The extreme weather conditions in Loutraki, Peloponnese, resulted in the early ending of the SEAJETS 2015 Acropolis Rally, due to safety reasons for all crews, Organization Committee and spectators. The first signs for the forthcoming bad weather were evident on Saturday evening, although it seemed to be calming down at that time. Thus, Day 2 started just cloudy with good road conditions during the first four special stages. Nevertheless, the sudden and dense rain after the finish of S.S.6 EKO Racing Ziria resulted in making many parts of the remaining three special stages either inaccessible or dangerous, forcing the Organization Committee to urgently stop the rally.
Nevertheless, the event still counts as foreseen for the European Rally Championship with the crews gathering the regular points as in any other rally, resulting in Kajetan Kajetanowicz winning the title of the European Champion 2015. The early ending of the rally was undoubtedly frustrating for everyone as the first four special stages of the day preceded a great fight for the top position. At first, Kajetanowicz won the first S.S. but then Craig Breen fought back with the fastest time in the next two stages, creating a safety distance and leaving behind both the Polish and Lambros Athanassoulas to fight for the second position. However, during SS6 EKO Racing Ziria, Breen lost the lead as his car’s bonnet opened in the stage, causing Kajetanowicz to be first again with 10s gap, and Lambros Athanassoulas to follow the Irish with only 5s gap. But while the first three crews were heading back to the Service Park at Loutraki, and without anything being decided yet, the weather turned really bad.
As a result, Kajetanowicz won the European Championship and became the first Polish who managed to win the title after Krzysztof Hołowczyc in 1997. Breen did not have the chance to get the result he wanted at SEAJETS 2015 Acropolis Rally in order to claim the title. Lambros Athanassoulas achieved a great result as being third on the podium. The Greek driver, although he had not participated in gravel rallies for a long time, became quite competitive with his new car and showed his true talent. He tried to push in S.S.5 Kefalari but a spin cost him valuable time. Nonetheless, he could opt for the best result in the last three stages that were finally cancelled.
Bad weather caused also significant retirements, as these of Alexey Lukyanuk and Charles Martin after their exits. As a result, Jaromir Tarabus with his Skoda Fabia S2000 finished fourth by avoiding any mistakes throughout the rally, and David Botka with a Mitsubishi Lancer EVO IX finished fifth. The Hungarian driver set a very good time in S.S.6 EKO Racing Ziria and climbed on the overall classification, securing his win in the ERC-2 Category.
This year’s SEAJETS 2015 Acropolis Rally was an event carried out under extremely difficult weather conditions and can be rightfully justified as “tough”, “unexpected” and “dramatic”. And although it is now part of the history, we already look towards 2016 and the future of the Acropolis Rally as part of the ERC.