Qatar’s Nasser Al-Attiyah shows the way at the end of Day 1

Unstoppable, consistent and very fast are words that could definitely be used to describe rally legend Nasser Al-Attiyah behind the wheel of his VW Polo, who went on to win five of the first day’s six special stages. The Qatari ends the day 23.8 seconds ahead of ERC champion Alexey Luyanuk. The Russian was consistently second behind the rally leader, going on to win the second loop version of Lefkara. Lukyanuk, who said that he’d be careful and calculated, ends the first day with his Citroen C3 in second place. A minute and thirty six second behind las year’s champion, is last year’s Cyprus Rally winner Simos Galatariotis and his Skoda Fabia. Galatariotis was a stable presence in third throughout the day, lamenting his choice of tyres after the finish of the Super Special Stages, which was the highlight of the first leg of the 2019 Cyprus Rally.

Chris Ingram started the day in his Skoda Fabia very carefully and tentatively, before applying more pressure during the second loop. Good speed during the afternoon passes ensured that he finishes the day in fourth, ahead of Norbert Herczig and Lukasz Habaj, with only four seconds between the two contenders of this year’s championship. The two of them, however, have their work cut out for them if they are to catch Alexey Lukyanuk during the second day of the rally.

Sixteen seconds behind Habaj, was veteran Mikko Hirvonen, who seems to enjoy his return to Cyprus, often speaking about the fun nature of the stages, as well as their challenging character. Albert von Thurn und Taxis, who had an unfortunate accident during Free Practice, recovered greatly, finding good pace and a spot in eghth overall at the end of the day. Al-Kuwari completed the day in ninth place overall, with Chilean driver Fernandez completing the provisional top ten.

With day 1 of the 2019 Cyprus Rally coming to an end, after a spectacular Super Special Stage in the heart of Nicosia, cars and drivers can now rest before tackling six more stages in tomorrow’s loop. Unlike today’s action, however, tomorrow will see a glorious return of the classic, and very challenging, mountainous special stages that gave our rally it’s tough reputation. Twisting mountain roads, hairpins and incredible vistas await, on the second day of the 2019 Cyprus Rally. The action will begin Kapouras at 08:59, followed by Kourdali and Asinou. All three stages will be repeated in the afternoon, with the ceremonial finish taking place on the beachfront of Foinikoudes in Larnaca at 18:00.

 Provisional Overall Standings

 1.Al-Attiyah/Baumel - VW Polo R5 – 01:13.23

 2.Lukyanuk/Arnautov – Citroen C3 R5 - +23.8s

 3.Galatariotis/Ioannou – Skoda Fabia R5 - +01:59.8

 4.Ingram/Whittock – Skoda Fabia R5 - +02:31.0

 5.Herczig/Ferencz – VW Polo R5 - +04:33.7

 6.Habaj/Dymurksi – Skoda Fabia R5 – 02:35.0

 7.Hirvonen/Ottman – Ford Fiesta R5 - +02:51.9

 8.von Thurn und Taxis/Ettel – Skoda Fabia R5 – 03:47.2

 9.Al-Kuwari/Clark – Skoda Fabia R5 – 04:22.0

 10.Fernandez/Coronado – Skoda Fabia R5 – 04:33.2