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Cyprus Rally - 3-5 Nov 11

Posted: November 4, 2011 4:25 PM - 5829 Hits

Round 12 - 2011 Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC)
Round 6 - 2011 Middle East Rally Championship

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First stage each day: (Times are Irish/UK)
SS1 Thurs - 17:00 (Superspecial)
SS2 Fri - 08:37
SS6 Sat - 07:29

ŠKODA drivers carry IRC title hopes to Cyprus

Posted: November 2, 2011 12:01 PM

ŠKODA drivers start this weekend’s Cyprus Rally in the strongest position to add the Intercontinental Rally Challenge Drivers’ title to the Manufacturers’ title already won, when Andreas Mikkelsen (ŠKODA UK Motorsport), Jan Kopecký and Juho Hänninen (ŠKODA Motorsport) and Freddy Loix (BFO ŠKODA Rally Team) head to the final round of the series in a quartet of Fabia S2000s.

Although victory alone in Cyprus might not be enough for Andreas to lift the title, he will arrive on the Mediterranean island on top form. In a steadily-improving season, he and co-driver Ola Fløene have at times led the last five rallies in the Azores, Czech Republic, Hungary, Sanremo and Scotland – finishing on the podium twice before scoring a career-first IRC win last time out on the penultimate rally of the season.

Last weekend, Andreas also became Italian Gravel Trophy Champion on the Rally Conca d’Oro in Sicily.

In an exceptionally busy season, in which Andreas has also contested Rally Finland and been part of the FIA Institute Young Driver Excellence Academy, the Cyprus Rally will be his 17th and final rally this season. It won’t be his final public appearance in a ŠKODA rally car however, as Andreas will drive a Fabia WRC at the Solberg Extreme Motorshow, which takes place in at Telenor Arena near Oslo on Saturday 26 November.

The Cyprus Rally is likely to be one of the most difficult events of the year, as the IRC title decider will be played out on a tough mixed surface event, with a near 50:50 split of rough gravel mountain tracks and smooth asphalt roads. Andreas is the only one of the five IRC title contenders who go to Cyprus having contested the event last year.

“Our win in Scotland has really helped our position in the drivers’ championship and given us a chance of winning the title on the final round. To do that we have to win in Cyprus, so we have nothing to lose and we’re going all out to win.

“I did the Cyprus Rally for the first time last year. Even though it was based in Limassol and the stages were in a different area, the characteristics of this year’s stages near Pafos are the same. There was a mix of gravel and asphalt on the stages last year as well, so I know what to expect in terms of level of grip and things like that, so that experience will come in useful.”

This year’s Cyprus Rally begins at 17.00 on Thursday 3 November with two laps around a spectacular 1 mile (1.6km) superspecial stage, which goes around Pafos Town Hall and is free for spectators. Leg 1 continues the following day with four stages – the mixed surface Koilinia (15 mile/24.15km) and Salamiou (11.28 mile/18.16km), which are attempted twice.

Leg 2 on Saturday 5 November is the longest of the rally and contains three stages – the all-gravel Gialia (9.2 mile/14.82km) test, the all-asphalt Stavros stage (9.8 miles/15.91km) and the mixed surface Anadiou (11.9mile/19.15km) stage – which are run in both the morning and afternoon. After 11 stages totaling 116.55 miles (187.58kms), the rally finishes at 16.00 local time.

The Cyprus Rally will receive unprecedented TV coverage, with the event broadcast in 120 countries – including the UK on Eurosport. Four stages will be shown live on Eurosport – two on Friday 4 November; SS3 and 5 (Salamiou 1 and 2) at 11.00-12.00 and 15.00-16.00 (replayed at 00.15-01.15) and two on Saturday 5 November; SS8 and 11 (Anadiou 1 and 2) at 10.00-11.00 and 15.00-16.00 (times are CET, so check TV listings on the day for details). In addition, Eurosport will broadcast a rally review programme from 22.15-22.45hrs on Sunday 6 November, which will be repeated on Eurosport 2 on Tuesday 8 November

On Sunday 6 November, the separate Cyprus Golden Stage Rally takes place with two runs over a 12.42 mile (20km) mixed surface stage. This will also be broadcast live on Eurosport (11.00-12.00 and 14.00-15.00) has a combined prize fund of 150,000 Euros.

Provisional Start / Seeded Entry List

Posted: November 2, 2011 11:25 AM


Posted: October 30, 2011 11:48 AM

The fifth season of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge is set for a thrilling climax in Cyprus next week (3-5 November) when five drivers go head to head for the prestigious crown.

Juho Hanninen, Jan Kopecky, Freddy Loix, Andreas Mikkelsen and Thierry Neuville are all in the battle for the prestigious IRC title, which will be fought out on demanding mixed-surface stages live on Eurosport, the IRC’s media partner.

