Ghosh surprises with Acropolis ERC3 victory on debut
Amittrajit Ghosh scored a fairytale underdog victory in the FIA European Rally Championship’s ERC3 category on the EKO Rally Acropolis, winning on his debut in an older-specification Ford Fiesta R2.
Leading his class heading into Sunday, Ghosh simply had to bring his Prospeed-prepared car home in one piece to complete his first ERC appearance – his third outside Ghosh’s native India – in first place.
He did exactly that, continuing a deliberate approach to prioritise survival over speed in Acropolis’ rough, rock-strewn stages he had taken since Friday.
“Coming here with an older generation R2, the goal was to finish. In the back of my mind I knew that if we got to the finish we’d be on the podium, but yesterday morning when I was only 2s behind [Artur] Muradian in the Peugeot I knew I could do it,” he told ERC Radio at the finish line.
TBRacing’s Muradian had been ERC3’s quickest driver throughout all three days, but his PEUGEOT 208 R2 was appropriate battle-scarred from his fast approach. He was fastest in all but one stage he completed, but sheared wheel bolts in SS5 on Saturday morning forced him to retire from the lead.
“[The wheel bolts] sheared, like somebody cut them off. It’s funny because it was the first turn of the stage, 90 metres, sharp right and you can see the wheel flying in front of you!
“We lifted the car and when we decided to put the tyre back on, we noticed there were no bolts. We found all four of them in the corner later on!”
Despite his speed, Muradian’s Saturday retirement meant he would settle for third place, well behind ERC Ladies’ Trophy frontrunner Emma Falcón in second. She bravely fought through all four of Leg Three’s stages with no brakes, her middle pedal going down to the floor and forcing Falcón to use her handbrake instead.
Chrysostomos Karellis had hoped to return for Leg Three after his retirement in Drossohori on Saturday but did not restart on Sunday.