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European Rally Championship
Updated: 39 min 57 sec ago

Stage eight not great for Hungarian ERC drivers

Sun, 09/29/2019 - 12:59

Hungarian FIA European Rally Championship drivers Tibor Érdi Jr and Norbert Herczig endured a stage eight to forget on the Cyprus Rally this morning.

Érdi Jr went off the road and filled his ŠKODA Fabia R5’s radiator with mud, while Herczig was delayed when he damaged the front-left corner of his Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 on the same run, completing the morning loop in rear-wheel drive.

“We go to a small river and the radiator is too much [full of] mud and the car temperature is higher,” said Érdi Jr, the double ERC2 champion. “We save the motor on eco mode, we slowly go. The last stage was fully in safety mode but the guys can fix the problem in service.”

MOL Racing Team driver Herczig, a four-time winner of his national championship and a podium finisher in Cyprus last season, said: “In the middle of the stage we went a little bit in one tree with the front-left wheel and the driveshaft came out of the gearbox and we didn’t have four-wheel drive. We don’t want this trouble but it’s part of the sport. We are happy to be at service.”

With three stages of the 2019 Cyprus Rally remaining, Herczig is P11 with Érdi Jr slipping to P15.

The post Stage eight not great for Hungarian ERC drivers appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Yiangou explains his ERC Cyprus leg one retirement

Sun, 09/29/2019 - 12:40

Panayiotis Yiangou’s hopes of a first FIA European Rally Championship top 10 were ended on the afternoon loop of Cyprus Rally’s first loop, though the Cypriot is back on the road for the second day.

Driving for his family’s eponymous Yiangou Motorsport Ltd outfit, Yiangou had called it quits after stage four on Saturday and drove straight back to service in host city Nicosia.

“We had an impact against the sump guard and destroyed it, so we had to stop. It was completely destroyed after hitting it somewhere in a bumpy road,” explained Yiangou.

“We try today to finish and enjoy the rally.”

However, another member of the Yiangou clan is on target to score some ERC silverware, with Panayiotis’s mother Litsa currently running second in the ERC Ladies’ class with a Subaru Impreza.

The post Yiangou explains his ERC Cyprus leg one retirement appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Galatariotis needs a “miracle” in the ERC at home again

Sun, 09/29/2019 - 12:34

Home hero Simos Galatariotis needs a “miracle” to repeat his 2018 Cyprus Rally victory.

With three stages of the FIA European Rally Championship counter left to run, the Petrolina Racing Team driver is third overall, 2m48.3s adrift of leader Nasser Al-Attiyah.

Although he scored a sensational final-stage victory in Cyprus last season, he concedes that hopes of a repeat are almost zero.

“We have two guys in front of us who will settle now and take it easy, keep their positions,” said Galatariotis, who is 1m57.4s behind second-placed Alexey Lukyanuk. “It would be a miracle if we win but a podium will happen, no problem. For sure that would be a great result. Chris Ingram and Łukasz Habaj are very fast drivers. To be faster than them without having their experience, their constant touch makes me very happy.”

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Al-Rashed focused on ERC future after difficult Cyprus debut

Sun, 09/29/2019 - 12:25

Rakan Al-Rashed is looking towards his next rally after a disappointing turn of events on the Cyprus Rally, as his hopes of a strong result in the FIA European Rally Championship were extinguished by a power steering fire.

From the very first stage the Toksport WRT driver’s luck was nowhere to be seen, as a throttle pedal issue cost him several minutes on the first two stages and eventually forced him to retire from the first leg.

His Sunday comeback on leg two was even shorter lived, as a power steering failure on the opening test caused a fire that forced him to retire again, this time for good.

“This weekend is not for us. We keep having one thing after another happen,” explained Al-Rashed, who is co-driven by three-time ERC rally winner Hugo Magalhães.

“This morning, around eight kilometres into the stage, I felt something was wrong with the steering. It was too heavy. My first thought was a puncture, so we stopped. It turned out we broke the steering, there was a leak and it caught fire.

“We had a really bad weekend but it's behind us now and I'm trying to think about the next event right now.”

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Llarena three stages from ERC3 Cyprus win

Sun, 09/29/2019 - 11:56

Efrén Llarena strengthened his Cyprus Rally lead in the FIA European Rally Championship’s ERC3 category with two stage wins on Sunday morning, further extending his margin over Erik Cais.