Peugeot France driver Bryan Bouffier has scored sufficient points to be in title contention but he completed his 10-event IRC campaign on the previous round in Scotland and will not be competing in Cyprus, leaving his five rivals to chase the honours.

The Cyprus Rally, which joined the IRC schedule for the first time in 2010, is unique compared to other IRC rounds in that it features asphalt and gravel stages with several runs including a combination of the two surfaces. This places a huge onus on driver skill and car set-up with competitors having to cope with compromised levels of handling and grip.

Cyprus used to be synonymous for its punishing tight and twisty rock-strewn gravel tracks but the inclusion of asphalt and smooth loose-surface roads has increased average speeds. However, the event remains a tough test for both crew and car with high ambient and ground temperatures adding to the challenge.

While last year’s Cyprus Rally was based around Limassol, this season’s event has switched to Pafos on the west of the picturesque Mediterranean island, which is famed for its stunning views and picturesque landscape.

The competitive action gets underway with an all-asphalt superspecial stage through the streets of Pafos on Thursday evening (3 November), with two repeated stages run on Saturday and three repeated tests run on Sunday. Service is located in Pafos on the shores of the Mediterranean.

In addition to counting as the final round of the main IRC, the Cyprus Rally will bring the curtain down on the new-for-2011 IRC Production Cup, plus the IRC 2WD Cup. All crews contesting the Cyprus Rally will be in contention for the prestigious Colin McRae IRC Flat Out Trophy, which is awarded to the most spectacular driver who best embodies the spirit of the rallying legend.

The Cyprus Rally serves as a precursor to the Cyprus Golden Stage Rally, which takes place on Sunday 6 November over a 20-kilometre mixed surface stage, the Golden Stage, run twice. Shown live on television around the world, a combined prize fund of 150,000 Euros is on offer to the various leading and category finishers and a thrilling battle for glory is expected between the IRC regulars and several local stars.

Never before has the battle for IRC glory been so close with an unprecedented five drivers starting the Cyprus Rally firmly in contention for the coveted crown. The following details who can win the title and how.

    Jan Kopecky/Petr Stary (SKODA Motorsport Fabia S2000)
    Current position: First
    Current points: 131 (seventh best score: 15)
    If he wins: he’s champion
    If he’s second: champion unless any of the other four contenders win, or if Hanninen is third

    Juho Hanninen/Mikko Markkula (SKODA Motorsport Fabia S2000)
    Current position: Second
    Current points: 125 (no score to drop)
    If he wins: he’s champion
    If he’s second: he’s champion if Kopecky doesn’t win
    If he’s third: he’s champion if Kopecky and Neuville both fail to win If he’s fourth: champion if none of the other contenders win, and if Kopecky isn’t second either

    Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (Team Peugeot Belgium-Luxembourg 207 S2000)
    Current position: Third
    Current points: 115 (seventh best score: 8)
    If he wins: he’s champion unless Hanninen finishes second If he’s second: champion unless any of the other contenders win, or if one of Hanninen or Kopecky finish third

    Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Floene (SKODA UK Motorsport Fabia S2000)
    Current position: Fourth
    Current points: 111.5 (seventh best score: 8)
    If he wins: he’s champion if Hanninen is off the podium
    If he’s second: he needs Loix and Neuville not to win, Kopecky outside the top four and Hanninen outside the top six

    Freddy Loix/Frederic Miclotte (BFO-SKODA Rally Team Fabia S2000)
    Current position: Sixth
    Current points: 103 (no score to drop)
    If he wins: he’s champion if Hanninen is off the podium
    If he’s second: he needs Bouffier, Mikkelsen and Neuville not to win, Kopecky outside the top four and Hanninen outside the top six
Table of projected points from positions in Cyprus (using double points system)
    JK: 1=166/2=152/3=146/4=140/5=136/6=132/7=131/8=131/9=131/10=131
    JH: 1=175/2=161/3=155/4=149/5=145/6=141/7=137/8=133/9=129/10=127
    TN: 1=157/2=143/3=137/4=131/5=127/6=123/7=119/7=115/9=115/10=115
    AM: 1=153.5/2=139.5/3=133.5/4=127.5/5=123.5/6=119.5/7=115.5/8=111.5/9=111.5/10=111.5
    FL: 1=153/2=139/3=133/4=127/5=123/6=119/7=115/8=111/9=107/10=105
The title contenders
Two mid-season victories have elevated Jan Kopecky to the top of the IRC drivers’ standings in his SKODA Motorsport Fabia Super 2000. But off-form showings in Sanremo and Scotland mean the Czech’s first IRC title is by no means a certainty.

Juho Hanninen, Kopecky’s SKODA team-mate is second in the table and firmly in contention. While a back-to-back IRC crown would cap a momentous season for Hanninen after he became Super 2000 world champion recently, the Finn is likely to support Kopecky’s title bid.

