In this paper, we present the evaluation of the aerodynamic robustness to rim seal purge flow of an optimized 1.5-stage axial turbine configuration with a bowed stator profile and endwall contouring. Performance maps obtained by experiments and numerical simulations show that the efficiency benefit gained by this optimized configuration is partially reduced, but not eliminated, by the injection of purge flow through the cavity downstream of the first stator. Measurements with five-hole probes and hot-wire probes, as well as unsteady RANS simulations, give detailed insights into the physical effects of the purge flow inside the rotor passage. There, when no purge flow is injected, the optimized configuration diminishes the formation of loss-inducing secondary flow structures near the hub and the casing. When purge flow is injected, however, new strong secondary flow structures are induced near the hub. These vortices generate additional losses and thereby partially negate the efficiency benefits gained by the optimization. From the data, we found that this influence of the purge flow is limited to the lower half of the channel height. The data also show that the optimized configuration is able to reduce the vorticity near the casing regardless of the purge flow injection, which in turn leads to an efficiency increase in this area. Together, these effects lead to a reduction of the previously gained efficiency benefit by the optimized configuration when it is subjected to purge flow injection. However, compared to a baseline configuration with cylindrical endwalls also subject to purge flow injection, the overall efficiency is still increased by 0.38%.