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Updated: 11 min 51 sec ago

Breaking news: Nordgren takes ERC Cyprus Rally lead from Al-Attiyah

Sat, 06/16/2018 - 15:45

Juuso Nordgren has moved into first place overall on the Cyprus Rally, taking advantage of two punctures for chief FIA European Rally Championship rival Nasser Al-Attiyah.

In a drastic change of fortunes, Nordgren was able to take advantage of Cyprus’ tricky conditions catching out rivals to move into first position, a stark contrast to two weeks prior where he retired from EKO Acropolis Rally from multiple punctures.

Instead, Nasser Al-Attiyah suffered a similar fate, picking up a puncture in both the first and second stages in Saturday afternoon’s loop, leaving him short on spares after only taking a single backup tyre when leaving service in Larnaca. Luckily he was able to survive on three wheels, staying in the rally and falling only to fourth place.

Cypriot driver Simos Galatariotis is now second on his home event, only 4.6 seconds behind new leader Nordgren. Bruno Magalhães inherited third place after Al-Attiyah’s troubles, 8.8s behind Nordgren. Al-Attiyah is now 48.4s behind rally leader Nordgren in fourth

Alexandros Tsouloftas had been set to inherit a podium position, but he stopped early in Saturday’s final stage, unable to continue further and dropping out of the points places entirely. Norbert Herczig now completes the top five overall in his absence, 1m09.9s behind Nordgren.

Alexey Lukyanuk had led after midday service, but retired shortly after due to a crash in SS4.

The post Breaking news: Nordgren takes ERC Cyprus Rally lead from Al-Attiyah appeared first on FIA ERC.

NEWSFLASH: Lukyanuk crashes out of ERC Cyprus Rally lead

Sat, 06/16/2018 - 13:54

Alexey Lukyanuk has crashed out of the Cyprus Rally while leading the overall FIA European Rally Championship order, forcing him to retire and handing first place to Nasser Al-Attiyah.

ERC championship leader Lukyanuk held a 5.6 second advantage over Al-Attiyah heading into Saturday afternoon’s stages, but disaster struck when a cracked rim caused him to lose control of his Russian Performance Motorsport Ford Fiesta R5. Thankfully, Lukyanuk and co-driver Alexey Arnautov were unharmed after their crash.

Wevers Sport driver Juuso Nordgren arrived next on the scene, picking up a left rear puncture after taking avoiding action and hitting a rock.

“He was in the middle of the road and we had to over a very big rock. I don’t know what he hit but it was our only choice otherwise we would end up in the barrier,” Nordgren told ERC Radio at stage end.

“I think he just lost it and went to barrier with rear damage. We hit broken parts of his car [so as] not to hit the barrier or his car.”

Al-Attiyah now leads despite tribulations of his own through SS4, picking up a right rear puncture only 3 kilometres into the same test and nursing it to stage end.

The post NEWSFLASH: Lukyanuk crashes out of ERC Cyprus Rally lead appeared first on FIA ERC.

Cyprus Rally SS4 delayed after earlier ERC stoppage

Sat, 06/16/2018 - 12:30

Stage four of the FIA European Rally Championship’s ongoing championship round on the Cyprus Rally has been postponed to 13h59 local time due to an earlier red flag.

Earlier on Saturday stage three was halted after ERC2 category competitor Andreas Psaltis ended up in a ditch, a steering failure sending his Mistubishi Lancer Evolution X into a ditch.

Psaltis’ stranded Lancer blocked passage for drivers behind him and though both he and co-driver Andreas Chrysostomou were fine after their off, stewards had to deploy a red flag to move his car aside.

As several ERC competitors were held for close to an hour at SS3’s start line before setting on their way, stage four has been postponed by 47 minutes to allow those affected to catch up.

Psaltis’ fellow ERC competitor Juan Carlos Alonso will resume ERC action at 13h59 as first car into Saturday afternoon’s re-run of Kellia.

The post Cyprus Rally SS4 delayed after earlier ERC stoppage appeared first on FIA ERC.

Štajf plans ERC Cyprus Rally resurgence after tyre gamble

Sat, 06/16/2018 - 12:16

ACCR Czech Team's Vojtéch Štajf is confident he will improve on this afternoon's FIA European Rally Championship stages of the Cyprus Rally, after attempting a tyre gamble on Saturday morning.

Štajf went in a different direction to that of his rivals at service in Larnaca this morning, taking a tyre which aims to balance gravel and tarmac grip while most selected rubber from Pirelli's range of standard gravel tyres.

"We thought about there being some tarmac parts on the stages, so we decided in the morning to take the gravel-tarmac tyre," Štajf told ERC Radio reporter and ERC Junior Under 28 competitor Aleks Zawada.