Llarena, who is making his debut with Peugeot Rally Academy this weekend as a reward for his form with Rallye Team Spain earlier in the season, won the two long stages to gain 25.6s over Cais (ACCR Czech Rally Team).

"We tried to be clean, not to do mistakes," said Llarena. "On the second stage we had some overheating with the brakes but the time was not so bad. After that, we tried to manage the situation to avoid mistakes, so that's the plan for the next loop."

Cais took a stage win on the shorter loop-ending Asinou test but only reclaimed 0.6s, with Llarena’s lead now at 1m14.3s.

It was a marked improvement from leg one, which featured a confidence-sapping spin early on Saturday. A much happier Cais found leg two’s stages “great fun” with a “great feeling”.

Orhan Avcioğlu (Toksport WRT) unexpectedly found himself in a battle to keep third place against Florian Bernardi, as a one minute penalty for a technical infringement meant Avcioğlu started leg two only 0.4s ahead of the Frenchman.

He quickly pulled away, however, building a gap of over a minute across the morning loop’s three stages.

Fifth-placed Constantinos Televantos (Q8 Oils Rally Team) faced an unusual problem during his morning run. He caught one of the privateer Group-N specification Subaru Imprezas not registered for ERC points on the first two stages of the loop, though his comfortable time gap to sixth place meant his top five remains secure.

Ekaterina Stratieva (Saintéloc Junior Team) is on course for a crucial ERC Ladies victory in sixth place, which would give her enough points to keep the title fight alive to the final round of the season, Rally Hungary. She has a sizeable lead over Litsa Yiangou (Yiangou Motorsport Ltd), who is driving a Subaru Impreza STI.

The post Llarena three stages from ERC3 Cyprus win appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Alonso brake problems return while Panteli remains unstoppable in ERC2

Sun, 09/29/2019 - 11:25

Petros Panteli is on course for his second consecutive Cyprus Rally win in the FIA European Rally Championship’s ERC2 category, while Juan Carlos Alonso “won’t surrender” despite brake failure hurting his hopes of securing the title.

Q8 Oils Rally Team’s production class driver went fastest on all three stages to further secure his lead, but it wasn’t a trouble-free run. His Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X has been carrying a camshaft issue since yesterday afternoon, affecting power output at the lower end of the rev range.

But there’s no risk to his position with eight minutes in hand on Antonis Chilimintris in second place, who is “in a slower mood” thanks to points for the Cypriot championship already banked from yesterday.

Behind the local duo, Juan Carlos Alonso is looking to wrap-up a maiden ERC2 title but almost immediately hit trouble on the opening stage of the loop, Kapouras.

A brake fluid leak on leg one’s penultimate stage had already set him back and a similar issue cropped up only a few minutes into leg two, with air in the brake system leaving him unable to stop properly.

He pulled over to attempt repairs and lost over 13 minutes, then limped through the remaining two stages slowly, even having to drive into a bank on purpose just to get stopped at stage end.

Alonso remains determined to get back to service and finish the rally, with points for the fourth place he currently occupies enough to secure the ERC2 title with a round to spare. A retirement would leave Abarth Rally Cup frontrunners like Andrea Nucita and Dariusz Poloński mathematically in contention for the season finale, Rally Hungary.

“We have air in the brakes again. It’s not possible to drive like this, but we never surrender. Never. We take some air out in the stage and it works a little. We are here.”

Dmitry Feofanov (Sporta Klubs Autostils Rally Team) was the main beneficiary of Alonso’s brake woes, moving up to third place with over 11 minutes and counting in hand over Alonso.

Louis Papageorgiou (SLT Rally Team) had been in fifth place overnight but did not take part in the second leg, retiring in service before the first stage of the day.

Photo: Chris Rawes

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Midfield ERC battles intensify in Cyprus as Al-Attiyah cements lead

Sun, 09/29/2019 - 10:58

Nasser Al-Attiyah remains on top of the FIA European Rally Championship classification on the Cyprus Rally, but behind him several battles kicked up a gear, including between two title contenders.

There was a near-miss for the Qatari driver on the final stage of the loop, going off-road to avoid a rock in the road. But that didn't prevent him from taking a trio of stage wins on Sunday morning, and ensured the five-time Cyprus Rally winner doubled his advantage over reigning ERC champion Alexey Lukyanuk (Saintéloc Junior Team) to 50.9s. It was a deliberate strategy to push in the morning by the Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 driver, who plans to be “careful” this afternoon.

