The Cyprus Rally has been enthralling spectators since 1970. Having attended a few of these events as a spectator I know the feeling. You wait in a spot that provides a good view of the approaching cars as they power down the track. You hear the engine noise, the clattering of small stones hitting the underside of the car, the crackle of the exhaust and then you see it. Momentarily. The car snaking around a corner comes into view and then disappears away from view, replaced by a haze of dust. As the dust settles, the hooter sounds and the next car gets underway to race around the winding, mountainside track in the hope of besting the attempts of all of the other drivers.
The Cyprus Rally puts car and crew to a significant test.
This could well be the understatement of the year. Rallying is tough on the car, the driver, the navigator and also the mechanics. When they say ‘rally proven’ in their advertising, this is what they mean; pushing the equipment to its limits to complete the course in the best possible time over a variety of punishing stages.
The challenging circuit is back on the European Rally Championship, this year in September. It will be the seventh of eight rounds of the Federation International Automobile (FIA) ERC. The last time the rally was run here in September was 2015. The dates for your calendar are 27 to 29 September 2019.
Although fundamentally a gravel rally, some tarmac sections feature, while demanding air and ground temperatures are often a factor.
Five Cyprus Rally facts:
1: The Cyprus Rally’s origins date back to 1970 when Victor Zachariades won in a Fiat 125.
2: Nasser Al-Attiyah is the rally’s most successful driver with five victories. Other winners include Stig Blomqvist, Colin McRae, Petter Solberg, Ari Vatanen and current European championship leader Alexey Lukyanuk, who took top honours in 2016.
3: There have been 10 ‘home’ winners of the Cyprus Rally since the event inception in 1970. Prior to Simos Galatariotis and Antonios Ioannou winning in 2018, Nicos Thomas and Spiros Georgiou were the last Cypriot pair to triumph in 2008.
4: The Cyprus Rally has formed part of the ERC calendar in its various formats since 1978. From 2014 it has been continuously on the European calendar.
5: Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean behind Sicily and Sardinia. The event is run by the Cyprus Automobile Association.
Keep up with news about the Cyprus Rally 2019 here on the FIA website.