"It was so slippy on the gravel parts that I had no confidence and we were quite slow. The gain we had on tarmac was not as much as we lost on the gravel sections. Now we're going for a full gravel tyre [this afternoon]."

"We put some new information to the pace notes after we saw the first pass. I think I'll have more confidence with gravel spec tyres and with the fact we've already run the stages once before this morning."

Feeling freshly prepared for Saturday afternoon's loop, Štajf set his sights on eighth and ninth-placed drivers Norbert Herczig and Hubert Ptaszek, whom he is only 14.8s and 12.5s behind respectively in P10.

"I hope we'll improve because I'd like do similar times as Ptaszek and Herczig, and we're not too far behind them, so it's our goal for this afternoon [to beat them]."

The post Štajf plans ERC Cyprus Rally resurgence after tyre gamble appeared first on FIA ERC.

Lukyanuk fends off Al-Attiyah in early ERC Cyprus battle

Sat, 06/16/2018 - 11:29

FIA European Rally Championship points leader Alexey Lukyanuk has established a 5.6 second lead over Nasser Al-Attiyah on the Cyprus Rally, despite technical issues afflicting both drivers.

Five time Cyprus Rally winner Al-Attiyah dropped 8.4s to Lukyanuk through Kellia, Saturday morning’s opening test, after a pop-off valve issue caused his car to lose power.

Al-Attiyah then regained 2.8s over Saturday morning’s remaining two stages before service, aided by a technical gremlin for rally leader Lukyanuk.

Though he lost little time to Al-Attiyah, Lukyanuk suggested he had lost an opportunity to extend his lead further through a throttle response issue.

“In the middle of the stage we lost response from the throttle. We lost maybe 10-15 seconds as we were rolling to reset the car, so we lost a lot of time,” Lukyanuk told ERC Radio at the finish line of stage three.

“The engine was stopped, nothing was happening, I went straight from fifth to second gear. I’m happy it’s working now and I pray it keeps going.”

Juuso Nordgren holds a steady third place aboard his Wevers Sport ŠKODA Fabia R5, 23.5s behind Lukyanuk but well ahead of a titanic early scrap for fourth position.

Simos Galatariotis started his morning strongly in fifth position, but moved into fourth just before service despite concerns over potential tyre or suspension damage to the front left corner of his Fabia.

1.8s behind Galatariotis was fellow Cypriot Alexandros Tsouloftas, who was recovering from a front-right puncture earlier. His recovery to fifth place before returning to midday service in Larnaca was all the more impressive given he was the first R5-specification car on the road, sweeping clean Cyprus’ loose gravel roads.

Bruno Magalhães had previously headed both Cypriots but fell to sixth place while struggling with a less than ideal set-up. With his car moving around underneath him frequently on Cyprus’ loose gravel surface, Magalhães is planning set-up changes for this afternoon. Only 2.1s separates him from Galatariotis’s fourth place.

Orhan Avcioğlu holds seventh position aboard his Toksport WRT Fabia, 1m24.8s behind rally leader Lukyanuk and only 3.4s ahead of Norbert Herczig in eighth. Hubert Ptasezk is also engaged in a fight for Avcioğlu’s seventh place, 5.1s behind despite a rear-right puncture in SS1 and going too fast over a jump and heading off-road in SS2.

Vojtéch Štajf elected to take a contrarian tyre strategy aboard his ACCR Czech Team Fabia, using a different Pirelli tread construction to his rivals this morning. He finished Saturday morning’s first loop P10, 1m42.7s behind Lukyanuk and is planning a switch back to standard-spec Pirelli gravel tyres for this afternoon.

Panikos Polykarpou leads the ERC2 production category, 23.8s ahead of Q8 Oils Rally Team’s Petros Panteli after SS2.

Polykarpou’s Psaltis Auto Parts team-mate Andreas Psaltis had been running second in class, but broken steering sent Psaltis into a ditch 1.8 kilometres into SS3. That accident caused a red flag, with action yet to resume.

Laurent Pellier leads the FIA European Rally Championship’s ERC3 category, leading Artur Muradian by 1m10.7 aboard his Saintéloc Junior Team PEUGEOT 208 R2.

Pellier’s performance was all the more impressive given he suffered a front-right puncture in SS2, while Muradian is getting to grips with a Renault Clio R3 he borrowed as a late replacement for his usual 208 R2, which is currently being repaired after EKO Acropolis Rally.

Catie Munnings is third in ERC2, 1m30.3 behind her Saintéloc Junior team-mate Pellier and currently leading the ERC Ladies Trophy category.

The post Lukyanuk fends off Al-Attiyah in early ERC Cyprus battle appeared first on FIA ERC.

Hungary Bereczki wants Cyprus ERC finish

Sat, 06/16/2018 - 07:00

Hungarian participation in the FIA European Rally Championship has increased further with the addition of Norbert Bereczki to the ERC3 category ranks on this week’s Cyprus Rally.

