Final countdown to Cyprus Rally 2012

Final countdown to Cyprus Rally 2012

01.11.2012: 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


With just one day to go until the start of this year’s much-anticipated Cyprus Rally, the organizers have been putting the final touches to what promises to be a terrific weekend of fast and furious action.


As both the season closer of the 2012 Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC), and the penultimate round of the 2012 FIA Middle East Rally Championship (MERC), this year’s Cyprus Rally has attracted an impressive line-up of international, regional and national drivers, including defending IRC champion Andreas Mikkelsen of Norway, and 2010 Cyprus Rally winner Nasser Al-Attiyah of Qatar.


Crews have been busy testing set-ups this week on stages similar to those that will feature in this weekend’s rally. Monday saw Al-Attiyah putting his Ford Fiesta RRC through its pre-event paces at Anadiou, while Tuesday saw Mikkelsen and Sepp Wiegand get a feel for the Cyprus conditions in their Skodas.


Andreas Aignier will be tackling the event in a Subaru Impreza with an eye on Production Car success, and other drivers spotted in the Cyprus countryside in preparation for the weekend have included Yazeed Al-Rajhi of Saudi Arabia (testing at Panagia) and Russia’s Vasily Gryazin (checking out his Ford Fiesta S2000 at Pomos), as well as acclaimed drivers such as Toshi Arai and Jarko Nikara.


Reconnaissance for Day 2 special stages took place yesterday (Wednesday), while today (Thursday) sees crews conduct reconnaissance of the Day 1 stages and the LTV Special Stage in Pafos, which gets the event underway tomorrow evening.


Andreas Mikkelsen currently leads the IRC in his Fabia S2000 with an unassailable 136 points, which means that he will essentially enjoy a 3-day victory lap here this weekend. He has no plans to take it easy though. Speaking to the Cyprus Rally press office ahead of the event, Mikkelsen said: “For sure I want to win in Cyprus and that’s what we’ll be trying to do.


That’s the only reason we come to do a rally… to win, and we’ll all be trying one hundred percent to finish the 2012 IRC season off with another win.” Mikkelsen went on to admit that he will face tough competition from Qatar’s Nasser Al-Attiyah, who has enjoyed a string of Cyprus victories: “Nasser is a very good driver and I think he’ll have an advantage with the turbo-charged Fiesta RRC. It should be a good fight and I’m looking forward to it.”


Al-Attiyah currently sits joint 2nd on the MERC leaderboard, alongside Lebanon’s Roger Feghali. The pair are 9 points behind championship leader Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari of Qatar (also here this weekend with a MINI JCW), so fans can expect a no-holds-barred battle for points among the MERC drivers. With the Cyprus event also counting towards this year's IRC Production Cup, and the IRC 2WD Cup, fans can be sure there’ll be plenty of blisteringly fast rally action.


The 2012 Cyprus Rally gets off to a flying start tomorrow (Friday) at 19:00hrs with Special Stage 1 - the 3.2km all-tarmac LTV Super Special Stage - which will see competitors race through the narrow streets of Pafos. 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.


The finish will take place outside Pafos Town Hall at 17:30 on Sunday.


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 further information, visit the official event website at www.cyprusrally.com.cy



Chris Christodoulou –

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/irc-countdown-cyprus-rally-2012---104838.html

01.11.2012 / MaP

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