Andreas Mikkelsen makes flying start to Cyprus Rally

Andreas Mikkelsen makes flying start to Cyprus Rally

02.11.2012: 2012 Cyprus Rally - 2nd-4th November 2012 - Round 13 of 2012 Intercontinental Rally Challenge - Round 5 of 2012 FIA Middle East Rally Championship

2012 Cyprus Rally - 2nd-4th November 2012




- Round 13 of 2012 Intercontinental Rally Challenge

- Round 5 of 2012 FIA Middle East Rally Championship




2012 Cyprus Rally: Final event of 2012 Intercontinental Rally Challenge; Penultimate round of FIA Middle East Rally Championship


The much-anticipated 2012 Cyprus Rally got underway tonight with a thrilling Super Special Stage in downtown Pafos – the west coast resort town that is hosting this year’s event.


In a thrilling display of driving, Norway’s Andreas Mikkelsen steered his Skoda Fabia S2000 to a winning time of just 2m 48.6s to take this evening’s all-tarmac LTV Super Special Stage 4.4s faster than 2nd placed Jarkko Nikara of Finland in his Subaru Impreza.


Fielding a Ford Fiesta RRC, Nasser Al-Attiyah of Qatar was next fastest through the stage, scoring the same time as Toshi Arai in his Subaru Impreza. Both drivers finished the stage 5.7s behind Mikkelsen.


Tonight’s impressive drive sees defending IRC champ Mikkelsen carry a 4.4 second overnight lead into Day 1 of the event tomorrow, which kicks off at 07:15 from the Service Park, located just metres from the Mediterranean at Pafos’ attractive harbour.


In a scintillating super special, an impressive array of national, regional and international drivers showed terrific pace, flying through the narrow streets of Pafos at breakneck speed.


The stage attracted droves of spectators who saw Germany’s Sepp Wiegand (Skoda Fabia S2000) come through 5th fastest, Saudi Arabia’s Yazeed Al-Rajhi (Skoda Fabia S2000) 6th, France’s Robert Consani (Renault Clio R3) 7th,  Cyprus’s Paraskevas Paraskeva (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX) 8th, and Austria’s Andreas Aigner (Subaru Impreza) 9th. Hungary’s Miklos Bujdos, steering a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX, rounds off the top 10 fastest drivers through the stage.


While Mikkelsen has already effectively secured the 2012 IRC title, he has promised a competitive drive in his Skoda here this weekend. But despite the Norwegian’s early lead, Qatari ace Al-Attiyah won’t make it easy for him.




Al-Attiyah has chalked up an impressive number of wins on Cyprus events and will be keen to bring his experience to bear this weekend and take maximum points in his quest to secure the 2012 FIA Middle East Championship title.


With the Cyprus event also counting towards this year's IRC Production Cup, and the IRC 2WD Cup, fans can be sure there’s plenty more blisteringly fast rally action to come.


The mixed-surface event will play out over the next two days and will take in some of the island’s most breathtaking scenery. Rally fans are encouraged to take note of the change in itinerary announced by the Cyprus Rally organizers this week, which essentially saw the Saturday and Sunday programmes swapped.


Tomorrow will see competitors tackle six special stages in the countryside east of Pafos. The first car will enter the first stage of the day SS2 (Koilinia) – a mostly gravel stage – at 08:13, and SS3 (Salamiou) – 57% tarmac – at 09:16. Crews will then tackle SS4 (Panayia) – 100% gravel – from 09:59, before returning to service in Pafos at 11:49. After exiting service at 12:19, drivers will repeat the morning stages – SS5 (Koilinia) at 13:17, SS6 (Salamiou) at 14:20, and SS7 (Panayia) at 15:03.


The 2012 Cyprus Rally will see crews cover a total of 694.76km, of which 237.14km will be special stages. 30.97% (73.45km) of the stages will be tarmac, and 69.03% (163.69km) gravel.


For up-to-the-minute results and updates, visit the official event website at www.cyprusrally.com.cy



Chris Christodoulou – also photos

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/cyprus-rally-andreas-mikkelsen-flying-start-middle-east-championship---104861.html

02.11.2012 / MaP

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