“There was damage in the engine, which is a big disappointment,” said Al-Attiyah. “It was fantastic before and I was really so happy with my performance against all these great IRC drivers and live on Eurosport
. But what can we do?”
“I have to say this rally was quite tricky for us coming from a country with no gravel stages,” Kopecky added. “We have done our best this year and not made any mistakes but finally we are second. I am disappointed but that's it although I have to say thanks to Skoda for a great job all season.”
Patrik Sandell took third with his best finish of the season for Skoda Sweden claiming a stage victory to boot: “It's a really good way to finish what has been a tough and sometimes frustrating year. When things work well we can set top times as we have proved this weekend,” Sandell stated.
Estonian teenager Karl Kruuda, in a privateer Fabia, impressed in fourth, snatching the position from Freddy Loix when the Belgian's BFO-backed Fabia developed a mechanical fault on the penultimate stage.
Matthias Kahle completed an all-Fabia top six in his Skoda Auto Deutschland Fabia after a solid display on his first visit to Cyprus. And it got better for the German importer when Kahle's teammate Mark Wallenwein battled back from his double puncture on Friday to finish eighth, one place behind IRC Production Cup winner Toshi Arai.
With IRC 2WD Cup champion Jean-Michel Raoux not eligible for overall IRC drivers' points in ninth, ex-circuit racer Doros Loucaides clinched the four points on offer for the place in his Petrolina-backed Peugeot 207 S2000, which he was using in competition for the first time on the back of a 50-kilometre pre-event test.
Charalambos Timotheau claimed the final points in his Ralliart Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX after mechanical problems halted fellow Cypriot Nicos Thomas on the final afternoon.
Outgoing IRC champion Juho Hanninen restarted on day two under SupeRally regulations following his crash on Friday's opening run. Despite winning a stage he had to settle for 16th overall, one place ahead of leading female driver Burcu Cetinkaya.
“Although we haven't been appearing regularly in the IRC this season, we had a good chance to win the title in the end. Considering the double portion of points available here in Cyprus, my stupid mistake really had a major impact on the final standings. Anyway, I am pleased that we have helped the team win the Manufacturers Cup,” Hanninen said.
Mikkelsen's performance meanwhile earned him the Colin McRae IRC Flat Out Trophy, awarded on each round of the IRC to the driver whose performance best embodies the spirit of the rallying legend who won the Cyprus Rally 10 years ago in 2001.
Cyprus Rally - Top ten IRC positions (after day two):
1. Andreas Mikkelsen /Ola Floene
Skoda Fabia S2000 2h25m18.5s
2. Jan Kopecky /Pavel Dresler
Skoda Fabia S2000 +1m40.5s
3. Patrik Sandell /Staffan Parmander
Skoda Fabia S2000 +2m54.8s
4. Karl Kruuda /Martin Jarveoja
Skoda Fabia S2000 +4m33.0s
5. Freddy Loix /Frederic Miclotte
Skoda Fabia S2000 +5m25.4s
6. Matthias Kahle /Peter Gobel
Skoda Fabia S2000 +7m48.9s
7. Toshi Arai /Dale Moscatt
Subaru Impreza R4 STI +8m16.2s
8. Mark Wallenwein /Stefan Kopczyk
Skoda Fabia S2000 +13m06.7s
9. Doros Loucaides /Savvas Laos
Peugeot 207 S2000 +15m07.8s
10. Charalambos Timotheou /Pambos Laos
Ralliart Lancer Evo IX +15m25.7s
IRC Production Cup:
Toshi Arai /Dale Moscatt (Subaru Impreza R4)
IRC 2WD Cup:
Jean-Michel Raoux /Laurent Magat (Renault Clio R3)
IRC Drivers' standings (after round 11 of 11) – Top 10:
1. Andreas Mikkelsen
2. Jan Kopecky
3. Juho Hanninen
4. Freddy Loix
5. Thierry Neuville
6. Bryan Bouffier
7. Guy Wilks
8. Patrik Sandell
9. Toni Gardemeister
10. Karl Kruuda
* denotes best seven scores count
Manufacturers' standings (after round 11 of 11):