IRC: Al-Attiyah claims maiden IRC victory in Cyprus

Prokop had to make do with third although his capture of the final podium spot was briefly in doubt when he spun on the final Galataria stage live on Eurosport and Cypriot channel LumiereTV, which showed a total of four hours of live coverage from the event.

“I think without the problems I could have won and it was disappointing that I didn't,” he rued, “but I always knew Nasser would be difficult to beat. Now I look forward to the Golden Stage Rally.”

Czech Ford National Team team-mate Jaromir Tarabus finished fourth with Nicos Thomas the top Cypriot driver in fifth after overcoming gearchange and brake woes on Friday. Thomas' drive in a Peugeot 207 S2000 was the result of the close collaboration between IRC promoter Eurosport Events and rally organiser Cyprus Automobile Association.

Roman Kresta's low-risk strategy earned the Czech driver sixth overall in his Ralliart Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX. Kresta was the highest-placed driver in a traditional two-litre turbocharged Group N car.

Charalambos Timotheou took seventh from fellow Cypriot Constantinos Tingirides, who was slowed on the final day by a right-rear puncture, an anti-lag glitch and a minor off on the penultimate stage in his Ralliart Lancer.

Bryan Bouffier's bid to make up for the 25-minute delay he suffered on Friday morning ended when he broke his Peugeot's left-rear suspension on the first Galataria stage on Saturday morning, shortly after claiming his fourth stage victory of the rally. His efforts to complete stage two and the pace he showed thereafter earned him the Colin McRae IRC Flat-Out Trophy, which is handed to the driver who produces the most spectacular performance and best embodies the spirit of the rallying legend on rounds of the IRC.

Qatar's Misfer Almari won the Subaru Individual Award as the highest Subaru finisher in ninth overall to maintain his lead of the Middle East Rally Championship, which ran in conjunction with the main IRC event. Panikos Polykarpou completed the top ten in a Lancer. Burcu Cetinkaya limped to the finish in 14th overall with broken steering, following a final stage failure on her Peugeot Sport Turkey 207.

Daniel Oliveira restarted on Saturday morning but went no further than stage eleven after damaging his 207's steering. Like Oliveira, Franz Wittmann also retired on Friday but elected not to restart on Saturday.

The bulk of the Cyprus Rally participants will remain on the island to contest the inaugural Love Cyprus Golden Stage Rally, which features a single mixed-surface 25-kilometre stage run twice. The contest on Sunday, 7 November carries a prize fund of 150,000 Euros.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Martin Prokop / Jan Tomanek. M-Sport Ford Fiesta S2000. Cyprus Rally. [Pic credit: IRC]
Roger Feghali, Nasser Al-Attiyah and Martin Prokop celebrate on the Cyprus podium
Nasser Al-Attiyah claims his maiden IRC win in Cyprus
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