Cyprus Rally organisers are in the process of finalising the last few steps ahead of next month’s competition.
This year’s 2014 Cyprus Rally will make history after it was confirmed by the FIA (International Automobile Federation) that the island will host both the ninth round of the European Rally Championship (ERC) and Middle-East Rally Championship’s (MERC) fifth round.
It’s a “rallying first” according to organisers who say this represents “the first time a host nation has sanctioned two FIA events on the same weekend and in the same rally”.
The race will be held between September 19 and 21 and will be based in Nicosia in what FIA officials say will be a gruelling, 773-kilometre trek divided into 15 special stages.
“The organising committee is now covering the last steps of the preparations in order to ensure that the rally will offer maximum action, safety and presentation,” read an announcement. “The special stages themselves are this year’s main ingredient, important to both crews and spectators.”
The precursor to the race will get underway on September 18 with a practice stage in Ayios Sozomenos (just outside of Nicosia), which will offer 4.47 kilometre race for testing purposes. There will also be a qualifying round for drivers (mostly Cypriot) wanting to also take part in the rally.
The 2014 Cyprus Rally will also be offering a “Traffic Park” – situated next to the service park – this year for onlookers who will get the chance to meet drivers taking part in the both the ERC and MERC races.
The starting ceremony will be held on September 19 outside the Finance Ministry where drivers will navigate the winding streets of Nicosia in the Super Special Stage.
The following morning, will see the second part of the rally first leg commence with four special stages that will be then repeated during the afternoon loop, starting in the village of Kotsiatis, then Lythrodontas and Lefkara before finally coming to day’s close at Klavdia which will be the final stage for the morning passes before cars head back to the service park for repairs.
September 21 will see the second leg of the rally get underway with all the crews leaving the Parc Ferme (Closed Park for rally cars) once again and head for Tseri, followed by Asinou and then the forest area of Xerarkaka.
The rally stage will be repeated three times before returning to Nicosia in the afternoon for the ceremonial finish.
Logistics had proved a big problem in the run-up to the rally in Cyprus with many crews complaining that the FIA schedule (which would see the race switch from Estonia in the Balkans to Cyprus (on the other side of Europe) would leave them with costly transportation bills.
But Nayia Kontopoullou, who is the 2014 Cyprus Rally Director, believes the chance to take part in this year’s event in Cyprus will outweigh the financial issues.
“We understand that there are difficulties involved in the participations department of our rally,” said Kontopoullou. “All the teams present in Estonia hailed the Cyprus Rally but also our island. However, there is a steep cost involved with transferring an entire team here. We are positive that our national rally will see many esteemed crews from abroad grace its special stages.”
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