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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.

Cypriot President’s man goes for a spin with ERC contender Al-Attiyah

Wed, 06/13/2018 - 18:00

Phivos Zachariades, who advises Cypriot President Anastasiades on matters relating to sport, got a ride of a lifetime when he accompanied Nasser Al-Attiyah during testing for this week’s FIA European Rally Championship counter.

Mr Zachariades accompanied Al-Attiyah – the five-time Cyprus Rally winner – during a test in the Tseri region of Cyprus in what was a significant moment. The President’s advisor is the brother of Victoras Zachariades, who won the first Cyprus Rally back in 1970.

According to the event organisers, “Mr Zachariades witnessed the new breed of rally cars up close, and upon his return had remarked on their incredible speed and technology as well as Al-Attiyah’s impeccable driving”.

The Cyprus Rally, which is based in Larnaca from 15-17 June, forms the fourth event of the ERC season.

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Falcón versus Munnings in ERC Ladies’ Trophy

Wed, 06/13/2018 - 12:00

Emma Falcón and Catie Munnings will battle for ERC Ladies’ Trophy honours when Cyprus hosts the fourth event of the FIA European Rally Championship season from 15-17 June.

Canary Islander Falcón, who competes in a Citroën DS3 R3T, is 27 points in front of her British rival having out-scored her 2:1.

Falcón starts in Cyprus for the first time on the back of a battling performance on the EKO Acropolis Rally where she reached the finish despite a loss of brakes in the closing stages.

Fellow Cyprus rookie Munnings, who competes in a lower-specification PEUGEOT 208 R2, last rallied on gravel in the Azores in March.

Falcón (left) and Munnings (right) are pictured on Rally Islas Canarias this year filming the ERC’s May The Fourth Be With You Star Wars tribute video. Click here to take a look.

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Don’t count on flat-out push for victory, says ERC leader Lukyanuk

Wed, 06/13/2018 - 06:00

Alexey Lukyanuk has suggested that he might not go flat-out in order to return to winning ways in the FIA European Rally Championship in Cyprus this week.

The Russian’s unbeaten run ended on the EKO Acropolis Rally earlier this month and his leg-two retirement allowed Bruno Magalhães to slash his title advantage to 14 points.

Speaking ahead of the Cyprus Rally, which is based in Larnaca from 15-17 June, Lukyanuk said multiple winner Nasser Al-Attiyah’s appearance on the event – which is currently a one-off – has altered his way of thinking.

“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,” Lukyanuk said. “But on the other hand if we feel really comfortable and confident to set a really good pace then we will do that. It depends on many things but definitely we will think when we see after the recce before we make the final decision about our approach to the event.”

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From the aisle to the ERC top 10: Avcioǧlu reflects on big week

Tue, 06/12/2018 - 18:00

Orhan Avcioǧlu went from the wedding aisle to the top 10 in the FIA European Rally Championship during a glorious seven days recently.

After getting married in Istanbul on 27 May, Avcioǧlu flew to Greece to begin his preparations for the EKO Acropolis Rally where he landed his first ERC top 10 finish in his Toksport WRT ŠKODA Fabia R5 on 3 June.

“I had to leave for the airport to come [to Greece] literally one hour after the wedding, which didn’t go down too well as you can imagine!” Avcioǧlu said. “My wife chose the date and she knows my calendar! About a week to go she started to have some goosebumps about it but I couldn’t change anything after that but of course I was missing my wife at the end of the rally.”

Of his eighth place finish in Lamia, Avcioǧlu said: “We didn’t take too many risks I would say, we tried to take it clean and steady because the most important thing for us was to get to the finish. The Acropolis is such a huge event so to finish first time of asking is quite nice. If [I did not have the] puncture who knows but everything has reasons I guess. Thank you to the team and the spectators. It’s been an incredible week.”

Next up for the Turkish talent is the Cyprus Rally from 15-17 June.

