65 total crews get in on the action.
With stars from the European, Middle-East and local championships taking part, the 2018 Cyprus Rally is bound to captivate and excite the thousands of fans that will undoubtedly flock the Special Stages during the rally weekend!
Today, the 5th of June (Tuesday), saw the hosting of the Press Conference at “Ktima Makenzy” in Larnaca where the organisers informed the press with all the details of this year’s event that will take place from the 15th to the 17th of June. One of the substantial differences with previous years is the change of scenery with the Rally being based in Larnaca, instead of Nicosia, for the first time ever! All procedures, Start and Finish Ceremonies, Headquarters and the Service Park itself will be based in Larnaca right in front of the Mediterranean sea.
Today’s conference began with a short greeting by the Mayor of Larnaca, Mr. Andreas Vyras, read by his representative Mr. Andreas Christoforou, President of the Athletics and Youth Committee who greeted everyone firstly before mentioning the importance of this event and the exposure the city will receive. He also thanked the Cyprus Automobile Association for bring this great show to Larnaca: “Sports are placed high on our list of priorities and we aim to host as many European, local and international sporting events in our city. This will elevate the city of Larnaca to best sports tourism destination in Cyprus.”
The President of the Cyprus Automobile Association, Mr. Antonis Michaelides began his greeting with a mention to the incredible accolade that was awarded by the FIA to the 2017 Cyprus Rally organising committee as the best volunteer organising team in the world. Following that, Mr. Michaelides mentioned the diminished overall budget of the event since the CTO refused the Eurosport advertising offer (worth morethan one million euros) so that they would not have to, in turn, offer 70.000 euros for the organising of the Golden Stages. The CAA President also mentioned the Super Special Stage, which will take place in the heart of Nicosia once again but this time with a modification to the course, as he explained: “It saddens me to announce today that, for technical reasons, the Super Special Stage will not cross over to the Turkish-Cypriot region of the capital. Specifically, due to a technical reason and specifically due to an infringement of an important parameter of the International FIA rules on behalf of the Turkish-Cypriots, the course on their side of the district cannot be used for the 2018 Cyprus Rally. This saddens all of us collectively. The Greek-Cypriots, the Turkish-Cypriots and the United Nations but also the thousands of fans who enjoyed the great international crews and cars on the roads of Nicosia are disappointed by this. Our last minute attempts to maintain the bi-communal character of the stage, were not successful but they had set the foundations to bring that character back for the 2019 Cyprus Rally.”
Next to speak was Clerk of the Course, Mrs. Naya Kontopoulou who spoke of the organisation, the course but also the rich and large entry list: “The entry list consists of 65 crews in total from 19 different countries. 50 of these crew will take part in the European Rally Championship while only 15 will compete in the local championship. The numbers guarantee that all categories will be competitive all across the board. A great aspect of this year’s entry list is the female crews who chose this year’s Cyprus Rally in which to compete.” Mrs. Kontopoulou then thanked the sponsors before informing everyone present of the huge number viewers that had enjoyed last year’s rally on television and the internet: “The 2017 rally was the most viewed ERC rally last year with 23.700.000 and 216 separate broadcasts worldwide.”.
Testing will be held on Friday (15th) morning as well as the Qualifying Stage which will determine the starting positions of the cars ahead of the rally. This will be hosted on a 6,33km stage just outside the city of Larnaca. After the Qualifying Stage, the medieval castle at Foinikoudes will host the Start Position Selection process and a few hours later, at 19:00, the Starting Ramp will be set on Foinoikoudes for the Starting Ceremony.
The action begins on Saturday (16th) with the crews running six special stage (three stages which will be repeated for the two loops) with a total length of 94,34km.
The first SS of the rally will take place in the village of Kelia with a total length of 21,48km, followed by the Analiontas SS (14,41km). Cars and crews will then head to the hills for the Stavrovouni SS (11,28km) before returning to Larnaca for the noon service. The three stages will be repeated before the cars are locked under park ferme rules for the evening.
Seven more stages await the crews for Sunday. The highlight of the day will be the Super Special Sage which, once again, will take place in the heart of Nicosia, connecting the two parts of the divided capital. The day will begin with the spectacular Geri stage (22,00km) followed by the Super Special Stage in Nicosia. The morning loop will close with the Lagia and Lefkara stages, 12,67km and 19,82km respectively. After the noon service the cars will repeat the morning stages (except for the Super Special Stage which will only have a morning pass). The final two stages of the rally will be the Golden Stages, with the fastest drivers receiving money prizes. Sponsored by Psaltis Auto Parts, Official Importer of ENEOS Motor Oil. After the second pass through Lefkara, the remaining crews will head back to Foinikoudes where the Finishing Ceremony will take place at 18:30.
It should also be noted that Special Stage 5 in Analyontas will be named “Giorgos Kyprianou” in memory of the young rally enthusiast George Kyprianou, son of famed rally champion and Cyprus Rally winner Kypros Kyprianou and Nitsa Kyprianou who supported the sport for decades. This will also act as part of the activity in promoting road safety through the Cyprus Rally.
Mrs. Kontopoulou and Mr. Michaelides extended thanks to all the sponsors and supporters of the Cyprus Rally, for making the event possible. Cyta, as the Official Telecommunications Provider, Psaltis Auto Parts, Official Importer of ENEOS Motor Oil, DHL, Coca Cola, the municipalities of Larnaca and Nicosia but also the Cyprus Police for the valuable help and support.