With Rallye Monte-Carlo winner Bryan Bouffier not in action in Cyprus Thierry Neuville is the sole Peugeot representative vying for IRC honours in his Team Peugeot Belgium-Luxembourg entry. With wins in Corsica and Sanremo this year Neuville will be a threat but possesses limited experience on gravel.

Andreas Mikkelsen, 22, is the youngest of the title contenders and starts the event on the back of his maiden victory in Scotland for SKODA UK Motorsport. The Norwegian won the Golden Stage Rally in Cyprus last season and will benefit from taking part on the final round of the Italian Gravel Trophy in Italy this weekend.

BFO-SKODA Rally Team’s Freddy Loix was absent in Scotland to the extent his co-driver Frederic Miclotte believes it will be a tall order for the Belgians to win the crown. To add to the task, 40-year-old Loix hasn’t competed on gravel in the IRC since May 2009.

The challengers
Nasser Al-Attiyah returns to the IRC for the first time since he won the event in 2010 in his Autotek Motorsport M-Sport Ford Fiesta S2000. The Qatari has won nine rallies in Cyprus and will be one of the favourites for victory alongside his Poland-based Italian co-driver Giovanni Bernacchini.

Patrik Sandell, who lines up in a SKODA Sweden Fabia, is one of the few IRC regulars with previous experience of competing in Cyprus having tackled the Cyprus Rally in 2009 when it formed a round of the world championship. Sandell showed pace in Scotland only for good fortune to elude him.

Like Sandell, Karl Kruuda also has Cyprus knowledge following his entry on the IRC qualifier in 2010. The Estonian teenager has impressed throughout his campaign despite his limited knowledge of four-wheel-drive machinery.

Rising star Mark Wallenwein and multiple German champion Matthias Kahle will represent SKODA Auto Deutschland in Cyprus. Kahle scored his first IRC points in Scotland, while Wallenwein has been upping his pace, and confidence, on recent events.

Burcu Cetinkaya will continue to build her experience behind the wheel of her Fabia S2000, which she shares with fellow Turk Cicek Guney in the IRC’s only all-female crew.

IRC Production Cup
With current leader Florian Gonon not competing in Cyprus, the battle for IRC Production Cup glory will be between Subaru’s Japanese ace Toshi Arai, in an R4-specification Impreza, and Marco Cavigioli, who drives a Ralliart Mitsubishi Lancer and won the inaugural IRC 2WD Cup title in 2008. Laszlo Vizin will challenge for a podium finish, while Cypriot Nicos Thomas heads a strong local contingent of drivers in his Lancer. Ukrainian Volodymyr Pechenyk won the class on the Prime Yalta Rally in June but is an unknown quantity on gravel.

Clio R3 pilots Stefano Albertini and Jean-Michel Raoux start the IRC 2WD Cup finale with Italian Albertini heading Raoux by 13 points. Albertini has taken two wins to the sole triumph scored by Raoux, while Raoux is an established gravel expert. The Frenchman has tackled an expanded campaign this season but has failed to score on the last two events. Hungarian Janos Puskadi, in a Honda Civic Type R, has a mathematical chance of the title but would need Albertini and Raoux to falter in order to win. Harry Hunt can no longer defend his title but will instead be hoping to end his season with victory in his DS3 R3T.


Nasser Al-Attiyah (M-Sport Ford Fiesta S2000):
“Cyprus is one of my favourite rallies and I have won there many times. It will be a very interesting rally this year because many of the drivers from the IRC will be there and they will be fast. But I have a lot of experience.”

Juho Hanninen (SKODA Motorsport Fabia S2000):
“We have quite a good situation in the points and of course it would be nice to win the IRC title again. But winning won’t be easy and it was not the target for this year. The priority was to secure the manufacturers’ title for SKODA. We’ve done that now so we will see what happens in Cyprus.”

Nicos Thomas (Ralliart Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX):
“I know some parts of the stages and I expect them to be faster and more technical than last year. My deal to do this rally was quite late being agreed but it’s good to be taking part on my home rally. I am looking at the IRC Production Cup as my main target but you never know after that.”

List of Unseeded Entries

Posted: October 30, 2011 11:40 AM

Unprecedented television coverage for Cyprus IRC finale

Posted: October 21, 2011 12:37 PM

Television coverage of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge title showdown in Cyprus next month will reach 120 countries worldwide with four stages shown live on three channels and extensive highlights transmitted by 25 broadcasters around the globe.

Eurosport, RTBF in Belgium and host broadcaster LTV in Cyprus will screen live coverage of the Salamiou stages on Friday 4 November and the Anadiou tests on Saturday 5 November. Stations including CCTV in China, the pan-Asian ESPN STAR Sports, AUTO PLUS in Russia and RAI SPORT in Italy will show highlights of the mixed-surface IRC season finale.