Lukyanuk scored the second fastest time on all three stages this morning to further secure his position, with Simos Galatariotis (Petrolina Racing Team) also holding station in third place.

Behind those occupying the podium places it was all action. ERC points leader Chris Ingram (Toksport WRT) and Łukasz Habaj (Sports Racing Technologies), who had been leading the championship for the first half of the season, resumed their battle for fourth position, with Ingram initially pulling away by 6.4s on Kapouras.

Habaj struck back on Kourdali, wiping out his earlier losses by going 9.4s faster than this year’s ERC1 Junior runner-up*, which reduced the deficit to just 6.2s.

But Habaj’s hard work came undone on the loop-ending Asinou test, by far the shortest run of the day after a pair of stages over 20 kilometres in length. A spin left him stuck between a bank and a ditch, requiring some careful reversing to get going again and costing him half a minute.

The reigning Azores Rallye winner is now 36.1s off Ingram’s fourth place, though is still secure in fifth, thanks to his 38.7s advantage over Mikko Hirvonen (MM-Motorsport).

Though Hirvonen had previously driven many of the roads being used on Sunday’s itinerary during his spell in the World Rally Championship, it didn’t give the Finn much of an advantage. He picked up a pair of eighth-fastest stage times and a seventh-fastest time on the middle stage of the loop, Kourdali, with his progress was hindered by a broken roll bar.

Seventh place was a hotly contested five-way fight, as drivers making up for lost time on Saturday began to surge up the field.

Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari had started the day in eighth but his position as second car on the road was unhelpful. He was the first driver in the five-way battle to fall back, dropping straight to P11 after leg two’s opening test.

Norbert Herczig (MOL Racing Team) and Niki Mayr-Melnhof were the main beneficiaries, jumping up to eighth and ninth after starting the day ninth and P11 respectively. But from there, their fortunes diverged.

A broken front driveshaft from a hard landing left Herczig’s car with two-wheel drive, costing him nearly four minutes across the next two stages and pushing him down to P11, behind Al-Kuwari.

Mayr-Melnhof on the other hand was on a charge. He had been held back by a variety of technical issues on the first leg but with his car back to full strength, he set top six stage times on all three tests in the morning loop.

Eighth was his when Herczig’s driveshaft problems emerged on stage eight, which became seventh when Mayr-Melnhof eclipsed Albert von Thurn und Taxis (Baumschlager Rallye & Racing).

Emilio Fernàndez (Toksport WRT) had started the day P10 and gained one place amid the midfield shuffle but is now a minute behind von Thurn und Taxis, with Al-Kuwari 24.7s behind in P10.

There was plenty of action in the battle for P12 between ŠKODA Fabia R5 pair Paulo Nobre (Palmeirinha Rally) and Tibor Érdi Jr. (Érdi Team Kft.). A solid time from Érdi promoted him to P12 by just 0.1s after the first stage, but then water temperature issues set in, costing him over a minute and dropping him to P14.

More bad luck came Rakan Al-Rashed’s way: after retiring with a throttle issue early on the first leg, he retired on the first stage of leg two, bringing his rally to an end.

Petros Panteli (Q8 Oils Rally Team) is all set for a home victory in the ERC2 production category, while Efrén Llarena (Peugeot Rally Academy) further extended his lead in the ERC3 category.

*Subject to confirmation of results by the FIA

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Deciding Cyprus leg live on ERC Radio and Facebook

Sun, 09/29/2019 - 07:00

The deciding leg of the Cyprus Rally will be live on ERC Radio with a Facebook Live of stages nine and 12 also scheduled.

ERC Radio’s coverage begins at 08h45 local time with Julian Porter and Chris Rawes reporting live from all stage finishes throughout the day.

ERC Radio is available at FIAERC.com and via the ERC app. The ERC’s Facebook page is available here.

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First for Fernández: Chilean leads the ERC field in Cyprus

Sun, 09/29/2019 - 06:00

Emilio Fernández will open the road on leg two of the Cyprus Rally, round seven of the 2019 FIA European Rally Championship.

The Chilean, making his ERC debut for Toksport WRT, will be the first driver to tackle Sunday’s six stages, starting with the 20.17-kilometre Sigan Management Kapouras test at 08h49 local time.

Nasser Al-Attiyah, the event leader following Saturday’s opening leg, starts P10 with second-placed Alexey Lukyanuk one place ahead of the Qatari in ninth.

