Kajetan Kajetanowicz has won the Acropolis Rally 2017 in Greece today, becoming the third different winner of the current FIA ERC season. Piloting a Ford Fiesta R5 and co-driven by Jarek Baran, the duo overcame puncture troubles from Saturday to win one of the toughest rallies in the ERC calendar.
Skoda Fabia R5 driver Bruno Magalhães was the rally’s likely winner as he entered Sunday in the lead. But the 33km Elatia/Karya section prevented him from making it to the podium in first place. Magalhães suffered an electrical problem, allowing Kajetanowicz to close the gap between them before claiming the lead eventually.
Meanwhile, Dakar aceman Nasser Al-Attiyah had managed to set the pace on Saturday night but faced power steering problems on Sunday. While he did manage to restart his car, Magalhães found the perfect opportunity to cruise to second unchallenged. Al-Attiyah suffered the final blow after stage 10 when the power steering problem emerged again, he was then forced to retire his Ford Fiesta R5.
Ford Team Turkey driver Murat Bostanci moved to third but he went off the road on the final stage, ultimately getting stuck just 4km to the finish. Greek driver George Philippides was behind Bostanci but he suffered the same fate, third place eventually went to Polish man Grzegorz Grzyb making a double podium for Skoda. Citroen team of Tsouloftas and Giraudet Denis cruised home in fourth while Socratis Tsolakidis rounded off the top five in yet another Skoda Fabia R5.
Elsewhere, Zelindo Melegari won ERC2, his first win and was co-driven by Maurizio Barone in a Mitsubishi Evo IX.
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 Vassilis 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)/Batuhan 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
Photos: Thomas Fenêtre, Gregory Lenormand