Avcioǧlu, pictured at the start beneath the Acropolis in Athens, donned special commemorative overalls for the EKO Acropolis Rally to mark his recent marriage. 

The post From the aisle to the ERC top 10: Avcioǧlu reflects on big week appeared first on FIA ERC.

To the capital they will come: Nicosia street stage for ERC counter

Tue, 06/12/2018 - 12:00

The FIA European Rally Championship drivers contesting this week’s Cyprus Rally will be converging on Nicosia on Sunday morning for the ever-exciting superspecial.

Based around the Markos Drakos area in the centre of the Cypriot capital, Nicosia SSS is a 4.82-kilometre test of speed and precision as drivers negotiate the challenging layout, which has become a huge magnet for fans in recent years.

First run in 2014 to mark the Cyprus Rally’s return to the ERC roster following a 15-year absence, the ground-breaking street stage received widespread praise for crossing through the United Nations-controlled Buffer Zone between Nicosia’s Greek Cypriot and Turkish inhabited areas. It also created considerable interest, including within the UN.

However, while the stage remains on the 2018 itinerary, what have been described by the event organisers as “technical issues” means the stage won’t venture into Turkish-controlled Northern Cyprus this year. Nevertheless, it will be one of the highlights of this year’s Cyprus Rally when it takes place from 09h36 local time on Sunday 17 June.

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Saintéloc youngsters bid for ERC3 glory

Tue, 06/12/2018 - 06:00

Saintéloc Junior Team drivers Catie Munnings and Laurent Pellier will form part of an exciting ERC3 line-up on this week’s Cyprus Rally.

While Briton Munnings is a regular in the category, her French team-mate Pellier (pictured) is stepping back from the FIA ERC Junior Under 28 Championship to showcase the pace and strength of the PEUGEOT 208, which he used to claim one-make title glory in his native France last season.

“It's a huge pleasure to take part on the mythical Cyprus Rally,” said Pellier. “I would like to thank the Saintéloc Junior Team for this opportunity and their trust. I can’t wait to get back behind the steering wheel of the PEUGEOT 208 R2. It’s an enjoyable and easy car to drive, reliable and good for young drivers. My goal is to win the 2WD class and show the PEUGEOT 208 is the reference in the R2 class.”

Of Pellier's likely opposition, aside from Munnings, Russia’s Artur Muradian was quick but out of luck in Greece earlier this month, while Canary Islander Emma Falcón won stages and plaudits on the Acropolis for not giving up despite worsening brake problems.

And her determination was rewarded with top ERC Ladies’ Trophy points. Hungarian Norbert Bereczki makes his ERC3 debut, while Cypriots Christos Mannouris and Constantinos Televantos complete the ERC3 contingent in their two-wheel-drive machines.

The post Saintéloc youngsters bid for ERC3 glory appeared first on FIA ERC.

ERC champions past and present impress in Sardinia

Mon, 06/11/2018 - 18:00

Three notable winners of the FIA European Rally Championship were on impressive form when the world championship Rally Italia Sardegna took place last week.

Esapekka Lappi, the ERC champion of 2014, finished third while his former factory ŠKODA team-mate Jan Kopecký, ERC champion in 2013, took the WRC2 laurels in a fine eighth overall.

Meanwhile, Kajetan Kajetanowicz (pictured), the winner of the last three ERC titles, claimed a strong seventh on his step up to the global stages with his LOTOS Rally Team Ford Fiesta R5 setting top-three stage times in class to boot.

“We have finished an extremely difficult Rally Italia Sardegna and our stage times allowed us to claim second position in this leg,” said Pole Kajetanowicz, who was beginning a new partnership with co-driver Maciej Szczepaniak. “I was the only WRC2 rookie here and we managed to set some top-three times. I had not expected it before the start because I know the rhythm of getting to know the characteristics of a given rally and you cannot take express classes on this subject.

