Polykarpou primed for ERC2 glory at home

Polykarpou primed for ERC2 glory at home

16.06.2018: FIA European Rally Championship 2018: Round 4 of 8 Cyprus Rally: Leg one Saturday, June 16th 2018 Panikos Polykarpou heads a provisional podium position lockout of Cypriots in the FIA European Rally Championshipís ERC2 category after Leg One of th


FIA European Rally Championship 2018: Round 4 of 8
Cyprus Rally: Leg one
Saturday, June 16th 2018




Panikos Polykarpou heads a provisional podium position lockout of Cypriots in the FIA European Rally Championship’s ERC2 category after Leg One of the Cyprus Rally, leading by 19.8s from compatriot Petros Panteli.



 Psaltis Auto Parts driver Polykarpou continued on from his overall podium in last year’s event with a strong Saturday performance, winning four stages from six. However, those two stages which Polykarpou could not win were instead topped by Q8 Oils Rally Team pilot Panteli, who recovered 7.2s from Polykarpou to keep ERC2’s lead battle alive and well.



 As many R5 specification cars in the ERC’s top tier hit trouble, the production-spec Mitsubishi Lancers in ERC2 remained tough, with only one retirement all day amongst the support class field.



Andreas Psaltis had been locked in a fight over second place with Panteli on Saturday morning, but steering failure in SS3 sent him into a ditch, causing a red flag and his retirement.



His exit allowed Michalis Posedias to elevate his Autotelio Lancer Evo X into an overnight podium position, holding station in third throughout the remainder of Saturday, 56.9s behind category leader Polykarpou. Behind a trio of local experts were a pair of familiar ERC faces.




 Juan Carlos Alonso came closest to breaking a Cypriot podium lockout in Leg One, finishing Saturday 1m26.5s behind Polykarpou. Alonso’s efforts were compromised by being first on the road, leading ERC’s entire 28-car contingent into every stage.



This meant suffering through road sweeping duties, cleaning a path for those who followed. Italian Zelindo Melegari was pleased to complete a trouble free day in fifth place, 3m02.8s behind Polykarpou.



 Despite his gap to the Cypriot frontrunners, it was a welcomed improvement for Melegari after suffering mechanical woes throughout this season to date.
 


What’s next?
Sunday’s closing leg, the longest of the rally at 114.29 kilometres, features seven stages starting with the 24.50-kilometre Cyta Yeri test from 08h43 local time.



Among the highlights will be the superspecial stage through the streets of the Cypriot capital Nicosia from 09h36 and PSALTIS AUTOPARTS Golden Stage 1 and ENEOS Golden Stage 2, which bring the ERC counter to a close and carry a cash prize. Click here for results and live timing.
 


      

Richard Rodgers, photos FIA ERC

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16.06.2018 / MaP

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