Making his debut on the Larnaca-based event, Bereczki becomes the first Suzuki Swift Sport pilot to register for the all-action ERC. Compatriot Tamás Géczy will co-drive.

Explaining his decision to enter the Cyprus Rally, 42-year-old Bereczki said: “I like gravel and this is so close to Hungary's most famous gravel rally, the Veszprém Rallye.

“I finished at the end of the 2013 season, we win our category in Hungary and I say, 'okay, it's enough for me' and my second child was born. But my wife and two children come to this rally and they make a holiday. We hope to enjoy the race because our car is the smallest in our category and this rally. We haven't enough money for a better car but it is built in Hungary.”

Bereczki’s Cyprus Rally got off to a tough start this morning when myriad mechanical problems prevented him from taking part in Free Practice and the subsequent Qualifying Stage.

“We had some technical problems with the car,” he said. “At home in Hungary the car is perfect, but when we come here there's 11 problems with the car. My crew worked overnight and they did everything [to be ready to start the rally].”

A number of other Hungarian drivers have signed-up for the ERC in 2018. They include four-time national champion Norbert Herczig, 2017 ERC2 title winner Tibor Érdi Jr and former ERC2 champion Dávid Botka.

The post Hungary Bereczki wants Cyprus ERC finish appeared first on FIA ERC.

Listen to the Cyprus Rally live on ERC Radio

Sat, 06/16/2018 - 06:00

The Cyprus Rally be live on ERC Radio with reporters positioned at the end of all stages to provide all the action and reaction from the FIA European Rally Championship counter.

With Julian Porter on temporary assignment, Aleks Zawada – a frontrunner in the FIA ERC Junior Under 28 Championship – will be swapping steering wheel for microphone to join ERC Radio anchor Chris Rawes.

ERC Radio will be live on air at 08h45 local time today (Saturday) and is available from FIAERC.com or via the ERC app.

The post Listen to the Cyprus Rally live on ERC Radio appeared first on FIA ERC.

ERC drivers support FIA Action for Road Safety campaign

Fri, 06/15/2018 - 21:00

Leading drivers from the FIA European Rally Championship have lent their support to the FIA’s Action for Road Safety campaign.

Ahead of this week’s Cyprus Rally, a number of drivers and co-drivers assembled for a photocall to support the vital initiative. Click here for more information.

The post ERC drivers support FIA Action for Road Safety campaign appeared first on FIA ERC.

Muradian makes surprise Clio R3 switch for ERC Cyprus Rally

Fri, 06/15/2018 - 20:00

FIA European Rally Championship ERC3 category regular Artur Muradian has made a surprise switch to a Renault Clio R3 for the Cyprus Rally, as his regular car is currently being repaired.

Muradian suffered an untimely series of events during the ERC’s last round, the EKO Acropolis Rally, two weeks ago, losing multiple front bumpers before sheared wheel bolts forced him to retire from first place in ERC3.

With so little time between Acropolis and Cyprus rallies, Muradian elected to send his PEUGEOT 208 R2 away for repairs while borrowing a Clio R3. Though his borrowed car was loaned out by a rival competitor from Greece, it is still being run by his regular TBRacing team.

“For this race we have the car we hope will finish with all the bumpers attached. The car is faster than we are used to but we think it will work,” said Muradian.

“We have damaged the PEUGEOT a bit more than we expected, so it went to the factory to fix the body. We were offered the Renault by El Nak Jr, one of the competitors from Greece. The R3 is the best car for this rally.”

Though a retirement on Saturday’s leg of the EKO Acropolis Rally ended any hopes of victory last time out, his pace was evident. He went second quickest in ERC3 during Friday’s Qualifying Stage on the Cyprus Rally, beaten only by ERC Junior Under 28 contender Laurent Pellier in a Saintéloc Junior Team-prepared 208 R2.

The post Muradian makes surprise Clio R3 switch for ERC Cyprus Rally appeared first on FIA ERC.

Avcioğlu playing a “mind game” on ERC’s Cyprus Rally

Fri, 06/15/2018 - 20:00

FIA European Rally Championship regular Orhan Avcioğlu intends to play a “mind game” during the Cyprus Rally, aiming for a top finish by mitigating risk.

Avcioğlu starred in Friday’s Qualifying Stage on the Cyprus Rally by going fourth quickest overall, bested only by five-time Cyprus winner Nasser Al-Attiyah, ŠKODA junior hotshot Juuso Nordgren and ERC championship leader Alexey Lukyanuk.

Despite his quick turn of pace, Avcioğlu will reign in his speed somewhat come Saturday and Sunday, ensuring he brings his Toksport WRT-prepared ŠKODA Fabia R5 to the Larnaca service park in one piece come Sunday afternoon.

