[Nicosia, Sept. 21, 2021] - The 49th International Cyprus Rally 2021, organized by the Cyprus Automobile Association between September 24-26, in and around Nicosia, is fast approaching! The official press conference took place on Tuesday (21/09) at the Olympic House in Nicosia. The President of the Association Mr. Antonis Michaelides spoke about the past, present and future of our national rally, while the Clerk of the Course, Ms Nayia Kontopoulou presented this year's event in which 32 crews from 8 countries will compete in 12 special stages. The rally will cover 665km, of which 180.92km will be timed.
The 49th Cyprus Rally is the 4th round of the Middle East Rally Championship (MERC) and the 4th & 5th round of the Pancyprian Rally Championship.
"Strict measures and protocols"
Ms Kontopoulou spoke about the preparation ahead of the event: "After months of painstaking preparation and hard work by our team who voluntarily bears the responsibility of organizing our national rally, we are now pleased to officially start the final countdown for the 49th Cyprus Rally. The glamor of the Cyprus Rally remains high and the eyes of the officials of the International Federation will be focused on Cyprus in the coming days, and they will be expecting of us to carry out a high-level event".
Ms. Kontopoulou added: "The rally this year is carried out in strict compliance with the measures and protocols concerning the pandemic. Spectators will not be allowed to enter the Service Park, nor will spectators be allowed at the start and finish ceremonies. However, spectators will be able to watch the cars as they pass through Eleftheria Square and the streets of the capital to return to the Service Park after the ceremonies. Access to the start and finish areas of the special stages is also prohibited."
The Service Park will be located in Aglantzia Municipality, behind the Police Headquarters while the Cyprus Rally Headquarters and Press Office will be located at the nearby POED building. Access to all three points is allowed only to accredited personnel.
The start will be given on Friday, September 24 at 19:00 CY from Eleftheria Square and specifically in the courtyard of the Old Town Hall, the same place where the finish ceremony will take place, on Sunday, September 26 at 18:00 CY.
On Saturday morning (25/09) three special stages will take place, at Nikitari, Kapouras and Kourdali with a repeat of the three in the afternoon. On Sunday (26/09) morning and afternoon the crews will pass through the stages of Lythrodonta, Agios Epiphanios and Agia Marina Xyliatou.
"Proposal to return to ERC and WRC"
The President of the Cyprus Automobile Association Mr. Antonis Michaelides revealed in the press conference that following last year's hesitation by the government to grant the annual sponsorship for the Cyprus Rally, recently the government decided to abolish it completely, a decision that was eventually overturned, after the Cyprus AA analysed for the Ministry of Finance the benefits of hosting an international sporting event of this calibre, citing as an example the warmth with which the Greek government embraced the EKO Rally Acropolis 2021.
"I have the feeling that the Acropolis Rally and the way the Mitsotakis government embraced it, ultimately saved this year's Cyprus Rally, urging our government to reconsider their initial decision," Mr. Michaelides said.
Mr. Michaelides revealed that in a recent meeting in Athens the WRC promoter who is also the ERC promoter, "expressed the intention to include the Cyprus Rally in an alternating calendar so that in 2022 it will count for the ERC and the Middle East Championship and in 2023 for the WRC and the Middle East Championship ". As the president of the Cyprus AA said, "the outcome of this intention will be decided after our meeting with the Minister of Finance, following the conclusion of this year's event". Analysing the data from the Acropolis Rally, he noted that a WRC event reaches 500 million viewers in 180 countries.
Answering questions from the journalists about the intention of Cyprus to return to the WRC calendar, Mr. Michaelides said that "it would be criminal, in my personal opinion, to have this opportunity and not take advantage of it."
Present at the press conference were the Advisor to the President of the Republic on Matters of Sports Mr. Phivos Zachariades, the President of the Cyprus Olympic Committee Mr. George Chrysostomou, the Vice President of the Cyprus Sports Organization Mr. Costakis Koukkoulis, the President of the Cyprus Automobile Federation Mr. Manolis Kouloumas as well as other officials.
This year's event is sponsored by Cablenet, ENEOS Motor Oil lubricants of Psaltis Auto Parts, Honda, ANCO Catering Equipment, Prodata and Farmakas Water. It is supported by the Municipalities of Nicosia and Aglantzia as well as the Cyprus Police.
All announcements and information about Cyprus Rally will be posted on the digital bulletin board of the event in the Sportity application that is available on Google Play and App Store. Access to the application is done by using the code CR2021.