alexandros Tsouloftas warmed up for his home round of the ERC later this month in fourth in what is only his first full season of rallying. Socratis Tsolakidis fought back from losing more than 10 minutes – and third place – changing a broken wheel after he struck a submerged rock in a watersplash on stage eight to finish one place behind as the top Greek driver.

Albert von Thurn und Taxis was on course for his first ERC points in seventh when he rolled one kilometre from the finish of the final stage. There was also frustration for Efthimios Halkias, who was running first on the road on the final day but crashed out on stage nine. ERC stalwart Antonín Tlusťák retired with a fuel tank issue after stage two on Saturday but a replacement is being driven from Czech Republic – a journey of 21 hours – to enable the ERC stalwart to take up his planned entry on the upcoming Cyprus Rally.

For Kajetanowicz, victory banished the memories of the opening-stage roll he suffered in Greece last season and puts him ahead of the injured Alexey Lukyanuk and into second place in the ERC standings behind leader Magalhães. A number of drivers carried #getwellsoonLUCAS stickers on their cars in support of Lukyanuk – who continues to recover from injuries sustained in a testing crash in Russia last month – while remembering all those affected by the incident.

“It’s an amazing feeling and thanks to everyone who believed in us,” said the Pirelli-equipped Kajetanowicz, who trails Magalhães by 21 points. “It was one of the most difficult rallies of my life, so demanding for our car, body and mind but beautiful at the same time. It’s crazy and it’s amazing.”

ERC2: Melegari maintains overnight advantage
Zelindo Melegari used all his experience to keep out of trouble and keep going to win ERC2 for the first time in a fine sixth overall. Co-driven by fellow Italian Maurizio Barone, MOVISPORT driver Melegari moved in front when Tibor Érdi Jr crashed out on the road section heading to Saturday’s fifth stage and steered clear of the drama to win in his hired Krikos Racing Mitsubishi. Érdi Jr was fastest in class on all six stages on his return under Rally 2 rules on Sunday to take second place. However, there was more frustration for Sergey Remennik. After retiring at the start of stage two with a fuel pressure issue, the Russian restarted on day two but rolled into retirement on Sunday’s opening stage.

ERC3: Banaz hits back to head Turkish team-mate
Buǧra Banaz survived a stage eight off to claim his maiden ERC3 victory with a controlled drive alongside navigator Burak Erdener. Keeping busy during the ERC Junior Under 27 Championship’s summer break, Banaz stopped on SS1 to rectify an ECU fault on his Ford Fiesta R2T before fighting back and passing fellow Castrol Ford Team Turkey driver Ümitcan Özdemir on SS5. Özdemir battled gearbox issues to finish second with Ismet Toktaş third in class on his European championship debut.

Gryazin plans the ultimate ERC comeback in Cyprus
Nikolay Gryazin plans to bounce back from his fiery SEAJETS Acropolis Rally exit by contesting the next round of the FIA European Rally Championship in Cyprus. The Cyprus Rally takes place from 16-18 June, and while Gryazin’s ŠKODA Fabia R5 was destroyed when it was engulfed by flames while he was leading in Greece yesterday afternoon, plans are underway to transport a replacement Fabia from Italy to Cyprus in time for the fourth round of the ERC. “There are some questions and logistical problems but I think we will drive in Cyprus but without test, only race,” the 19-year-old Sports Racing Technologies driver explained. “We have a car in Italy we can use, we will be prepared and we will come back strong. But the car is not ours so things will be different, like the seating position and that make it difficult.” Gryazin won the opening stage in Greece and was preparing for a big push on Saturday’s final stage when disaster stuck. “We had new tyres to try to win the final stage so I was confident,” said Gryazin, who was presented with the Colin McRae ERC Flat Out Trophy for his efforts. “We’re still not perfect but we made some good progress. It’s been a difficult rally but I am happy with my performance.”

PROVISIONAL TOP 10 POSITIONS (after 12 stages, 229.74 kilometres)
1 Kajetan Kajetanowicz (POL)/Jarek Baran (POL) Ford Fiesta R5 2m49.40.6s
2 Bruno Magalhães (PRT)/Hugo Magalhães (PRT) ŠKODA Fabia R5 +2m58.7s
3 Grzegorz Grzyb (POL)/Jakub Wróbel (POL) ŠKODA Fabia R5 +6m05.3s
4 Alexandros Tsouloftas (CYP)/Denis Giraudet (FRA) Citroën DS3 R5 +8m48.3s
5 Socratis Tsolakidis (GRC)/Haris Dimos (GRC) ŠKODA Fabia R5 +16m49.2s
6 Zelindo Melegari (ITA)/Maurizio Barone (ITA) Mitsubishi Lancer E9 +2m05.6s
7 Vassillis Drymoussis (GRC)/Panaylotis (GRC) Subaru Impreza STI +25m43.5s
8 Buǧra Banaz (TUR)/Burak Erdener (TUR) Ford Fiesta R2T +26m06.0s
9 Ümitcan Özdemir (TUR)/Butuhan Memişyazici (TUR) Ford Fiesta R2T +27m45.4s
10 Tibor Érdi Jr (HUN)/György Papp (HUN) Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X +30m11.2s