“It's a mind game for this weekend. We are aiming for the top five hopefully,” he said.

“If we have no problems and get to the finish on Sunday, it could be possible.”

“Our goal is to try and nurse the car. We were going fast today in qualifying but we don't plan on going that fast throughout the weekend.

“There's a lot of hidden stones, a lot of things that can catch you out. I don't want to make that mistake.

A top five finish would be Avcioğlu’s best ever ERC result, having set himself a new benchmark with his eighth placed finish on EKO Rally Acropolis two weeks ago.

The post Avcioğlu playing a “mind game” on ERC’s Cyprus Rally appeared first on FIA ERC.

Lukyanuk turns 100 on ERC Cyprus Rally

Fri, 06/15/2018 - 19:08

Alexey Lukyanuk will make rally start number 100 on this week's Cyprus Rally, round four of the 2018 FIA European Rally Championship.

Russian Performance Motorsport held a celebration in honour of Lukyanuk's achievement in the Larnaca service park, unveiling a specially made cake in black with orange flashes akin to his iconic Ford Fiesta R5.

Nearly one third of his rally appearances have come from his participation in the ERC, scoring seven wins and 12 podiums in 28 starts. This weekend’s Cyprus Rally will be start number 29 in the ERC.

Lukyanuk will undoubtedly be hoping to cap start number 100 with victory, but admitted he would have a challenge on his hands from five-time Cyprus Rally winner Nasser Al-Attiyah, who won Friday’s Qualifying Stage.

“We know Nasser can be really fast and if it takes too much risk to compete with him maybe we will think to back off a bit and score as much points as we can without taking any extra risks,” he said.

“But on the other hand if we feel really comfortable and confident to set a really good pace then we will do that.”

The post Lukyanuk turns 100 on ERC Cyprus Rally appeared first on FIA ERC.

Tsouloftas hoping for home ERC podium

Fri, 06/15/2018 - 17:00

Alexandros Tsouloftas is hoping for good fortune on the Cyprus Rally with a podium the target should the regular FIA European Rally Championship frontrunners trip up in their own lead battle.

Cypriot driver Tsouloftas had been running in a top five position during his last ERC appearance on the EKO Acropolis Rally two weeks ago, until a mechanical failure ended his rally on day two.

Now looking to make amends, Tsouloftas believes a podium could be within reach on his home event, should other factors play out in his favour.

“We know the competition is really strong. Nasser [Al-Attiyah] here is an expert, especially on gravel special stages. [Alexey] Lukyanuk is really fast and [Juuso] Nordgren as well,” said Tsouloftas.

“I believe we can be around fourth or fifth position and expect a mistake from the front fight, and hopefully we could get a step ahead.

“I’ll try to drive as fast as possible with what we have. We do it for Cyprus, for the fanbase. We have huge support here in Cyprus, we’re the youngest crew with an R5 of the Cyprus crews as well. We want to provide much fun for the people.”

Tsouloftas had packed up his equipment by Sunday morning during the EKO Acropolis Rally, a heart-breaking change of fortune given his increasing pace throughout his first ERC appearance of 2018.

“We were driving at a nice pace after we’d fixed many issues that we’d had with the car. We did the second fastest time overall in the New Amfissa test, which was quite good.

“I wasn’t expecting that, it was a surprise for me, because I knew where we could improve. We decided in the next stage to push even harder but unfortunately, we broke the driveshaft.

“It’s been a year that we are with issues like gearbox, power steering, driveshaft etc. We were so disappointed and I wasn’t feeling like continuing. When you lose the feeling, the rally is gone.”

Looking ahead to the Cyprus Rally’s two legs on Saturday and Sunday, Tsouloftas is hoping to remain competitive and follow through on his outside podium hopes, despite a somewhat unfavourable start order position.

He lines up P3 on Saturday after a mistake on Friday’s Qualifying Stage, ERC’s first R5-specification car through after a pair of production-spec ERC2 cars.

“We had a problem in the Qualifying Stage. We missed a junction. That was really bad luck, as the Qualifying Stage is an important thing.

“Starting in third position, I’ve never started at that position so far out front, so it’ll be tough for us. Many plans change, [especially] tyre based. We’ll see what’s going to happen.”

The post Tsouloftas hoping for home ERC podium appeared first on FIA ERC.

Nordgren excited for mixed surface experience on ERC Cyprus Rally

Fri, 06/15/2018 - 15:26

Juuso Nordgren is continuing his first forays into the FIA European Rally Championship with his second ever ERC appearance on Cyprus Rally, and is excited about Cyprus’ mixture of surfaces.

