Alonso and Remennik set for ERC2 Acropolis showdown
Juan Carlos Alonso has his sights firmly set on Sergei Remennik’s second position in ERC2 on the EKO Rally Acropolis this afternoon, as a podium battle in the FIA European Rally Championship’s showroom category hots up.
Argentine driver Alonso had initially been in a secure second position on Saturday, hanging within striking distance of production class leader Tibor Érdi Jr, but 1m40s of time penalties sent him back to fourth place overnight.
“We were late from service because our fire extinguisher blew up [in SS5],” explained Alonso.
“Then before stage eight, we had a puncture at the very beginning. We had to change it, and we were penalised [for checking in late].”
However, with 37.9s separating Alonso from second-placed Remennik before Sunday’s morning loop, he sensed an opportunity. Alonso proceeded to win both of Sunday morning’s stages, taking third position from Q8 Oils Rally Team driver Petros Panteli in SS10 for good measure.
“This morning has been OK. We are fastest in two stages, and we try to push to get second place. Two stages to go, it’s a very difficult rally, anything can happen.”
Remennik’s lead over Alonso has shrunk to only 8.6s with two stages remaining, most of which was lost through a mistake in SS10 which cost him 22.6s.
“We spun in the second stage [SS10] and lost all our gap,” Remennik said.
“We slid a bit more than we needed and spun, blocking the road. We used reverse to keep moving forward.
When asked how much of his time loss to Alonso had resulted from his spin he replied, “I don’t know, but as far as I know, we lost all our gap between us and the other guys.”
Despite losing his podium position, Panteli is in a prime position to capitalise on any mistakes this afternoon made by Alonso and Remennik, currently lying only 1.4s and 8.6s behind each driver respectively in fourth position.
Zelindo Melegari remains fifth but is over 14 minutes behind the trio, after multiple technical problems and time penalties for checking out late from service slowed his progress.