Thirty-nine crews feature on the start list for leg two. Click here to view the leg two start list.

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Érdi Jr on Cyprus ERC delay

Sat, 09/28/2019 - 19:00

Tibor Érdi Jr has spoken of his disappointment after his wait to score points in the FIA European Rally Championship’s top tier goes on.

Double ERC2 champion Érdi Jr was seventh overall when he suffered a front-right puncture on his ŠKODA Fabia R5 on stage five. He’s down in P13 at the overnight halt in Nicosia.

“It was after half of the stage and we stopped to change but it was not too quick,” said the Hungarian. “It’s life, it was a hit in the corner.”

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ERC title contender Habaj on guard on Cyprus debut

Sat, 09/28/2019 - 19:00

FIA European Rally Championship title contender Łukasz Habaj will remain firmly on his guard on the closing day of the Cyprus Rally.

The Pole is fifth overnight on his first appearance on event, which he’s contesting in a Sports Racing Technologies-run ŠKODA Fabia R5.

“It’s been difficult but mostly because of our lack of experience which caused some small mistakes in the set-up and the car was not working perfectly, especially on the first and third stage,” Habaj said.

“There was more grip in the afternoon but it was still extremely demanding because the roads are more destroyed. We had a slow puncture but luckily we managed to be at the end.

“Tomorrow is a big day, it’s hard to believe but it’s going to be more difficult than today. You have two long stages and the day is going to be longer, so even more hard. You have to stay focused calm and concentrated. It requires a completely different style of driving – you have to really watch the road and avoid surprises and traps so it’s mostly about endurance and not really speed.”

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Ingram vows to go on full attack in the ERC

Sat, 09/28/2019 - 18:30

Chris Ingram is planning a full-attack set-up as he bids to climb the Cyprus Rally leaderboard on Sunday.

The FIA European Rally Championship leader is fourth at the end of leg one and two places behind title rival Alexey Lukyanuk on his debut on the challenging gravel event.

He hopes his Toksport WRT ŠKODA Fabia R5 can be more potent on Sunday’s six stages following changes in service in Nicosia this evening.

“I’m very happy with how I’ve driven today considering the set-up I’ve been on because it’s been far too stiff,” said Ingram. “We’ve gone way too conservative to avoid damaging anything in the bumps and bad dips. That’s the way it is but tomorrow we need a full-attack set-up, which is so much faster. Nobody has had problems today and maybe it’s because we were way, way too safe.”

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Llarena ahead in ERC3 as Cais rediscovers confidence

Sat, 09/28/2019 - 17:11

Efrén Llarena heads the FIA European Rally Championship’s ERC3 category over Erik Cais on the sun-baked Cyprus Rally.

Making his first appearance with the factory-backed Peugeot Rally Academy team, Llarena took the opportunity with both hands, winning all three stages on the morning loop.

Czech federation-backed Cais (ACCR Czech Rally Team) bounced back after a “scary” spin in the morning that had dented his confidence with a stage win on the afternoon pass of Politiko, taking 12.3s out of Llarena.

“We had a puncture on the first stage of the loop, a slow puncture on the rear, so we tried to manage the speed to try and not run the tyre flat,” Llarena said, explaining some of his time loss.

But on the next text, it was back to business as usual for Llarena.

The recently crowned ERC3 Junior champion* took 16s out of Cais on stage five, the lead gap settling at 49.6s after the loop-ending Nicosia superspecial.

Despite losing ground over the course of the afternoon loop, Cais was feeling much more positive at the end of the day.

“It was good. I felt pretty low [before service]. It was better than the morning,” said Cais. “It was quite good, we changed the set-up with my engineer and now I feel much more confident with the steering and everything.”

Orhan Avcioğlu (Toksport WRT) was left frustrated from start to finish on the first leg, complaining his car was down on power. The root cause was believed to be a sensor issue, with new sensors fitted at midday service.

But the swap made no difference, with Avcioğlu feeling “like I’m driving an R1 car,” referring to the class below the R2 and R3s used in ERC3.

Despite being starved of power, Avcioğlu reaffirmed his reputation as a superspecial demon, winning the day’s final stage around the streets of host city Nicosia by 0.4s from Llarena.

Avcioğlu has already scored an outright stage win in ERC, going fastest around the streets of Las Palmas on last year’s Rally Islas Canarias, when he piloted a ŠKODA Fabia R5 for Toksport.

