Magalhaes joins Rally greats with Acropolis ERC glory

Magalhaes joins Rally greats with Acropolis ERC glory

03.06.2018: FIA European Rally Championship 2018: Round 3 of 8 EKO Acropolis Rally: Leg three Sunday, June 3rd 2018 *Portuguese dedicates first victory of 2018 to sponsor

FIA European Rally Championship 2018: Round 3 of 8
EKO Acropolis Rally: Leg three
Sunday, June 3rd  2018




*Portuguese dedicates first victory of 2018 to sponsor SEAJETS

*Maiden ERC podiums for Norbert Herczig and Hubert Ptaszek

*Érdi Jr wins ERC2, Ghosh first in ERC3 on championship debut

*Lukyanuk is Greece lightening to land bonus points on final-day restart




SEAJETS-powered Bruno Magalhães joined an illustrious list of winners with victory on one of the toughest events of them all, the EKO Acropolis Rally, alongside co-driver and namesake Hugo Magalhães.



In doing so, the Portuguese reignited his faltering FIA European Rally Championship title bid as Russian rival and ERC leader Alexey Lukyanuk made do with bonus points only following his exit on Saturday.



MOL Racing Team’s Norbert Herczig finished a career-high second with 24-year-old Pole Hubert Ptaszek completing an all-ŠKODA Fabia R5 podium as Hungary's Tibor Érdi Jr and Amittrajit Ghosh from India claimed the ERC2 and ERC3 spoils respectively.



Magalhães was more than a minute in front starting Sunday’s closing four stages. But a cautious drive avoiding the punctures which had afflicted many of his rivals earlier in the event, meant his final margin of victory was trimmed to 29.1s at the finish in Lamia.



“Sometimes in our lives, dreams come true," said last year’s ERC runner-up, whose name will appear on the list of Acropolis winners alongside legends such as Sébastien Loeb, Colin McRae, Walter Röhrl and Carlos Sainz.




"To win a rally like Acropolis, my name in the album of winners, is absolutely great. Thanks to my sponsors, they believe in me for many years. It’s a big pleasure to win in the country of SEAJETS, and I want to dedicate this to them. Thank you to my team.”



Behind, Herczig and TRT Krezus Rally Team’s Ptaszek secured their first ERC podiums in second and third respectively, with four-time Hungarian champion Herczig taking time out of Magalhães in three stages from four. “It was unbelievable for us. I can’t find the words. Before the rally I didn’t think we would be able to reach this position,” said Herczig.



Eyvind Brynildsen brought his Autotek Motorsport-prepared Ford Fiesta R5 home in fourth, unable to catch Ptaszek despite pushing as hard as he could throughout Sunday’s four stages. Cypriot frontrunner Simos Galatariotis finished an excellent fifth, and already has his sights set on a repeat at ERC’s next round, which is also his home event, the Cyprus Rally.



Grzegorz Grzyb claimed sixth in his Rufa Sport ŠKODA Fabia R5, ahead of fellow Fabia runner Jourdan Serderidis, the top Greek finisher, in seventh and Turkey's Orhan Avcioğlu in eighth.



Brazilian Paulo Nobre was elated to score his first ever ERC points in ninth with Érdi Jr completing the top 10. Alexey Lukyanuk returned from retirement on Saturday to score maximum leg points on Sunday, over a minute faster than nearest rival Juuso Nordgren across today’s four stages.





How leg three unfolded: Lukyanuk and Nordgren fast as Magalhães wraps up win

 

While Bruno Magalhães wrapped up his EKO Acropolis Rally victory ahead of Norbert Herczig and Hubert Ptaszek, two drivers that had retired on Saturday morning came back to win all four stages on Sunday.



Championship leader Alexey Lukyanuk won three stages out of four in his Russian Performance Motorsport Ford Fiesta R5 to take crucial maximum leg points for his ERC title bid. His only mistake all day came when he clipped a tree and bent his car’s left rear wheel hub in SS9 due to a fading brake issue.



Wevers Sport driver Juuso Nordgren was making his ERC debut this weekend, and though too many punctures on Saturday ruled out a potential podium finish, he did take his first ERC stage victory in SS9, Sunday’s opening run.



Magalhães was at the opposite end of the scale through SS9, dropping over 20s to his podium rivals as he struggled to find a rhythm. His pace picked up somewhat thereafter, doing enough to clinch victory.



On his way to fourth place behind Magalhães, Herczig and Ptaszek, who were all driving conservatively to retain their podium positions, Eyvind Brynildsen pushed on to recover time. While he couldn’t climb higher than fourth place overall, third on the final leg earned him precious bonus points.



SS10 caught out a handful of drivers, including a brief scare for Herczig when his engine stalled. Both Jourdan Serderidis and Grzegorz Grzyb made minor mistakes, the former overshooting a hairpin and running wide, and Rufa Sport driver Grzyb dropping 30 seconds with a spin.



The ERC’s main R5 contingent had a much calmer loop to finish the EKO Acropolis Rally than most stages prior, to the relief of crews still running. A quick stall for Paulo Nobre and a tyre change for the perennially unlucky Łukasz Habaj, who retired his eSky Rally Team Fiesta twice in as many days, were the only dramas in SS11.



Despite a challenging four days, Habaj was able to take positives from his arduous weekend, suggesting it had made him a better driver and better person. “I get used to the problems, so it doesn’t bother me anymore! I was trying to enjoy the rest of this stage. We were ‘practising’ the wheel change on the stage. I think I’m a much tougher person after this rally.”



As the rally wrapped up in SS12, only Brynildsen had reason to worry, a differential problem forcing him to run in front-wheel-drive only mode. It cost him little time though, securing his fourth place without fuss.



Nobre found himself usurped for eighth place in the rally’s final 18.53 kilometres by Toksport WRT’s Orhan Avcioğlu, but was hardly disappointed to finish ninth, elated with his first ERC points.

 

 

- Richard Rodgers, photos FIA ERC

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/magalhaes-rally-greats-acropolis-erc-glory---176783.html

03.06.2018 / MaP

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