ERC Cyprus Rally Day Report: Kajetanowicz increases ERC lead with big win in Cyprus

Kajetan Kajetanowicz has increased his lead in the 2015 FIA European Rally Championship after winning the CNP ASFALISTIKI Cyprus Rally, which finished in Larnaca today.

Co-driven by Jarek Baran, the Polish star set the fastest time on 14 of the fast 16 mixed-surface stages in his LOTOS Rally Team Ford Fiesta R5 to win by an impressive 4m25.1s. Victory sees Kajetanowicz add the 2015 ERC Gravel Master title to the ERC Ice Master title he won earlier in the year.

Whilst others suffered all sorts of problems, Kajetanowicz enjoyed a near fault-free run in his Pirelli-shod M-Sport car. His only drama came on SS12, when he was unable to avoid a big rock in the middle of the road. The impact stopped the power steering working, but rather than bring the car to a halt, turn the engine off and re-set it, he waiting until he got to a fast straight section of road, put his foot on the clutch, turned the engine off and hit the re-set button while the car was still moving. He had to do this three times before the re-set worked, but the ingeniously clever fix cost him very little time.

“It’s been an amazing rally for us,” said Kajetanowicz. “We pushed very hard right up until the finish. Many drivers had problems, which shows how difficult the Cyprus Rally is. Our team has worked so well again this weekend. It was a big rally and a big win for us, and the points we have scored here are very important for the championship.”

Bruno Magalhães finished an excellent second. Dust in his Peugeot 208 T16 was a problem today, as he couldn’t breath, couldn’t see and it was a huge distraction. The Portuguese ace was at a loss to where it was all coming from – until he turned the heater off (which was turned on to help keep the engine temperature down) and the dust stopped coming into the car through the air vents!

Having moved up to third on the opening stage of the final day, Robert Consani had to make sure the engine temperature didn’t get too high in his Citroën DS3 R5. Together with new co-driver Lara Vanneste, Consani drove exceptionally well, and not even a rear puncture on the final stage could deny the Frenchman a well-deserved podium finish.

Jaromír Tarabus went off the road twice on the opening two stages today, once for a lengthy 100 metres! He enjoyed a good battle for position with Consani, and despite his ŠKODA Fabia S2000 picking up a puncture, the Czech driver scooped a good batch of ERC points with a fine fourth overall.

Alexey Lukyanuk endured another troublesome day in his Russian Performance Motorsport Ford Fiesta R5. Having started eighth this morning, he moved up three places in the first two stages, despite a roll bar link breaking on the opening stage, causing the back of the car to wonder at high speed. On the first stage after midday service, which was ironically a repeat of the Yeri test, the Russian driver hit a rock, which broke a roll bar, which eventually punctured the rear right tyre. This left him with no spare for the remaining three stages, and whilst he was contemplating how to survive that, the engine picked up a misfire. The final problem came on the final stage, when the rear shock absorbers cried enough. Despite enduring a season full of problems in one event, Lukyanuk’s tenacity and perseverance was rewarded with fifth overall – and the Colin McRae ERC Flat Out Trophy.

ERC2 drivers Dávid Botka and Christos Demosthenous finished sixth and seventh overall respectively, while Antonín Tlusťák bettered his 10th place finish last year by coming home eighth – despite picking up a front right puncture on SS13 in his ŠKODA Fabia S2000.

With the top 10 starting today’s final leg in reverse order, Raul Jeets was running first on the road in his MM-Motorsport Fiesta R5. Unfortunately, the Michelin-shod car broke a driveshaft on SS10, leaving the Estonian driver to complete the morning’s loop in rear-wheel drive only. There was more drama on SS12, when he hit a rock in the middle of the stage, which jammed the front left wheel into the arch, preventing it from turning. He continued until the car bogged down on a slow corner, forcing Jeets to get out and begin emergency repairs, costing him nine minutes. The team replaced the gearbox in midday service, enabling him to reach the finish of the Cyprus Rally at his first attempt.

