Nasser Al-Attiyah takes Cyprus Rally win 2012

Nasser Al-Attiyah takes Cyprus Rally win 2012

04.11.2012: 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



After a gripping weekend’s action, Qatar’s Nasser Al-Attiyah charged to a flying victory on the Cyprus Rally today.


Displaying the skill that has seen him score numerous wins on Cyprus motorsport events, including victory at the 2010 Cyprus Rally, Al-Attiyah and co-driver Giovanni Bernacchini steered their Ford Fiesta RRC to a memorable 3 minute 35.3 second victory over closest rival Andreas Mikkelsen of Norway.


Mikkelsen won’t be feeling too distraught, however, as he’s still crowned the 2012 Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC) champion – making him the first driver to defend an IRC title. The final round of the 2012 IRC and the penultimate round of this year’s FIA Middle East Rally Championship (MERC), this year’s Cyprus Rally has delivered action and drama from the off, with Mikkelsen scoring a plethora of fastest stage times, including taking the early event lead on Friday night in his Skoda Fabia S2000, winning the thrilling Super Special Stage in downtown Pafos that got the event underway in dramatic style.


Things changed yesterday morning though, when puncture woes slowed Mikkelsen on the first stage of the day and allowed London 2012 Olympic medalist Al-Attiyah to charge to the head of the field in his Ford.




Mikkelsen continued to show blistering pace through the rest of the day, but it wasn’t enough to catch Al-Attiyah, who managed to clock up a 1m 30.2s overnight lead, with Mikkelsen 2nd and Qatar’s Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari 3rd in his MINI JCW. Al-Kuwari crashed out in his MINI on today’s first stage, however, and Al-Attiyah’s win here this weekend puts him at the head of the MERC leadership board (with 68 points) with just one event to go (in Dubai, later this month).


This morning saw the crews exit the Pafos Service Park under the heat of the Cyprus sun and Mikkelsen quickly showed he was in no mood for taking prisoners, delivering fastest times on each of the morning’s three stages. By lunchtime, Al-Attiyah had done enough to retain his overall event lead, but Mikkelsen was pressing hard and had reduced the gap between the two to 49 seconds.


Al-Attiyah was fastest out of the gate on the first of the afternoon’s repeat loop of stages, storming through the predominantly gravel Prodromi 2 stage (SS11) far faster than he managed earlier today. Mikkelsen’s chances of overall event victory were effectively scuppered on SS11 when a puncture caused him a huge delay, losing a full 1 minute 55.1 seconds against his Qatari rival. Andreas Aigner came through the stage 2nd fastest.


Al-Attiyah continued to stamp his authority on the all-gravel Gialia stage, widening the gap between him and 2nd fastest Mikkelsen by a further 5.6 seconds. Sepp Wiegand and Andreas Aigner managed 3rd and 4th fastest, while Toshi Arai continued to show category-leading pace in 5th, followed by Jarkko Nikara.



Al-Attiyah finished the event in style, flying through the final stage of the day – the all-tarmac SS13 Stavros 2 – faster than the rest of the field. Arai finished the stage 3rd fastest, behind Nikara. Arai’s performance was enough to see him finish the event in 3rd place overall and as the 1st among the IRC Production Cup drivers.


Britain’s Harry Hunt secured himself the IRC 2WD Cup here this weekend in his Citroen DS3. He started the event locked in a battle with France’s Robert Consani (Renault Clio R3) but Consani’s event ended in SS4, leaving the route to the 2WD Cup clear for Hunt who just had to finish the event. It wasn’t all bad news for Consani, however.


Difficult drives for his IRC Production Cup rivals here this weekend mean that Consani’s 97 points are enough to secure him the 2012 IRC Production Cup.


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


Visit the official event website at www.cyprusrally.com.cy



Final results for 2012 Cyprus Rally (Provisional)



1     AL-ATTIYAH N. / BERNACCHINI G. / Ford Fiesta RRC    3:16:25.2    

2     MIKKELSEN A. /    FLOENE O. / Skoda Fabia S2000        3:20:00.5    

3     ARAI T. / MOSCATT D. / Subaru Impreza                3:26:32.3    

4     NIKARA J.     / KALLIOLEP J. / Subaru Impreza            3:29:07.3    

5     WIEGAND S. / GOTTSCHALK T. / Skoda Fabia S2000        3:30:25.8    

6     SAVVA S. /     PAPANDREOU A. / Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX    3:32:10.3    

7     KREMER A.  / WICHA K. / Subaru Impreza            3:33:17.6    

8     AL-MARRI M. / ARENA N. / MINI JCW RRC            3:33:52.2    

9     VIZIN L. / ZSIROS G. / Skoda Fabia S2000                3:35:25.4    

10     HUNT H. /    MOYNIHAN D. / Citroen DS3                3:35:37.3




Chris Christodoulou –  also photos A. Lavandinho

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/nasser-al-attiyah-cyprus-rally-win-2012-mikkelsen-toshi-arai---104915.html

04.11.2012 / MaP

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