*Crews chase 24,000 euros prize fund in Ayia Napa
*Pioneering Nicosia stage in UN Buffer Zone runs twice
*Challenging mixed-surface format remains
The Cyprus Rally’s hugely popular Golden Stage initiative is back for 2017 with 24,000 euros up for grabs on the mixed-surface FIA European Rally Championship counter later this month.
Organisers of the Nicosia-based event, which takes place from 16-18 June, will present the driver setting the best cumulative time on Love Cyprus Golden Stage 1 and Love Cyprus Golden Stage 2 with a cheque for 10,000 euros. The top two-wheel-drive contender will receive 7,000 euros, while the leading Cypriot runner will be handed the same amount.
Love Cyprus Golden Stage 1 is an all-gravel affair measuring 5.31 kilometres and running along a section of Larnaca Bay in the south east of the island. Love Cyprus Golden Stage 2 is 74 per cent on gravel and 26 per cent on Tarmac and totals 6.17 kilometres. It’s located on the far southeast tip of Cyprus close to holiday resort of Ayia Napa.
Jean-Baptiste Ley, the ERC Co-ordinator, welcomed the return of the Love Cyprus Golden Stage. “While the outcome of the Cyprus Rally’s final two stages will no doubt be decisive in terms of the overall result, with a substantial prize fund to chase, the drivers will be trying to prove their talent right to the finish.”
Pioneering Nicosia stage gets two visits
The ground-breaking CNP ASFALISTIKI Super Special Stage, which crosses through the United Nations’ Buffer Zone into Northern Cyprus, will be run not once but twice in 2017, albeit over a shorter distance of 4.15 kilometres. Once referenced by the UN as “the most successful measure in the building of trust between the communities [of Nicosia] since 1974”, the mixed-surface test will be run at 11h27 and 16h59 local time on Saturday 17 June.
Route revamp for Cyprus Rally
As well as a double visit to the CNP ASFALISTIKI Super Special Stage in Nicosia, the Cyprus Rally route has been heavily revamped for 2017. Following the all-gravel Qualifying Stage from 10h03 local time on Friday 16 June, the ceremonial start takes place on Larnaca’s beachfront at 19h00 with the stage action getting underway the following morning. The bulk of the stages are a mixture of asphalt and gravel although the Cytanet Analiontas and Love Cyprus Golden Stage 1 are run on gravel only. At 23.43 kilometres, Cytanet Avdelero is the rally’s longest and used twice on Sunday 18 June. Meanwhile, the Lefkara stage has been renamed in memory of Giorgos Kyprianou, a rallying enthusiast and son of Cypriot champion Kypros Kyprianou. In total, the event features 14 stages over a competitive distance of 219.24 kilometres.