ŠKODA Motorsport junior driver Nordgren is driving a Wevers Sport-prepared Fabia R5 this year, already making his ERC debut at EKO Acropolis Rally two weeks ago. As he builds his experience in new countries on different types of event, Cyprus presents another new challenge for the Finn.

“[I’m] quite excited. I really like the stages, especially Saturday. It’s quite smooth and fast. Sunday we have some rougher parts also but on the other hand, we have some tarmac, so lots of new things and lots of experience for us,” he said.

Cyprus Rally features a series of unusual mixed surface stages, primarily gravel but with a significant number of kilometres also on tarmac. Though he briefly sampled similar conditions on last year’s Rally Catalunya – Costa Daurada, Cyprus’ stages remain unlike anything he has experienced before.

“Not this much,” he responded when asked how much driving he’d done in similar conditions.

“Only in Spain, there is the stage Terra Alta, where there is over 10 kilometres of tarmac section. I’ve done that twice last year, so that’s the only experience on tarmac with gravel tyres and gravel setup.”

Nordgren’s ERC debut on EKO Acropolis Rally demonstrated his raw speed, winning the 21.97 kilometre Grameni stage against experienced ERC hands like Alexey Lukyanuk and Bruno Magalhães. However, a tricky tyre choice in Greece’s searing heat meant he picked two soft rear tyres, which both delaminated and forced him to retire through a lack of spares.

Looking back on Acropolis as a learning experience, Nordgren is determined to make the most of his time in Cyprus.

“Definitely not flat out this time. In Greece we made so many mistakes, which ended our rally. Now we just want a clean race but still with a reasonable speed. The main thing is to try and enjoy it.”

He might enjoy his driving this weekend, but it’s less likely Finnish native Nordgren will relish Cyprus’ hot temperatures. Though he got a sample of warm weather in Acropolis, Friday’s Qualifying Stage hit a toasty 39°C.

“It is tough, especially for a Finnish guy not used to these conditions, even in summer. These stages are not so long, but of course the days are long and we’re sweating like pigs. I think for the moment it’s only the sweating, it doesn’t feel so bad, but sweating a lot!”

Nordgren went second fastest through Friday’s Qualifying Stage, ahead of current championship leader Alexey Lukyanuk. He begins his Cyprus Rally adventure on Saturday, starting P14 in the road order at 09h26 local time.

The post Nordgren excited for mixed surface experience on ERC Cyprus Rally appeared first on FIA ERC.

They said what? ERC drivers look ahead of Cyprus Rally

Fri, 06/15/2018 - 14:21

Nasser Al-Attiyah, Simos Galatariotis, Bruno Magalhães and Catie Munnings attended the pre-event press conference for the Cyprus Rally. This is what they had to say ahead of the FIA European Rally Championship counter.

Q:
Welcome Nasser, the most successful driver in the history of the Cyprus Rally! How confident are you of making it six wins and who will be your toughest opponents?

NA-A:
Yes, we are here in Cyprus and we try to do our best for this race. It will not be easy. We need to respect all the drivers but it will not be easy for everybody because it is a hard rally. But, okay, we win five times and we are really looking to win six times this rally. I wish good luck for everybody. It will be an exciting rally.

Q:
You obviously have a lot of experience here – what do you think of this year’s route and the changes?

NA-A:
It’s quite a change you know. Sunday will be the key of the rally because it will be very, very hard you know. But, okay, we try to do our best. We need to enjoy the Cyprus Rally. It’s one of the nice races to fight on, it’s very high speed and you cannot really take times. There are not really technical stages but it will be tough for everybody and we try to do our best.

Q:
How did you prepare for this year’s event? I gather you were doing your other sport in Malta last week?

NA-A:
Yes, I was training for the Olympic Games in Japan. We had three days in Greece and one week in Malta for shooting. We are here Cyprus Rally and one week after I stay in Cyprus for one week for training my progrmme. It will be very busy but I am really happy to drive again.

Q:
It’s no secret you’ll be aiming for gold in Japan, right?

NA-A
I will try! I am not young but, okay, I will do my best. I did six Olympic Games, four times final and one bronze in London. I have a good feeling and I will try to do my best for Japan.

Q:
It’s your home event and after a strong performance on the Acropolis what can you achieve on this rally?

SG:
Last year also due to some bad luck of other drivers we finished second and I’m hoping to improve on that! A place on the podium would be a fair result for us. We’ve been driving on these roads for many years now and now we have a competitive car. I really hope we will be there at the end.

Q:
You’ve stepped to an R5 car for this season – are are you finding it and do you have plans to make more appearances in the ERC this year?

SG:
It depends on the budget, on the sponsors. This rally is also counting towards the Cyprus championship so we wish to finish well in this rally. But if all goes well then why not. But good luck to everybody.

Q:
Welcome to Cyprus Bruno, how crucial was your victory in Greece last time out?