FIA ERC2: Zelindo Melegari (ITA)/Maurizio Barone (ITA) Mitsubishi Lancer E9
FIA ERC3: Buǧra Banaz (TUR)/Burak Erdener (TUR) Ford Fiesta R2T
Colin McRae ERC Flat Out Trophy: Nikolay Gryazin (RUS)

RALLY LEADERS
SS1-SS5:
Nikolay Gryazin
SS6: Nasser Al-Attiyah
SS7-SS8: Bruno Magalhães
SS9-SS12: Kajetan Kajetanowicz

STAGE WINNERS
Day one (Saturday 3 June, 103.06 kilometres):
SS1:
SEJAETS Gravia 1 (24.81kms):

ERC1

ERC2

ERC3

Nikolay Gryazin

Tibor Érdi Jr

Ümitcan Özdemir

SS2: Amfissa 1 (14.29kms):

Kajetan Kajetanowicz

Tibor Érdi Jr

Buǧra Banaz

SS3: EKO RACING Paleohori 1 (12.43kms):

Kajetan Kajetanowicz

Tibor Érdi Jr

Buǧra Banaz

SS4: SEJAETS Gravia 2 (24.81kms):

Nasser Al-Attiyah

Tibor Érdi Jr

Buǧra Banaz

SS5: Amfissa 2 (14.29kms):

Bruno Magalhães

Zelindo Melegari

Buǧra Banaz

SS6: EKO RACING Paleohori 1 (12.43kms):

Kajetan Kajetanowicz

Zelindo Melegari

Buǧra Banaz

Day two (Sunday 4 June, 126.68 kilometres):

SS7: EKO RACING Eleftherohori 1 (17.87kms):

Kajetan Kajetanowicz

Tibor Érdi Jr

Buǧra Banaz

SS8: SEAJETS Rengini 1 (11.61kms):

Nasser Al-Attiyah

Tibor Érdi Jr

Ümitcan Özdemir

SS9: Elatia/Karya 1 (33.86kms):

Nasser Al-Attyiah

Tibor Érdi Jr

Buǧra Banaz

SS10: EKO RACING Eleftherohori 2 (17.87kms):

Kajetan Kajetanowicz

Tibor Érdi Jr

Buǧra Banaz

SS11: SEAJETS Rengini 2 (11.61kms):

Kajetan Kajetanowicz

Tibor Érdi Jr

Buǧra Banaz

SS12: Elatia/Karya 2 (33.86kms):

Kajetan Kajetanowicz

Tibor Érdi Jr

Buǧra Banaz


KEY STATISTICS
ERC wins in 2017:
Kajetanowicz, Lukyanuk and Magalhães 1
ERC stage wins in 2017: Kajetanowicz 7; Lukyanuk 10; Magalhães 4; Al-Attiyah 3; Gryazin 2; Griebel and Moura 1

RESULTS AND STANDINGS
Go to FIAERC.com for stage times, provisional results and championship standings following round three of eight.

WATCH THE ERC ON EUROSPORT AND EUROSPORT PLAYER

WHAT’S NEXT?
CYPRUS RALLY, 16-18 June 2017:
With its origins dating back to 1970, the Cyprus Rally returned to the ERC roster in 2014 for the first time since 1999 when Nicosia hosted the thrilling action. To mark the occasion, the Cypriot capital was transformed into an exciting street stage, which included a section through the United Nations-controlled buffer zone between the historic city’s Greek Cypriot and Turkish inhabited areas. The ERC’s only truly mixed-surface event also counts for FIA Middle East points and had the honour of closing the 2016 ERC season when crews once again battled the challenging stages and punishing ambient and ground temperatures. Media contact: Petros Soutzis, psoutzis@cytanet.com.cy, +357 99643743

ENDS

Photos

ERC Kajetan Kajetanowicz.jpg
ERC Kajetan Kajetanowicz

ERC Kajetan Kajetanowicz celebration.jpg
ERC Kajetan Kajetanowicz celebration

ERC Bruno Magalhaes.jpg
ERC Bruno Magalhaes

ERC Grzegorz Grzyb.jpg
ERC Grzegorz Grzyb

ERC Zelindo Melegari.jpg
ERC Zelindo Melegari

ERC Bugra Banaz.jpg
ERC Bugra Banaz

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Press contacts

​Press enquiries: 
Richard Rodgers
media@fiaerc.com
+44 7833470541
TV enquiries: 
Pascal Petit:
pascal_petit@discovery.com
Elise Lelias
elise_lelias@discovery.com
Vianney Castillo
vianney_castillo@discovery.com