IRC promoter Eurosport Events will manage the live television production in partnership with LTV. The organisation is also responsible for the distribution of the worldwide television rights.

“The television coverage of the Cyprus Rally, which includes several live broadcasts, will reflect and enhance what is set to be a thrilling conclusion to a dramatic fifth season of IRC action,” said Eurosport Events’ Motorsport Director Francois Ribeiro. “With so many drivers in contention for the title, it’s only right so many fans around the world will get the opportunity to see the battle unfold.”

The Salamiou and Anadiou stages were chosen for live television coverage after a team from Eurosport Events, led by Gilbert Roy, the Director of Editorial and Programme Development, and IRC Motorsport Development Manager Jean-Pierre Nicolas visited Cyprus in the summer.

Both stages feature sections of asphalt and gravel, which is set to create a thrilling spectacle for fans watching on television as crews negotiate the changing surfaces using compromised car settings. At the same time the stages will highlight the stunning Cypriot countryside and its picturesque Mediterranean coastline.

The live television coverage of the Cyprus Rally, which is based in Pafos, will require five fixed camera locations, 10 onboard cameras, a helicopter-mounted camera, a plane for transmitting the onboard camera signals, plus a team of 70 expert personnel working on the ground in Cyprus and at Eurosport’s headquarters in Paris.

Coverage of the Golden Stage Rally, the end-of-season chase for a prize fund of 150,000 Euros over one repeated stage, will also be shown live on Eurosport, LTV and RTBF with highlights distributed around the world. The event takes place on 6 November, the day after the Cyprus Rally concludes.

Cyprus Rally LIVE broadcast schedule

Posted: October 21, 2011 12:34 PM

(subject to confirmation, all times are Ireland/UK)

Friday 4 November
10:00hrs-11:00hrs: LIVE SS3 Salamiou 1 (Eurosport, LTV, RTBF)
14:00hrs-15:00hrs: LIVE SS5 Salamiou 2 (Eurosport, LTV, RTBF)*
* Replayed at 23:15hrs-24:15hrs on Eurosport

Saturday 5 November
09:00hrs-10:00hrs: LIVE SS8 Anadiou 1 (Eurosport, LTV, RTBF)
14:00hrs-15:00hrs: LIVE SS11 Anadiou 2 (Eurosport, LTV, RTBF)

In addition Eurosport will broadcast a rally review programme from 21:15hrs-21:45hrs on Sunday 6 November, which will be shown on Eurosport 2 on Tuesday 8 November.

Cyprus Rally planned coverage

    LTV (Host broadcaster in Cyprus): four LIVE stages, plus additional LIVE coverage
    ESPN STAR Sports (Pan Asia): rally highlights lasting 26 minutes
    CCTV 5 (China): rally highlights lasting 10 minutes
    SPEED CHANNEL 2 (Pan America): rally highlights lasting 26 minutes
    Televisa Deportes (Central America): rally highlights lasting 26 minutes
    AUTO PLUS (Russia): rally highlights lasting 26 minutes
    GAORA (Japan): rally highlights lasting 26 minutes
    FOX Sports (Australia): rally highlights lasting 26 minutes
    1st Automotive Channel (Ukraine): rally highlights lasting 26 minutes
    RTL 7 (Netherlands): rally highlights lasting 26 minutes
    RTBF (Belgium): four LIVE stages
    VRT (Belgium): rally highlights lasting 26 minutes
    LIFE TV (Belgium): rally highlights lasting 26 minutes
    S4C (United Kingdom): rally highlights lasting 26 minutes
    RAI Sport (Italy): rally highlights lasting 26 minutes
    RTP (Portugal): rally highlights lasting 26 minutes
    TVI 24 (Portugal): daily short highlights
    MEGA CHANNEL (Greece): rally highlights lasting 15 minutes
    CT4 (Czech Republic): rally highlights lasting 26 minutes
    RTR (Turkey): rally highlights
    RIC (Cyprus): rally highlights
    Mega (Cyprus): rally highlights
    Sigma (Cyprus): rally highlights
    Antena (Cyprus): rally highlights

Six-way IRC battle set for Cyprus finale

Posted: October 13, 2011 1:59 PM

An unprecedented six drivers will do battle for the Intercontinental Rally Challenge crown when the series reaches its electrifying climax on the Cyprus Rally next month (3-5 November).

Bryan Bouffier, Juho Hanninen, Jan Kopecky, Freddy Loix, Andreas Mikkelsen and Thierry Neuville can all clinch the prestigious title on the mixed-surface season finale.

“It’s going to be very exciting because the championship is very open,” said defending IRC champion Hanninen.

Mikkelsen, who moved back into title contention with victory on last week’s RACMSA Rally of Scotland added: “Our chances are small but we will go there aiming to be among the best.”

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