Τρίτη, 1 Απριλίου 2014

Rally Acropolis 2014. First position for Breen and the Peugeot 208!




Craig Breen with his Peugeot 208 T16 made his first official appearance and managed to put his name on the list of the Acropolis Rally winners! It was also the winning debut for the 208 R5 and the first time in the career of the Irish driver to step up on the top of the podium, both in the ERC and internationally. 

He was in fact the winner beyond any doubt since he was on the lead of the overall classification during both days of the rally. Today he faced no problems on the gravel stages and, in fact, not even the counter attack of Bryan Bouffier with his Citroen DS3 RRC was capable of threatening him. On the contrary, whenever needed he speeded up in the special stages, managing in the end to celebrate an impressive win which made the organizers of the Eurosport event to award him with the "Colin McRae Trophy", a prize given to the most spectacular driver of each ERC round.

The second position of the podium was taken by the French Bryan Bouffier, former official test driver of Hyundai, who despite his famous performances on tarmac, was determined to push today on gravel, although without achieving the win. That being said, it is certain that he could have managed to lead in the rally if he had avoided the three mistakes during the two days of the rally that cost him precious time. In any case, his work was not easy since at the beginning of Leg 2, Kajetan Kajetanowicz and his Ford Fiesta R5 were close behind him, pushing for the second overall position. Nevertheless, in the middle of the day, the French speeded up causing the less experienced Poland Rally Champion to fall back in time. Nonetheless, Kajetanowicz gained important points for the rest of the Championship.

Further behind, at the fourth overall position, lies Esapekka Lappi and his factory supported Skoda Fabia S2000. The talented Finn, although he is considered to be one of the key players of ERC, was not competitive in today's gravel stages. Being himself a winner in Latvia Rally, he argued that it would be difficult with R5 and RRC cars since his S2000 was not powerful enough. The fifth position was won by the Portuguese Bruno Magalhaes with his Peugeot 207 S2000 who was troubled throughout the rally by both poor tyre choice and car setup. Anyhow, the former Portugal Rally Champion is more than happy for the final result as he has minimum participation in gravel rallies over the past years. From Rally Azores he will be competing with a Peugeot 208 T16 R5. A few steps behind him lay the Russian Vasily Gryazin with his Ford Fiesta S2000, who was faster on his favorite gravel surfaces today. In fact, had he avoided the flat tyre at the start of the day, he would have managed to take the fifth position from Magalhaes. Jaroslav Orsak with a Skoda Fabia S2000 and Jean Michel Raoux with his Peugeot 207 S2000 were at the seventh and eighth positions, respectively.

The big drama was played at the Production Category, with the leader Erdi Tibor Jr. and his Mitsubishi Lancer EVO IX finishing the last special stage Loutraki 2 with a broken rear suspension, preventing him from reaching the last service park and completing the rally. Thus, the winner of this category was Vitaliy Pushkar with a Lancer EVO X, who also finished the last special stage with problems at the front suspension of his Mitsubishi. Equally exciting proved to be the 2WD category, when the leader of the rally until the penultimate special stage, Zoltan Bessenyey and his Honda Civic Type-R, was passed by the Italian Simone Tempestini. Nonetheless, neither he managed to smile, since the engine of his DS3 R3T failed him at the last stage and the victory passed to the Russian Evgeny Sukhovenko and his Renault Clio R3. Typical Acropolis! Today the Acropolis Rally signaled also the second round of the Greek Championship, with Lambros Kirkos and his Lancer EVO IX being first, followed by Grigoris Nioras and a Subaru Impreza N12 and the Cypriot Kiriakos Kiriakou with a Subaru Impreza N14.

The 60th Acropolis Rally closed with the typical Award Ceremony at the crowded Service Park at Loutraki.

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