Nasser Al-Attiyah came out victorious of a drama-filled Cyprus Rally, scoring a record-braking five victories in the sunshine island, surpassing Sebastien Loeb’s four victories. The Qatari driver also clinched victory in the Love Cyprus Golden Stage garnering 10,000 euro in prize money.
This year’s rally confirmed its name as one of the most difficult events in the European Rally Championship (ERC) as ERC title hopefuls, front runner Bruno Magalhaes with his brother Hugo (Skoda Fabia R5) and Kajetan Kajetanowicz with Jaroslav Baran on board a Ford Fiesta R5, along with Castrol Ford Team Turkiye’s Murat Bostanci retired after an exit in the same corner of SS6. Latvia’s Nikolay Gryazin with Yaroslav Fedorov also driving a Skoda Fabia R5 also retired leaving Al Attiyah essentially to win uncontested with a considerable margin of over six minutes from second placed and first among local crews Simos Galatariotis with Antonis Ioannou on board a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X. Panicos Polykarpou and Gerald Winter driving a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX filled the third podium place. Christos Demosthenous and Pambos Laos driving a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX was fourth overall, followed by Albert Von Thurn Und Taxis on board a Skoda Fabia R5.
The battle for top honours among Cypriot crews had its own share of drama, as 2007 Cyprus Rally winner, Charalambos Timotheou behind the wheel of a Skoda Fabia R5 retired on SS6 with a broken steering, leaving Alexandros Tsouloftas, in the second place overall and as a clear favourite among the local crews. However, a double puncture in SS10 decimates its podium chances and drops him in 12th place overall. AS a consolation, Tsouloftas won top honours among local crews in the Love Cyprus Golden Stage collecting 7,000 euros in prize money.
Furthermore, Cypriot Zacharias Manoli driving Honda Civic Type R won the fastest time among two-wheel-drive cars collecting an additional 7,000 eurp. Cypriot Panayiotis Xenophontos and navigator Andreas Xenophontos driving a Peugeot 206 RC won the RC3, while Turkey’s Umitcan Ozdemir and navigator Batuhan Memiziazici driving a Ford Fiesta R2T claimed the RC4 victory, over his Castrol Ford Team Turkiye-dominted RC4.
Alexandtros Tsouloftas received the Colin MCRae Flat-out Trophy from Jean-Baptiste Ley, an ERC top-official, while Tsouloftas also received a trophy concerning the fastest time in SS6 dedicated to the late Giorgos Kyprianou a young rally fan and son of Kypros Kyprianou, a former Cyprus Rally winner.
Overall classification after SS 14
1. Ν. Al-Attiyah – Mathhieu Baumel – Ford Fiesta R5 – 2:31:44.3
2. Simos Galatariotis – Antonis Ioannou – Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X – 2:37:56.3
3. Panikos Polykarpou– Gerald Winter – Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX – 2:38:03.8
4. Christos Demosthenous– Pambos Laos – Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX – 2:39:27.7
5. Albert Von Thurn Und Taxis – Bjorn Degand Skoda Fabia R5 – 2:40:06.6
6. Petros Panteli – Kyprianos Christodoulou Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 – 2:41:20.8
7. Savvas Savva– Andreas Papandreou - Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 – 2:41:39.4
8. Stavros Antoniou– Demetris Pieri– Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX – 2:42:16.4
9. Alexandros Tsouloftas – Stelios Elia –Citroen DS3 R5 – 2:43:47.5
10. Rauf Denktash – Dervis Bora Savarona – Ford Fiesta R5 – 2:44:21.7