Though the stage win made little difference to his overall position, he's a comfortable third place in class, one minute ahead of Florian Bernardi in fourth.

Bernardi is more at home on asphalt but is taking on the rough and tumble of the Cyprus Rally as learning experience on gravel, with himself and the team working on the car “step by step” to find more pace in his Renault Clio R3T.

Constantinos Televantos (Q8 Oils Rally Team) completes the top five in his Ford Fiesta R2, ahead of 2015 ERC Ladies' Trophy winner Ekaterina Stratieva (Saintéloc Junior Team), who was happy to survive the “really crazy” stages.

The Bulgarian is reacquainting herself to the championship in the boldest possible manner, as the notoriously rough and punishing Cyprus Rally is only her third event in the past two years.

Christos Mannouris has scored four class wins and two class podiums across various Cypriot rallies this season, but is unlikely to take home any silverware this weekend. He retired his Citroën DS3 R3T with a technical issue on the road section between stages one and two this morning, having already lost several minutes on the opening Politiko stage.

*Subject to confirmation of results by the FIA

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Panteli holds strong as Alonso’s ERC2 title hopes almost drain away

Sat, 09/28/2019 - 16:40

Juan Carlos Alonso’s hopes of wrapping up a first ERC2 title with one round left almost drained away with a brake fluid leak, while local expert Petros Panteli is on course for a second class win in as many years.

Panteli (Q8 Oils Rally Team) was a dominant force in the showroom category, winning every stage of leg one to establish a very comfortable advantage out front.

But behind Panteli, there was plenty of action in the battle for second place. Antonis Chilimintris had fallen into the clutches of ERC2 championship leader Alonso on stage two in the morning, due in part to an intercom failure leaving him unable to hear his pacenotes.

Alonso briefly took second, only for Chilimintris to take it right back on stage four. But then problems set in for Alonso – his Mitsubishi began leaking brake fluid on Lefkara, the longest stage of the rally at over 23 kilometres.

“We lost the brakes. We have a fluid leak. We've solved it but we don't have enough brake fluid left, so we solved it with water. It works!” said a relieved Alonso.

“We have a penalty as we're almost three minutes late, but it's good. We needed to take it easy on the last stage, but we've made it.”

That lateness added 30 seconds to his total time, pushing him back to 1m24.1s behind Chilimintris.

A final score of 18 points across the Cyprus Rally weekend will be enough for Alonso to mathematically secure the ERC2 title, with 15 on offer for third place which he still occupies, and five bonus points already in the bank from his leg one finishing position of third, providing he goes the distance.

Despite his late dramas Alonso’s third place is still secure, as Dmitry Feofanov (Sporta Klubs Autostils Rally Team) is several minutes behind.

Feofanov is competing in Cyprus for the first time and described the learning curve as “complicated,” although he is still on target for a top five finish in fourth place.

The Russian was able to gradually edge ahead of Louis Papageorgiou (SLT Rally Team) throughout the day, with the Cypriot completing the top five in his older Evolution IX-spec Mitsubishi Lancer.

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Lukyanuk keeps Al-Attiyah within reach in first day of Cyprus ERC action

Sat, 09/28/2019 - 16:33

Alexey Lukyanuk remains within touching distance of Cyprus Rally leader Nasser Al-Attiyah after the first leg of FIA European Rally Championship action, gaining time back on the afternoon loop.

Al-Attiyah had dominated the morning loop of stages to build a lead of nearly half a minute, though had a scare at the end of stage three before midday service when his gear linkage broke, only able to continue as he discovered the missing pin in the sump guard.

There was a firm response from Lukyanuk in the afternoon, limiting his losses on the re-run of Politiko to 0.6s and then gaining 2.8s on the leader on the 23.23 kilometre Lefkara test, the longest stage of the rally.

“It was a good day for us,” said Al-Attiyah, a five-time winner of the event. “The previous stage was really hard, very tough, so we didn't take any risk, and we managed it with a good speed. We lost only three seconds to Lukyanuk. I'm quite happy and we have a good lead.”

Lukyanuk’s deficit to the rally leader is down to 25.4s and has a comfortable gap to third-placed Simos Galatariotis, the defending Cyprus Rally winner from last year.

A risky strategy was deployed by Galatariotis, who took only one spare tyre to save weight despite Cyprus Rally’s reputation for rough, rocky stages. It paid off though, as he doubled his advantage over the chasing back behind him.