BM:
It was so important because without this victory for sure I was not here. I received the answer from my sponsor after the race so it’s a big pleasure to be in Cyprus again. In the beginning of the year unfortunately you don’t have a programme so you are going step by step. Sometimes you have good rallies and other times you are not so lucky so it depends on the result and of course the victory on the Acropolis was amazing for us and we are still fighting for the championship and we are in a good position so thank you to all my sponsors who helped me to come here.

Q:
It was tough Cyprus Rally for you last season – just remind us what happened?

BM:
Yeah last year was a crazy corner for three drives, we all crashed in the same corner! For me it’s because I lose the concentration when I saw the co-driver of [Kajetan] Kajetanowicz [Jarek Baran] and I lose completely my concentration and it was enough to go completely out of the road. I hope this year it will be different and I hope we can get a podium in the final and get the maximum points for the championship.

Q:
The Cyprus Rally wasn’t on your original schedule for this year so how did this all come about and what do you think of the event following the recce?

CM:
I’ve been very lucky to have the opportunity to drive here. It was only decided a couple of weeks ago that the Saintéloc Junior Team will take part so I’m very grateful to everybody who has made that possible. The Cyprus Rally is a phenomenal event. For me this is my third rally on gravel and I need the kilometres and I need to learn. Here it’s a fantastic place to learn. The stages are very fast, there are some very technical sections as well. We’re here with the PEUGEOT 208 R2, which will be a very strong and competitive car here. As always our focus will be on the fastest juniors in our category, which is probably my team-mate Laurent Pellier who sets a very nice pace and we can judge our speed on him and improve throughout the weekend.

Q:
You’ve had a taste of Cypriot gravel this morning so how was that?

CM:
It was fantastic. As I say I don’t have so much gravel experience. The most experience I have is probably in the Azores which is very different. Today was a very fast stage. It’s more complicated for the rally but today was very good fun with lots of wide space to push and to drive fast.

Q:
It’s been a busy couple of weeks for you – what have you been up to before coming to Cyprus?

CM:
I’m very busy at the minute. I’m filming a new TV show, like Top Gear and I get to drive lots of cool stuff but not as cool as a rally car!

The post They said what? ERC drivers look ahead of Cyprus Rally appeared first on FIA ERC.

Alonso heads ERC road order for Leg One of Cyprus Rally

Fri, 06/15/2018 - 13:15

RMC Motorsport’s Juan Carlos Alonso will lead the FIA European Rally Championship field into Leg One of Cyprus Rally on Saturday, as Qualifying Stage winner Nasser Al-Attiyah elected to start P15.

Though 15 top-tier R5-specification cars are present for Cyprus Rally, ERC2 category frontrunner Alonso still broke into the 15 quickest times in Friday morning’s Qualifying Stage, leaving him last to select a road order position.

Reigning Cyprus Rally winner Al-Attiyah kicked off his return to ERC with Qualifying Stage victory, using his free choice to take as low a road position as possible with P15. Given Cyprus Rally’s loose gravel surface, a lower start position is expected to be important as those ahead like Alonso sweep roads clean.

Despite drivers having some freedom to pick their positions, first place through to P15 in Friday’s Qualifying Stage was completely reversed for Saturday’s road order, meaning Alexey Lukyanuk (Russian Performance Motorsport) and Juuso Nordgren (Wevers Sport) will depart just before Al-Attiyah, P13 and P14 respectively.

At the other end of the scale, Alonso isn’t the only ERC2 car appearing unusually early. Petros Panteli will follow Alonso out second on the road in his Q8 Oils Rally Team-prepared Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X, which is also campaigned by Alonso.

Alexandros Tsouloftas is ERC’s first top-spec R5 car into Saturday’s stages, starting third after an overshoot cost him over five seconds in Friday morning’s Qualifying Stage.

Tsouloftas is followed by Paulo Nobre (Palmeirinha Rally), Albert von Thurn und Taxis (BRR Baumschlager Rallye & Racing Team), Dávid Botka (Sysinfo Rallye Team), Norbert Herczig (MOL Racing Team), Hubert Ptasezk (TRT Krezus Rally Team), Vojtéch Štajf (ACCR Czech Team) and SEAJETS-backed EKO Rally Acropolis winner Bruno Magalhães running fourth through to P10 on the road respectively.

Cypriot driver Simos Galatariotis will begin his home rally P11 in the staring order, ahead of Toksport WRT’s Orhan Avcioğlu, Lukyanuk, Nordgren and Al-Attiyah.

The post Alonso heads ERC road order for Leg One of Cyprus Rally appeared first on FIA ERC.

