Cyprus Mail

It’s time for the 50th Cyprus Rally

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It’s time for the 50th Cyprus Rally! At 18:00 on Friday, October 6, at the old Nicosia City Hall in Eleftheria’ Square, the 27 crews of this year’s anniversary race will appear on the ramp of the festive start ceremony.

From 16:00, Konstantinou Palaiologou street will be closed for traffic, from the height of OXI to Eleftheria Square. This is so that the cars can take their place in the staging area of the old town hall and the fans can enjoy the drivers and cars, from the road adjacent to the Town Hall and from the Square, where the drivers will pass.

Highlighting history

As part of the celebrations for the 50 editions of the Cyprus Rally, an exhibition will be hosted in Eleftheria Square, with historic cars and a gallery of important moments of the rally on display.

Highlighting the history of the rally, which has been an important part of Cypriot sports for over half a century, is a particularly important aspect of this year’s event.

The Cyprus Rally receives worldwide recognition, after all, it was on the WRC calendar for eight years, with the great Sebastian Loeb scoring four victories on the island, three in a row.

The record of three consecutive victories is shared with the Frenchman by Alessandro Fiorio, who in a Lancia Delta Integrale won the races in 1992 and 1994.

Nasser starts first

First on the ramp with his Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 will be the driver with the most wins (7) in the history of the Cyprus Rally, Nasser Al-Attiyah from Qatar, with Mathieu Baumel from Andorra as co-driver.

Al-Attiyah, who considers the island as his second home, in addition to being the record holder on Cyprus’ special stages, is a five-time winner of the Dakar Rally and a bronze Olympic medallist in skeet shooting at London 2012.

Middle East Rally Championship (MERC) standings leader Abdullah Al-Rawahi of Oman, with co-driver Ata Al-Hmoud of Jordan, will start second in a Škoda Fabia R5. Al-Rawahi is looking to finish ahead of Al-Attiyah to capture the Middle East title for the first time, while the Qatari is looking to become the MERC champion for the 19th time.

The first Cypriot crew to start is that of Petros Panteli with co-driver Pambos Laos, with No3 placed on their brand-new Renault Clio Rally 3. They will be followed by the Cypriot champion of 2016 and 2015, Christos Demosthenous, with co-driver Kypros Christodoulou with a Škoda Fabia R5.

Next up will be Costas Zenonos with co-driver Phanos Christofi with a Citroën DS3 R5, who are currently second in the standings of this year’s local championship.

With No6, the winner of the 2018 Cyprus Rally and champion of Cyprus in 2022, 2021, 2020, 2018 and 2017, Simos Galatariotis, with co-driver Antonis Ioannou, will appear on the ramp in a Volkswagen Polo GTI R5. Galatariotis is leading in this year’s Cyprus championship, having won both previous events.

No7 has been allocated to Yiangos Yiangou and Aristos Nicolaou, with a Hyundai i20 R5, who are in 3rd place of this year’s local championship.

The third overseas crew, who are participating in the Middle East Rally Championship, will compete with No8 and is Meshari Al-Thefiri (Kuwait) and co-driver Nasser Al-Kuwari (Qatar), in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X.

You can see here the entry list of the 50th Cyprus Rally.

The battle of the titles

The 50th Cyprus Rally will decide the Middle East Champion for 2023, as it would be the last event of the season. Al-Rawahi is ahead of Al-Attiyah by six points and if he finishes in front of the Qatari, he will emerge as champion for the first time in his career.

Al-Attiyah on the other hand, if he wins the MERC category (which offers 30pts) will claim the title, unless Al-Rawahi finishes second (24pts). In this likely scenario (since there are only three MERC crews), we will have a dead heat and the FIA would need to determine the winners of the championship, according to the Sporting Regulations for FIA Regional Rally Championships.

Finally, for Meshari Al-Thefiri (who is 24 points behind the leader) to take the title, he must finish and at the same time, Al-Attiyah and Al-Rawahi must not finish the rally. In this case, the Kuwaiti will take the title by a margin of one point from Al-Rawahi.

In regards to the Cyprus Championship, the two days of the 50th Cyprus Rally would act as the 3rd and 4th rounds of the local championship, with each race day counting as a separate round.

Simos Galatariotis and Antonis Ioannou won the first two rallies, with two others following in Limassol and Paphos. A Turkish Cypriot crew also will participate in this year’s event, under the Cyprus flag, with driver Yildiz Ömer and co-driver Ahmet Özderem in a Ford Fiesta ST.

This year’s event is sponsored by Honda – Galatariotis, ANCO Catering Equipment, Cablenet, Stop Fire, Andreopoulos Signs and Farmakas Natural Spring Water. It is supported by the Nicosia and Aglantzia Municipalities.

Details of the 50th Cyprus Rally

Following the start on Friday, the action will be transferred to Saturday (07/10) and Sunday’s (08/10) twelve special stages, with a total length of 195.36 kilometres. On Saturday the drivers will cover the three repeated special stages in Xyliatos, Kapouras and Kourdali and on Sunday in Yeri, Lefkara and Agios Epifanios.

The route of the 2023 50th Cyprus Rally:

Friday 6 October

Ceremonial start Nicosia – 18:00

Saturday 7 October

SS1 Xyliatos 1 8,05 09:33

SS2 Kapouras 1 19,86 10:01

SS3 Kourdali 1 21,01 11:04

SS4 Xyliatos 2 8,05 14:12

SS5 Kapouras 2 19,86 14:40

SS6 Kourdali 2 21,01 15:43

Sunday 8 October

SS7 Yeri 1 14,10 08:43

SS8 Lefkara 1 19,78 09:51

SS9 Agios Epifanios 1 14,88 10:54

SS10 Yeri 2 14,10 13:22

SS11 Lefkara 2 19,78 14:30

SS12 Agios Epifanios 2 14,88 15:33

Finish ceremony Nicosia – 18:30

Route Maps

Day 1:

Day 2:

The finish will take place in front of the old Nicosia Town Hall, on Sunday 8 October at 18:30.

The Service Park is located opposite the Police Headquarters, in Aglantzia and this year the spectators will have the opportunity to enter the service park and see the cars and mechanics up close at work. In the previous Cyprus Rally, in 2021, the Service Park was closed to the public, due to the protection measures against COVID-19.

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