ERC championship leader Chris Ingram (Toksport WRT), who turned to crowdfunding to help pay his way to Cyprus after missing out on the ERC1 Junior title by just 0.3s, is in fourth, retaking the place after losing it on stage four with an uncharacteristically slow time.

Third-fastest time on the re-run of Lefkara put him back ahead of fellow title contender Łukasz Habaj (Sports Racing Technologies), who finished the day 9.4s behind the Brit after leg one.

Mikko Hirvonen’s first day of ERC action in 17 years was mostly trouble-free, his biggest concern being brake fade from overheating mid-way through the longer stages. Though Hirvonen (MM-Motorsport) is a highly experienced driver with 15 wins at world championship level, a lack of recent experience on Cyprus Rally’s roads made it harder for the Finn to find a strong rhythm.

A much needed boost is on the cards for Albert von Thurn und Taxis. Baumschlager Rallye & Racing’s German prince is still looking for his first top 15 finish of the year, but was already running in the top 10 before moving into seventh on the afternoon pass of Lefkara.

That gain came at the expense of Tibor Érdi Jr. (Érdi Team Kft.), who had to stop and change a puncture and lost four minutes, falling out of the points places to P14. The reigning double ERC2 champion, who moved up to the top class with a ŠKODA Fabia R5 at the end of last year, was up to P13 by the end of the day.

Norbert Herczig (MOL Racing Team) rose from P33 to ninth by the end of the leg, scoring a string of top five stage times throughout the day. After starting the day with a two minute penalty, the Hungarian driver’s rapid pace has brought his gap to Al-Kuwari in eighth down to just 6.5s.

Emilio Fernàndez (Toksport WRT) had a strong afternoon on his first visit to the Cyprus Rally, picking up his pace on the second passes of Politiko and Lefkara. He moved from P11 to ninth on the latter, though was passed by Herczig on the day-ending Nicosia superspecial and dropped back to P10, 4.2s behind.

Both Herczig and Fernàndez benefitted from another nightmare stage for Niki Mayr-Melnhof. The Austrian privateer had already been delayed on the morning pass of Lefkara when his car’s dashboard lit up like “a Christmas tree”, only for the same thing to happen on the afternoon pass. He remains in the battle for eighth, however, only 16.6s off Al-Kuwari and 6.1s behind Fernàndez.

Petros Panteli (Q8 Oils Rally Team) further extended his lead in the ERC2 production category, while Efrén Llarena (Peugeot Rally Academy) continues to edge ahead of Erik Cais (ACCR Czech Rally Team) out front in ERC3.

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Al-Kuwari making up for lost time in the ERC

Sat, 09/28/2019 - 15:00

Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari admits his three-year break from rallying has slowed his pace on the penultimate round of the FIA European Rally Championship season in Cyprus.

The Qatari has two Cyprus Rally podiums to his name but is outside the top five following the fifth stage of the challenging gravel event.

“I have lost a lot of confidence because I have not been driving a lot,” said Al-Kuwari. “But we are trying to get the speed back.

“Starting fifth on the road meant there was not much grip on the road and it’s the first time in my life I drive these stages in this [high] road position.”

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ERC3 star Cais suffers “really scary” Cyprus moment

Sat, 09/28/2019 - 14:20

Czech federation-backed Erik Cais feared he would end up off the road during a “really scary” moment on stage two of the Cyprus Rally this morning.

The ex-downhill mountain bike racer, a frontrunner in the FIA European Rally Championship’s ERC3 category, was five kilometres from the start of the SPARCO-sponsored Kefkara stage when he hit trouble on a right-hand corner.

“I spin in a really bad place and I almost fell down one cliff to a lake, it was really scary,” said the ACCR Czech Rally Team driver. “After that I was really scared, without a good focus, so a really bad stage for me. I was also not too happy with the set-up of the car but what my engineer said was really good. We had more grip and the steering was more comfortable afterwards.”

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Hirvonen reveals pacenote challenge on ERC Cyprus Rally

Sat, 09/28/2019 - 14:07

Mikko Hirvonen says committing to his pacenotes is proving tough on his Cyprus return, his first appearance in the FIA European Rally Championship since 2002.

Hirvonen is sixth after four stages on what he’s treating as a “just for fun” outing in an MM-Motorsport Ford Fiesta R5.

“It’s been alright but I didn’t really have a good rhythm in stage two and three because I haven’t been driving in these kind of conditions for a long time,” said the ex-World Rally Championship factory driver, 39. “I lost the brakes for a few stages but in the end they came back a little bit.

