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DOHA: Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah (pictured) is set to take part in this week’s Cyprus International Rally, organisers confirmed yesterday.
Champion in 2010, Al Attiyah will be in Cyprus with his M-Sport Ford Fiesta RRC.
Al Attiyah, currently joint 3rd on the MERC leaderboard, has consistently proved himself the man to beat over Cyprus stages.
Currently 9 points behind championship leader Abdulaziz Al Kuwari of Qatar (also here this weekend with a MINI JCW), Al Attiyah will be hoping that Cyprus brings him another win.
Lebanon’s Roger Feghali, who sits level with Al Attiyah on 43 points in his Fiesta S2000, will be keen to take a sizeable share of the Cyprus points ahead of the 2012 MERC calendar closer in Dubai in November.
With just a couple of days to go until this year’s much-anticipated Cyprus Rally, the organisers have confirmed a strong line-up for what promises to be a memorable late-season event.
Taking place from November 2 to 4, the Cyprus Rally is once again being organised by the Cyprus Automobile Association (CAA) and will serve as both the season closer of the 2012 Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC), and the penultimate round of the FIA Middle East Rally Championship (MERC). An impressive roster of international, regional and national drivers will take to Friday’s start ramp, all looking to secure ever-important points, particularly the IRC competitors who will be looking to take advantage of the event’s co-efficient 2 status to double whatever points they win.
Last year saw this mixed surface event host a thrilling five-way fight for the IRC drivers’ crown, which was eventually won by Skoda UK’s Andreas Mikkelsen.
Mikkelsen is back this year, currently leading the IRC in his Fabia S2000 with an unassailable 136 points, which means that he will essentially enjoy a three-day victory lap here this weekend. Skoda might already have secured the IRC Manufacturers title in San Remo (its third in as many years), but with Mikkelsen already vowing to fight hard for the win, and the Cyprus event also counting towards this year’s MERC, the IRC Production Cup, and the IRC 2WD Cup, fans can be sure of sublime racing action this week.
In terms of the other IRC championships being contested in Cyprus at the weekend, Robert Consani enters the event with a possibility of securing both the IRC Production Cup and the IRC 2WD Cup.
Consani currently holds a 22-point advantage over his rival Andreas Aignier in the IRC Production Cup, but being unable to compete the event in his Renault Megane RS (which can only be used on all-asphalt rallies), Consani will drive a Clio R3 and thus will only score points in the 2WD category, where he holds an 11-point advantage over Harry Hunt.
A number of acclaimed local drivers will also take to the start ramp, including Paraskevas Paraskeva, Costas Laos, Savvas Savva, Charalambos Timotheou, among others.
The 2012 Cyprus Rally will see crews cover a total of 694.76km.