Britain's Harry Hunt has been crowned the 2012 Intercontinental Rally Challenge 2WD Cup champion following a superb class win of more than 13 minutes on last weekend's season-closing Cyprus Rally.
Having led the IRC 2WD Cup standings for the majority of the season, Hunt was faced with a head-to-head battle against Frenchman Robert Consani going into the closing round of the season.
But despite the pressure, the Londoner managed to keep his cool throughout the two-day event and rounded off an exemplary season with both a class win and the coveted 2WD title. This maintains his unblemished record of winning at least one championship in every full year he has been competing.
“I'm over the moon,” he said. “The season didn't start so well with a retirement in the Azores but we fought back and couldn't have asked for a better finish to the year. We claimed the 2WD title here in 2010 and it feels amazing to do it all over again only two years later, Cyprus is fast becoming one of my favourite events!”
The Englishman claimed the title in style despite missing a number of the IRC events this year, including the Sanremo Rally in Italy where he stepped up to a Super 2000 car for the first time and set top six times overall.
“I was quite nervous today. After Robert retired, all we had to was get to the finish and the title was ours for the taking. But that can be quite an odd feeling as every little noise you hear in the car makes you panic and think you won't make it,” he added. “Thankfully the car didn't miss a beat and we managed to keep on the road. I've never been more happy than to cross the finish podium as I was tonight!”
Piloting a Citroen DS3 R3T on the mixed-surface rally, Hunt was joined by Irishman David Moynihan in the co-driver's seat where the duo recorded a remarkable 10 out of 13 stage wins. It was their first rally together, with Moynihan deputising for Hunt's regular partner Robbie Durant, who is recovering from a back injury.
“David didn't put a step wrong and he was an excellent partner in Robbie's absence,” Hunt continued. “Cyprus is by no means an easy rally. The gravel sections are extremely rough and it can be difficult to get to grips with the change of road surfaces and set-ups required. The weather reached close to 30 degrees Celsius today and it got a bit hot in the car at times but David never faltered.
“I'd also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has helped and supported me over the course of the season. This title wouldn't have been possible without the relentless hard work from everyone in my team,” he concluded.
Hunt will now return to London where he will focus on securing and finalising details of his 2013 programme.