Christos Demosthenous first among Cypriot crews
Engine gremlins struck again early in the morning today for the 9-times Middle-East Rally champion Nasser Al Attiyah as he was forced to park his Ford Fiesta RRC just after exiting the Service Park. The engine was overheat much like yesterday during the CNP ASFALISTIKI Super Special Stage. Initially the Qatari champion was planning to repair the car and enter the second day under Rally 2 regulations although just before the end of the first loop the team announced that Al Attiyah and Bernachinni were officially out of the rally. This left plenty of space for battles out on the stages with the first loop having three different winners.The rallying action started at 09:20 with SS2 in Kotsiatis. Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi crossed the finish line with his Citroen DS3 RRC with a time of 9:38.3. He was closely followed by Kajetan Kajetanowicz who was late leaving service and received a 10 second penalty and Yazeed Al Rajhi who were the other two drivers to win stages in the morning loop of leg 1. Abdul Aziz Al-Kuwari finished SS2 in fourth place in his Ford Fiesta with Craig Breen being fifth fastest. The Portuguese Maghalaes duo and their Peugeot 208 T16 were sixth with the top ten being completed by Stavros Antoniou, Michael Posidias, Christos Demosthenous and the French driver Robert Consani.
The Qualifying Stage winner Kajetan Kajetanowicz was fastest in SS3 (Lyhtrodontas) in his Ford Fiesta R5. Craig Breen and Bruno Maghalaes slugged it out for second fastest with the two drivers being separated only by 7 seconds. Abdul Azziz Al-Kuwari was fourth fastest with SS3 winner Yazeed Al-Rajhi settling for fifth. Khalid Al Qassimi drove carefully through Lythrodontas which cost him some time, finishing the stage as sixth fastest. Behind the top six were Robert Consani, Antonin Tlustak, Christos Demosthenous and Petros Panteli with the Cypriot crews showing consistency throughout the first two stages.
Lefkara was next with SS4 where the CNP ASFALISTIKI Super Special Stage winner getting the fastest time. By this point of the event plenty of crews had complaining about rising water temperatures in the engine bay however Yazeed Al Rajhi had stated that the engine temperature alarm was distracting him and said “I removed it so I could focus. If the engine burns I’ll just replace it!”. Right behind the Saudi was the Pole Kajetanowicz who was tackling a power steering failure which sorted itself out on the way to the stage. Third fastest was Abdul Aziz Al-Kuwari with his Ford Fiesta followed by Robert Consani. In fifth place for SS4 was Khalid Al Qassimi who had a spin and had to reverse back on the road, costing him precious time. The local crews found their rhythm here with Petros Panteli being sixth fastest in his Mitsubishi Evo X followed by his compatriot Christos Demosthenous. Rounding up the top ten here were Bruno Maghalaes, Craig Breen and local driver Michael Posidias.
The final stage of the morning loop, SS5 in Klavdia was a revelation Kajetan Kajetanowicz who picked up a puncture which did not hinder him at all on his way to winning the stage! The Pole was fastest with Craig Breen finding speed here and finishing the stage in second place. Local driver Stavros Antoniou with “Chips Junior” by his side turned heads here in Klavdia by picking up the third fastest time overall. Another local driver, Christos Demosthenous was fourth. Fifth fastest on the stage was Qatari Abdul Aziz Al-Kuwari with Yazeed Al Rajhi, Khalid Al Qassimi, Petros Panteli, Bruno Maghalaes and Michael Posidias rounding up the top ten in what was a brilliant stage for the local crews.
This finds Yazeed Al Rajhi leading the CNP ASFALISTIKI Cyprus Rally 2014 with only 10.4 seconds from second-place Abdul Aziz Al-Kuwari. Third fastest in the event so far is Kajto Kajetanowicz regardless of his ten 10-second penalty. Following the Pole in fourth place is Khalid Al Qassimi with Bruno Maghalaes being fifth fastest. Robert Consani will enter the afternoon loop being sixth fastest. Christos Demosthenous is seventh fastest so far. Irishman Craig Breen who is currently third in the ERC ranking, is eighth after receiving a penalty of 1 minute and 20 seconds for late arrival in SS5. Breen’s Peugeot 208 T16 could not engage the engine “stage mode” and was driving in “road mode” for a large portion of the morning loop. Ninth fastest is Petros Panteli and Stavros Antoniou finished the morning loop in tenth place, completing a very positive morning for the local crews.
The cars will tackle the same four stages for the afternoon loop before returning to the Service Park to end Leg 1 of the CNP ASFALISTIKI Cyprus Rally 2014.
1 Yazeed Al Rajhi Michael Orr Ford Fiesta RRC 54:17.8
2 Abdul Aziz Al Kuwari Duffy Gilian Ford Fiesta 54:28.3 +10.5
3 Kajetan Kajetanowicz Jaroslaw Baran Ford Fiesta R5 54:38.9 +21.1
4 Skh Khalid Al Qassimi Chris Patterson Citroen DS3 RRC 54:54.6 +36.8
5 Bruno Magalhaes Carlos Magalhaes Peugeot 208 T16 54:14.8 +57.0
6 Robert Consani Maxime Villot Peugeot 207 S2000 55:42.6 +1:24.8
7 Christos Demosthenous Pambos Laos Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX 56:17.1 +1:59.3
8 Craig Breen Scott Martin Peugeot 208 T16 56:27.5 +2:09.7
9 Petros Panteli Giorgos Alexandrou Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X 56:46.0 +2:28.2
10 Stavros Antoniou «Chips Junior» Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX 56:59.6 +2:41.8
11 Michalis Posidias Phanos Christophi Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X 57:12.2 +2:54.4
12 Vitaliy Puskhar Ivan Mishyn Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X 57:27.8 +3:10.0
13 Panikos Polycarpou Gerald Winter Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX 58:10.1 +3:52.3
14 Antonin Tlustak Jan Skaloud Skoda Fabia S2000 58:17.6 +3:59.8
15 Kyriacos Kyriacou Christos Aristeidou Subaru Impreza 58:36.3 +4:18.5
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