“We have learned a lot over the course of the weekend, we know what can be improved. I want to thank everyone for their huge support.”

The post ERC champions past and present impress in Sardinia appeared first on FIA ERC.

Golden Stage back for ERC Cyprus Rally

Mon, 06/11/2018 - 12:00

The Cyprus Rally’s popular Golden Stage format is back for 2018 with drivers from the FIA European Rally Championship in contention for a cash boost.

Event organisers have pledged a prize fund of 6000 euros to be shared between the overall fastest driver, the top 2WD competitor and the leading Cypriot crew when taking into account the combined results of the rally’s final two stages on Sunday 17 June.

The PSALTIS AUTOPARTS Golden Stage 1 covers a distance of 12.67 kilometres from 15h28 local time. ENEOS Golden Stage 2, which measures 19.82 kilometres in length, is the final stage of the rally and is due to get underway at 16h53.

The post Golden Stage back for ERC Cyprus Rally appeared first on FIA ERC.

Al-Attiyah: there is no secret to success on Cyprus ERC counter

Mon, 06/11/2018 - 06:00

The most successful driver in Cyprus Rally history says hard work and experience are key to his record number of event wins as opposed to any secret ingredient.

Nasser Al-Attiyah’s tally of five victories on the FIA European Rally Championship qualifier is one more than rallying legend Sébastien Loeb notched up.

When Al-Attiyah’s eight victories on the country’s Troodos Rally – a former FIA Middle East championship fixture – are taken into account then it’s little wonder why the Qatari is ranked as a major force to be reckoned with.

“There is no secret but I work very hard and we have the experience,” said the Autotek Motorsport Ford Fiesta R5 driver. “The rally is a mix between slow stage, medium stage and fast stage and we need to manage the speed on the different stage.”

And of the gruelling ambient and ground temperatures expected in Cyprus this week, Al-Attiyah is no fazed: “The hot weather is no problem because we do a lot of race like the Dakar Rally where we stay 12 hours inside the car in hot temperatures. But we know this race is really hard and very hot. It’s my favourite rally and we try to do our best.”

The Cyprus Rally is based in Larnaca from 15-17 June.

The post Al-Attiyah: there is no secret to success on Cyprus ERC counter appeared first on FIA ERC.

He’s back: Štajf returns to ERC in Cyprus

Sun, 06/10/2018 - 06:00

Vojtéch Štajf, who battled Dávid Botka for the ERC2 title in 2015, will be returning to the Cyprus Rally three years after last taking part on the challenging gravel event, the fourth round of the FIA European Rally Championship season.

Štajf, a guest entrant for the ACCR Czech Team in Cyprus, is contesting a programme of Czech and Middle East championship events in 2018 but is eligible for ERC points in Cyprus where he will drive a ŠKODA Fabia R5 for his own team, Racing 21.

“My first and only start in Cyprus was in 2015 with a Subaru Impreza when I finished third in ERC2,” said the popular Czech driver. “In 2018 my plan is to enter selected MERC events to present my team and possibly search for a customer in 2019 in this championship. So I did the Jordan Rally in April, finishing second behind Nasser Al-Attiyah.

“I liked Cyprus very much three years ago and the organisers are very kind and helpful, the special stages are demanding and it counts both for ERC and MERC so I have decided to omit round four of the Czech championship and start in Cyprus the very same weekend instead.

“I am quite curious how fast can I be here with an R5 car, where I still lack experience on gravel, as this will be my only third start with R5 on loose surface. It is attractive for me to compare with the regular ERC field as there is much bigger competition than in MERC rallies, but I will definitely focus more on MERC points than ERC.”

Marcela Ehlová will co-drive Štajf in Cyprus after she returned to competition one month ago.

The post He’s back: Štajf returns to ERC in Cyprus appeared first on FIA ERC.

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ORLEN 74 Rally Poland / Rajd Polski

ORLEN 74 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)