Season recap #3: Magalhães joins rally greats with Acropolis ERC glory
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 leg two.
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 Tibor Érdi Jr and Amittrajit Ghosh from India claimed the ERC2 and ERC3 spoils respectively.
Magalhães was more than a minute in front starting leg three’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.
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.
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 leg three’s four stages. Cypriot frontrunner Simos Galatariotis finished an excellent fifth, 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 to score maximum leg points on Sunday, over a minute faster than nearest rival Juuso Nordgren across today’s four stages.
Words of a winner (Bruno Magalhães): “Sometimes in our lives, dreams come true. 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.”
FIA ERC1: Bruno Magalhães (PRT)/Hugo Magalhães (PRT) ŠKODA Fabia R5
FIA ERC2: Tibor Érdi Jr (HUN)/György Papp (HUN) Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X
FIA ERC3: Amittrajit Ghosh (IND)/Ashwin Naik (IND) Ford Fiesta R2
ERC Ladies’ Trophy: Emma Falcón (ESP) Citroën DS3 R3T