“In [stage] rallying it’s more intense [than the Dakar] because you know every corner with the pacenotes and you are attacking a lot harder than on the Dakar. My pacenotes are fine but I am not committed enough – they would work fine but when the rhythm is changing, I am still doubting a little bit how fast I can go and how hard I can attack. For sure the driving is not exactly like it was 10 years ago, sorry, no five years ago, let’s not talk like it was too long ago!”.

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ERC3 Junior champion Llarena off to a flying start in Cyprus

Sat, 09/28/2019 - 12:42

Efrén Llarena has picked up from where he left off on the Cyprus Rally, moving straight into the lead of the FIA European Rally Championship’s ERC3 category on his first event since becoming ERC3 Junior champion.*

Fresh off victory on Barum Czech Rally Zlín last month, Llarena was immediately on the march in Cyprus, going fastest on all three stages of Saturday’s morning loop.

Llarena is also sporting unfamiliar colours on his Peugeot 208 R2. Having spent his Junior campaign with the RFEdeA federation-backed Rallye Team Spain, Llarena has now moved across to the factory-backed Peugeot Rally Academy team for Cyprus.

Erik Cais (ACCR Czech Rally Team) settled into second place but was unhappy with his own driving throughout, spinning out on the tricky second stage, which led to “many phone calls” as he tried to improve his Ford Fiesta R2T’s set-up on the road section.

An early favourite to keep Llarena on his toes was Orhan Avcioğlu (Toksport WRT), who finished fifth overall on this event last year with a ŠKODA Fabia R5. But a suspected sensor fault left Avcioğlu’s car down on power and he finished the loop over a minute off the lead, though still occupying the final podium place.

Tarmac expert Florian Bernardi is appearing in only his second gravel rally in the ERC but is already in fourth place, 28.4s shy of Avcioğlu ahead.

Constantinos Televantos (Q8 Oils Rally Team) completes the top five, while 2015 ERC Ladies champion Ekaterina Stratieva is in sixth and on course for a second consecutive ERC Ladies win this season.

Leg one of Christos Mannouris’s home ERC event was a short one, as a car problem on stage one dropped him seven minutes and then forced him to park up and retire on the road section to stage two.

*Subject to confirmation of results by the FIA

The post ERC3 Junior champion Llarena off to a flying start in Cyprus appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

Panteli tops early ERC2 order on home event

Sat, 09/28/2019 - 12:18

Petros Panteli put his local knowledge to good use in the opening three stages of the Cyprus Rally, establishing a comfortable lead in the FIA European Rally Championship’s ERC2 category.

His rivals were well aware of Cyprus Rally’s tough reputation, and the likes of championship leader Juan Carlos Alonso and Dmitry Feofanov (Sporta Klubs Autostils Rally Team) were cautious from the outset.

That allowed Panteli to put the hammer down and immediately lead the rally, though fellow Cypriot Antonis Chilimintris in another Mistubishi Lancer Evolution X was looking racy behind him.

But Chilimintris’s bid for victory took a knock when an intercom failure meant he couldn’t hear co-driver Stelios Elia’s pacenotes for the whole of stage two – which is the longest of the rally at 23.23 kilometres – and consequently lost over a minute to Panteli.

Alonso then passed Chilimintris for second place on Analiontas, the final stage of the opening loop, with the pair now separated by only 4.2 seconds.

Feofanov is the last of the Lancer Evolution X quartet, three minutes down on Chilimintris as he learns the rough Cyprus roads for the first time.

Louis Papageorgiou (SLT Rally Team) completes the top five in his older Mistubishi Lancer Evolution IX.

The post Panteli tops early ERC2 order on home event appeared first on FIA ERC | European Rally Championship.

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PZM 76th Rally Poland - Newsfeed LEG 2

PZM 76. Rajd Polski - Etap 2

Kalendarz 2019

21-23.03.2019:

Azores Airlines Rallye (Portugalia)

02-04.05.2019

Rally Islas Canarias (Hiszpania)

24-26 05.2019

Rally Liepāja (Łotwa)

28-30.06.2019

Rajd Polski

19-21.07.2019

Rally di Roma Capitale (Włochy)

16-18.08.2019

Barum Czech Rally Zlín (Czechy)

27-29.09.2019:

Cyprus Rally (Cypr)

08-10.11.2019:

Rally Hungary (Węgry)