This year FxPro Cyprus Rally is not the part of the World Rally Championship (WRC). Instead, it’s a stage of some Intercontinental Rally Championship (IRC). Not only that, but also it’s the last stage of IRC, by which both the winning driver and the winning manufacturer have already been decided. Needless to say, there wasn’t much to see, so I decided to skip the even altogether this year. And I almost did.
Yesterday though I went to spend some time with son at Yermasogia dam, which became somewhat traditional for us, before going to Pehnidotopos kids entertainment center. While driving to the dam we were passed by a few rally cars, which gave me a suspicion that the rally stage was somewhere up the road. That was surprising, because I thought the event finished on Saturday.
It turned out the suspicion was right. There was some stage of the rally up the road and it had its finish line exactly on the dam itself. Left with no choice, Maxim and I went to watch. We were late, of course, but still managed to catch a few cars on the asphalt road.
Most Cyprus Rally stages are on gravel and I was wondering how much fun is it to watch the cars driving on asphalt. Surfaces with less traction – gravel, snow and ice – provide a full range of spectator entertainment. Asphalt, of course, is faster, but is it as much fun? The answer is no. While the cars still drift and skid, the pass you by much faster, and there is no aftermath, such as dust and flying stones. Boring. Even though the scenery is beautiful.
Having no camera with me, I shot a few short videos using my mobile phone. You can see them at my YouTube channel.
Yesterday I went to see WRC 2009 FxPro Cyprus Rally Special Stage 6. It’s a 30 km long stage, which pass by the famous Kelefos Bridge. Usually it’s packed with spectators, and once the stage was even cancelled because the proper safety level could not have been achived. Instead of watching the rally at the Kelefos Bridge view point, we went to the Finish of the stage and walked down a few turns from there. It was an asphalt road with a few patches of gravel. Weather conditions weren’t the best from the spectators’ point of view – cold, windy, with occasional rain drops. But that could not have stopped true rally fans.
As always, I made a few pictures and uploaded them to my Flickr photostream.
Yesterday I attended the official opening ceremony of the WRC 2009 FxPro Cyprus Rally. It was a pretty big event with TV coverage, cars passing the podium, FxPro girls, and a concert of Sakis Rouvas – some kind of Eurovision star.
I didn’t take any good pictures, but the FxPro press center were kind enough to share. Click here to see more.
The surprise of the evening was that FxPro is not only sponsoring the Cyprus Rally, but also an FxPro Rally Team.
Disclaimer : FxPro is trade mark of EuroOrient Securities and Financial Services Ltd, the company that I work for.
This year, World Rally Championship is back to Cyprus after a long break. I’ve been at the shakedown stage today and made quite a few pictures.
There are much less teams this year due to tough financial times, but those people who I wanted to see – Sebastian Loeb and Peter Solberg are here. Solberg represents his own team and drives Citroen instead of his usual Subaru Impreza. Subaru World Rally Team has a new car for this season, which is a hatchback. If I remember correctly, they are the last major team to switch to hatchbacks. Pity, as these small cars are not as impressive as the larger ones.
Tomorrow the special stages start. They are further away than in previous years, and further apart, but should be fun to watch. Tickets are 5 EUR per stage or 20 EUR (not completely sure) for the pass to all stages. Don’t forget to grab some warm clothes for the mountain stages as it is pretty called up there.
Homeboy Media News lets us know that the Cyprus Rally is back this year ( official web site confirms the news). The even will take place between Friday, May 16th and Sunday, May 18th.
Takis Kyriakides, Cyprus Rally Head of the Course, said “the new route will incorporate old tracks, which have been kept in fine condition through re-grading operations and regular maintenance, and the new ones designed and constructed this year”.
However, the event will not be a part of the World Rally Championship (WRC) as it used to be during the last few years. There was a chance that Cyprus would come back to WRC schedule this year, but it just didn’t happen. Next year maybe.