FIA European Rally Championship 2018: Round 4 of 8, Cyprus Rally, 15-17 June
Finikoudes, Larnaca, 19h30, Sunday 17 June
Simos Galatariotis/Antonis Ioannou, first position
Bruno Magalhães/Hugo Magalhães, second position
Norbert Herczig/Ramon Ferencz, third position
A second ERC podium Norbert but when did you hear about the drama of the final stage and that you were third. What was your reaction?
We got a puncture on the last stage three or four kilometres before the finish. We were thinking we could take the fourth position but then after the stage we realised Nasser got a puncture and we reached a better position. We are here and we are really happy.
It was your first Cyprus Rally – how much did you enjoy the experience and how tough was the event?
Before the rally I thought some stage would be quite similar to some stages in our county. But at the start we couldn’t find the rhythm, we had a mistake in our pacenotes but after we could find a good speed and finally we are here at the finish.
The new leader of the FIA ERC after your third podium of the season. How good does that feel?
It’s amazing for sure. After my victory in the Acropolis and now the second place is amazing. I am in first place in the championship and this is very important for me. I don’t have a project for all the year, it’s rally by rally and it depends on the result. I am now going to try to find the sponsorship for the next one. This rally was a proper Cyprus Rally and everyone knew before the rally the last stage would be very difficult because there are a lot of stones there. Today was difficult for me because from one side I would like to fight for the victory and on the other side I need to avoid all the punctures because I have the opportunity to get the first place in the championship. It’s really good for us because we are second [here] and first in the championship. It couldn’t be better for us.
Second by 0.6s – happy to be second or disappointed not to have made the top step of the podium?
Of course when you lose by 0.6s it’s nothing. I was lucky because Nasser [Al-Attiyah] had a puncture in the last stage but when I past to Nasser he made a reverse and I need to stop. From one side I was lucky because he punctured. On the other side I was not so lucky because he made the reverse and I had to stop. But it’s like that.
At the start order selection on Friday you said a good result was vital for you to continue in the championship. Is that still the same situation?
Yes of course because we are in the middle of the championship. It will be tough but I will try to go to the next one.
Big congratulations Simos – your first win in the ERC by 0.6s, the third closest finish in ERC history and the first home winner of the Cyprus Rally in 10 years – just how good does that feel?
Thank you everybody for watching, the support was excellent and we felt it. Of course it’s a great feeling to win the rally, especially after the last stage when we thought all was lost when we had not one but two punctures. In the end we saw people cheering towards the finish line and we said ‘what’s going on here?’. But with a bit of luck – we also deserved it – we are here now!
What’s next for you Simos because you said before the start of the rally that you might do some more ERC events?
The summer and holidays!
It’s the first time the Cyprus Rally has been based in Larnaca – what did you think of the move here and this year’s event?
Well, as everybody knows Cyprus is one of the most beautiful islands in the world so if it’s in Nicosia or Larnaca everywhere is beautiful here and I cannot complain about that.
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