Al-Attiyah tops Cyprus Rally Qualifying Stage on ERC return

Fri, 06/15/2018 - 09:53

Nasser Al-Attiyah kicked off his return to the FIA European Rally Championship with victory in Rally Cyprus’ Qualifying Stage, beating Juuso Nordgren by 1.8 seconds.

Al-Attiyah is Cyprus Rally’s defending winner, having won five times in total, more than anyone else. This meant it was little surprise when he piloted his Autotek Motorsport-prepared Ford Fiesta R5 to first place in Qualifying, ahead of Nordgren’s Wevers Sport-run ŠKODA Fabia R5.

“We have a really positive feeling, a really good atmosphere working with the team,” Nordgren told ERC Radio stage end reporter Chris Rawes.

“It seems Nasser found some special lines in here, he’s so much faster. I’m happy to beat [Alexey] Lukyanuk. We’re not in attack mode, we need a clean finish to restart our season.”

Championship leader Alexey Lukyanuk, who has two wins under his belt in ERC this season, admitted he had a difficult challenge on his hands against Al-Attiyah, going 2.5s slower than him in the Qualifying Stage to be third fastest.

“I think he knows how to drive these roads better than we do. It’s not a big drama,” said Lukyanuk of Al-Attiyah.

Orhan Avcioğlu was fourth quickest aboard his Toksport WRT-prepared Fabia, 4.5s slower than Al-Attiyah. Simos Galatariotis mirrored his finishing position at the ERC’s previous round on EKO Rally Acropolis by going fifth quickest, 0.2s behind Avcioğlu.

SEAJETS-backed driver Bruno Magalhães was only sixth fastest, 5.1s behind Al-Attiyah. Former ERC2 regular Vojtéch Štajf was seventh on his ERC return, now driving a Fabia R5 and 6.0s behind Al-Attiyah in the Qualifying Stage.

ERC regulars Hubert Ptasezk (TRT Krezus Rally Team), Norbert Herczig (MOL Racing Team) and Dávid Botka (Sysinfo Rallye Team) completed the top 10.

Albert von Thurn und Taxis took his BRR Baumschlager Rallye & Racing Team-prepared Fabia to P11, ahead of Paulo Nobre in P12 with his own  Palmeirinha Rally team.

Alexandros Tsouloftas, who had shown good pace in the ERC last time out on EKO Rally Acropolis, was 13.3s slower than Al-Attiyah in P13. Most of his time loss came from overshooting a fast corner, meaning he had to reverse his Citroën DS3 R5 back onto the stage.

Petros Panteli was quickest of those in the FIA European Rally Championship’s ERC2 category, P14 overall with his production-spec Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X prepared by Q8 Oils Rally Team. Panteli’s ERC2 rival Juan Carlos Alonso will be last to pick in this afternoon’s road order selection, thanks to scoring P15 in qualifying.

Road order selection kicks off in Cyprus Rally’s service park on Phinikoudes Beachfront, Larnaca at 13h30 local time (12h30 CEST).

The post Al-Attiyah tops Cyprus Rally Qualifying Stage on ERC return appeared first on FIA ERC.

ERC Cyprus Rally facts and stats

Fri, 06/15/2018 - 06:00

The Cyprus Rally, round four of the FIA European Rally Championship, gets underway today with the Qualifying Stage from 10h08 followed by the ceremonial start 19h00. Here are some essential facts and stats.

CYPRUS RALLY IN NUMBERS:
1970: The Cyprus Rally’s origins date back to 1970 when Victor Zachariades won in a Fiat 125. The 47th running in 2018 is the first to be based in Larnaca, a contemporary city with many attractions, eateries and historical sights as well as the popular Finikoudes beachfront.

5: Nasser Al-Attiyah is the Cyprus Rally’s most successful driver with five wins to his name, which is one more than world rallying legend Sébastien Loeb managed.

9: There have been nine ‘home’ winners of the Cyprus Rally since the first edition in 1970. Nicos Thomas and Spiros Georgiou were the last Cypriot pair to triumph in 2008.

204.92: Crews will tackle 204.92 timed kilometres over 13 stages. Cyta Yeri is the longest at 22 kilometres, Nicosia SSS the shortest at 4.82 kilometres.

65: Event organisers have attracted a 65-strong entry with 50 crews registered for the international rally.

CYPRUS RALLY FAST FACTS
*While Nasser Al-Attiyah is the rally’s most successful driver with five victories, other winners include Stig Blomqvist, Colin McRae, Petter Solberg, Ari Vatanen and current European championship leader Alexey Lukyanuk, who took top honours in 2016.

*The Cyprus Rally has formed part of the ERC calendar in its various formats since 1978. From 2014 it’s been ever-present on the European calendar when the event was based in Nicosia after a spell in Pafos.

*As well as counting for ERC points, the Cyprus Rally is a round of the Cypriot and FIA Middle East championships, the latter attracting competitors from Lebanon, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar.

*Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean behind Sicily and Sardinia. There are 380 rural villages in the republic, while Mount Olympus in the Troodos Range peaks at 1951 metres.

*It took four months for Cyprus Rally organisers to put on their first world championship rally after the event was called up as a late replacement for the cancelled China Rally in May 2000.

*The event’s popular Golden Stage format is back for 2018 with the results of the final two stages combined to decide the Golden Stage winner. A prize fund of 6000 euros will be shared between the overall fastest driver, the top 2WD competitor and the top Cypriot crew.

The post ERC Cyprus Rally facts and stats appeared first on FIA ERC.

Magalhães flies high in Cyprus ERC testing

Thu, 06/14/2018 - 18:00

This is Bruno Magalhães flying high in testing for the Cyprus Rally, round four of the 2018 FIA European Rally Championship.

Driving his SEAJETS-backed ŠKODA Fabia R5, Magalhães was in action in the Tseri region of Cyprus earlier this week.

Several of the Portuguese ace’s rivals, including ERC title leader Alexey Lukyanuk and record-breaking Cyprus winner Nasser Al-Attiyah, were also testing.

Magalhães starts the Cyprus Rally in Larnaca on Friday evening on the back of winning the EKO Acropolis Rally in Greece at start of June. He’s 14 points behind Lukyanuk in the battle to become European champion following his win alongside co-driver Hugo Magalhães.

The post Magalhães flies high in Cyprus ERC testing appeared first on FIA ERC.

Progress and enjoyment: von Thurn und Taxis impressing in second ERC season

Thu, 06/14/2018 - 12:00

Albert von Thurn und Taxis is making FIA European Rally Championship start number 12 in Cyprus this week still chasing his first points of the season but improving all the time.

The ex-GT racer is building his rallying experience event by event having made the switch from track to stage a handful of seasons ago. So far, the move is going to plan.

“I'm enjoying it massively, I mean massively, but there has to be improvements, absolutely [in my second year],” said the Baumschlager Rallye & Racing-run driver. “Not necessarily in terms of position, not necessarily in terms of classification but in terms of seconds per stage kilometre we are really looking at comparing and we need to see improvements. So far, thank God that is the case. But there are so many things that need to be improved, that is the incredible thing.”

To further that improvement, von Thurn und Taxis took advantage of a clashing event for regular co-driver Bjorn Degandt to try out German pacenotes and get additional feedback by linking up with fellow German speaker Frank Christian for the EKO Acropolis. Despite an accident on leg two cutting the number of competitive kilometres they covered, it proved a useful exercise.

However, von Thurn and Taxis and Degandt will be reunited for the Cyprus Rally, which is based in Larnaca from 15-17 June when more progress is the aim for the popular Rome resident.

The post Progress and enjoyment: von Thurn und Taxis impressing in second ERC season appeared first on FIA ERC.

Ingram targets Rome ERC return

Thu, 06/14/2018 - 06:00

Chris Ingram is set to return to FIA European Rally Championship action on next month’s Rally di Roma Capitale after a truncated start to his season due to illness.

Ingram stepped up to the ERC Junior Under 28 class as ERC Junior Under 27 champion with a standout class victory on the Azores season opener in March, his first event in an R5 car.

However, he fell ill in the build up to Rally Islas Canarias in early May and was forced to withdraw on the opening day to undergo medical treatment.

But posting on his official Facebook account from his current base in Istanbul, Briton Ingram revealed a return is getting close after he was forced to pull his EKO Acropolis Rally entry and will be a non-starter when the Cyprus Rally begins in Larnaca tomorrow (Friday).

“Finally some good news,” he wrote. “Doctors in Istanbul say my blood levels are getting better and I should feel more normal in another week or two. One thing is for sure I will fight back in the next round of the ERC Under 28s in Rome in July. Massive thanks for everyone's support over the last several weeks.”

Ingram, who forms part of the Toksport WRT line-up in the ERC alongside co-driver Ross Whittock, is backed by clothing firm 11 Degrees, CarFinance 247 and Andrews Sykes Group.

The post Ingram targets Rome ERC return appeared first on FIA ERC.

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PZM 75. Rajd Polski / PZM 75th Rally Poland

PZM 75. Rajd Polski

Kalendarz 2018

22-24 marca:

Azores Airlines Rallye (Portugalia)

03-05 maja:

Rally Islas Canarias (Hiszpania)

01-03 czerwca:

Acropolis Rally (Grecja)

15-17 czerwca:

Cyprus Rally (Cypr)

20-22 lipca:

Rally di Roma Capitale (Włochy)

24-26 sierpnia:

Barum Czech Rally Zlín (Czechy)

21-23 września:

Rajd Polski

12-14 października:

Rally Liepaja (Łotwa)