IRC Cyprus Rally preview : The challenges

12th and last round of the IRC championship

By Franck Drui

31 October 2010 - 07:43
IRC Cyprus Rally preview : The (…)

After 11 months of gruelling competition over several thousand kilometres of competitive stages, the curtain comes down on another enthralling Intercontinental Rally Challenge season in Cyprus next week (4-6 November).

The FxPro Cyprus Rally, the 12th and final event of the year, might be new to the IRC schedule for 2010 but it has become one of the most demanding events on the international rallying calendar since it first took place in 1970.

Featuring mixed-surface stages, the country’s narrow and undulating roads and passes will test driver and car to the limit. And Eurosport, Europe’s largest television sports channel and the IRC’s international media partner, will be showing four stages of the event live.

As well as counting for IRC points, the event forms the penultimate round of the FIA Middle East Rally Championship and several competitors from the regional series, including multiple champion Nasser Al-Attiyah, will be in action and will doubtless pose a threat to the IRC regulars.

Forty-two competitors will tackle the rally and the majority will remain on the island for the inaugural Love Cyprus Golden Stage Rally, which takes place on Sunday 7 November. The event, a joint initiative between the Cyprus Automobile Association and the IRC’s promoter, Eurosport Events, will be contested over a single 25-kilometre mixed-surface stage run twice. The action will be televised live on Eurosport and Cypriot channel Lumiere TV and a combined prize fund of 150,000 Euros has been pledged by the organisers.

The Cyprus Rally is characterised by its breathtaking and dramatic scenery. The move to a mixed-surface format in 2009 has resulted in the inclusion of some faster and flowing roads as opposed to the low-speed tracks that were synonymous with the event in the past. However, it is still widely known for providing a stern test for competitors and their cars.

Despite the rally’s early November date, ambient temperatures are set to peak at 27 degrees centigrade and won’t dip any lower than 20 degrees centigrade. This will put the onus on driver fitness and increase the strain on the cars as they pass over the rock-strewn roads.

Action gets underway with an all-asphalt superspecial stage in the Limassol’s port, the island’s largest, on the night of Thursday 4 November. The Lemesos Super Special Stage covers a total distance of 2.45 kilometres and drivers will compete against each other in pairs.

Friday is made up of three mixed-surface stages based to the east of Limassol, plus a return to the Lemesos Super Special Stage that evening. Saturday’s action takes place over six stages with the first car due to reach the finish close to the event’s permanent service park in Limassol in the south of the island at 18:03hrs local time.

The Cyprus Rally marks the finale of the IRC 2WD Cup for crews in two-wheel drive machinery. Both the drivers’ and manufacturers’ titles will be decided in Cyprus.

Another significant accolade up for grabs in Cyprus is the Colin McRae IRC Flat Out Trophy. The award is handed to the most spectacular driver who best embodies the spirit of the Scottish hero and rallying legend on rounds of the IRC. Its recipient is chosen by a panel consisting of IRC’s Motorsport Development Manager Jean-Pierre Nicolas, Gilbert Roy, the Director of Editorial and Programme Development at Eurosport Events, and Jim McRae, Colin’s father. A special award will also be given to the most spectacular driver of the year.


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