Botka bounces back to claim brilliant ERC2 victory
Equipped with a new gearbox in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX for day two, Dávid Botka soon reclaimed the lead of ERC2 on the Cyprus Rally. The Hungarian driver started the final day 24.9s behind local driver Christos Demosthenous, and just four stages later had closed the gap to 4.9s. Fastest time on SS13 saw Botka back in front, and he extended that advantage to 25.5s by the end of the event. Demosthenous was nonetheless delighted to finish second in ERC2, achieving his aim of finishing top Cypriot driver with seventh overall. Vojtěch Štajf suffered from a lack of confidence with his pace notes, especially on today’s fastest sections, and with a small team of just three mechanics he didn’t want to go off and damage his Subaru Czech National Team Impreza WRX STI. The Czech driver still finished a magnificent third, to ensure the battle for the ERC2 title will go down to the final round. Stavros Antoniou was on the rev-limiter for a lot of day two, as he pushed hard for Cyprus rally championship points. He was rewarded with a fourth place ERC2 finish in his Mitsubishi. Dominykas Butvilas returned under Rally2 rules with the aim of scoring day points, and set ERC2 fastest time on five of the day’s eight stages in his Subaru Poland Rally Team Impreza WRX STI. Panikos Polykarpou also re-started, but a broken rear driveshaft slowed his Mitsubishi. Although he never hit anything, Peter Ranga lost a wheel on his Mitsubishi on SS13 and was forced to retire from third position.

“Dimi” does it, as Suzuki driver scores maximum ERC3 points
Cyprus-based “Dimi” scored maximum ERC3 points, after a fine drive in his Suzuki Swift Sport. The 42-year old Moscow-born driver enjoyed the faster and smoother roads, and said his little 1.6-litre car was on “full gas” for 80% of the Yeri stage! Not even a front right puncture near the end of SS11 could deny “Dimi” a well-deserved ERC3 points bonanza. He was the only starter in the class.

TOP 10 POSITIONS (after 16 stages, 204.42 kilometres)
1. Kajetan Kajetanowicz (POL)/Jarek Baran (POL) Ford Fiesta R5  2h08m45.4s
2. Bruno Magalhães (PRT)/Hugo Magalhães (PRT) Peugeot 208 T16  +4m25.1s
3. Robert Consani (FRA)/Lara Vanneste (BEL) Citroën DS3 R5  +5m36.0s
4. Jaromír Tarabus (CZE)/Daniel Trunkát (CZE) ŠKODA Fabia S2000  +6m09.8s
5. Alexey Lukyanuk (BLR)/Alexey Arnautov (BLR) Ford Fiesta R5  +7m15.5s
6. Dávid Botka (HUN)/Péter Mihalik (HUN) Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX  +7m56.8s
7. Christos Demosthenous (CYP)/Pambos Laos (CYP) Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX  +8m22.3s
8. Antonín Tlusťák (CZE)/Ladislav Kučera (CZE) ŠKODA Fabia S2000  +9m39.7s
9. Vojtěch Štajf (CZE)/František Rajnoha (CZE) Subaru Impreza WRX STI  +11m45.4s
10. Savvas Savva (CYP)/Andreas Papandreou (CYP) Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX  +11m47.0s

FIA ERC2: Dávid Botka (HUN)/Péter Szeles (HUN) Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX
FIA ERC3: Dimi (CYP)/Zoli (CYP) Suzuki Swift Sport
Colin McRae ERC Flat Out Trophy: Alexey Lukyanuk (BLR)

RALLY LEADERS
SS1:
Alexey Lukyanuk
SS2-16: Kajetan Kajetanowicz

STAGE WINNERS
Day one (Saturday 26 September, 108.90 kilometres):
SS1:
Kotsiatis 1 (15.20kms): Lukyanuk/Butvilas/Dimi
SS2: DHL Lythrodontas 1 (22.00kms): Kajetanowicz/Botka/Dimi
SS3: Lagia 1 (10.34kms): Kajetanowicz/Botka/Dimi
SS4: Klavdia 1 (11.42kms): Kajetanowicz/Demosthenous/Dimi
SS5: DHL Lythrodontas 2 (22.00kms): Kajetanowicz/Botka/Dimi
SS6: Lagia 1 (10.34kms): Kajetanowicz/Demosthenous/Dimi
SS7: Klavdia 2 (11.42kms): Kajetanowicz/Demosthenous/Dimi
SS8: CNP Asfalistiki SSS (6.48kms): Kajetanowicz/Botka/Dimi

Day two (Sunday 27 September, 95.52 kilometres):
SS9:
Yeri 1 (13.14kms): Kajetanowicz/Butvilas/Dimi
SS10: DHL Ayia Marina 1 (11.41kms): Kajetanowicz/Butvilas/Dimi
SS11: Kellia 1 (10.04kms): Kajetanowicz/Butvilas/Dimi
SS12: Tseri 1 (13.17kms): Lukyanuk/Butvilas/Dimi
SS13: Yeri 2 (13.14kms): Kajetanowicz/Botka/Dimi
SS14: DHL Ayia Marina 2 (11.41kms): Kajetanowicz/Butvilas/Dimi
SS15: Kellia 2 (10.04kms): Kajetanowicz/Butvilas/Dimi
SS16: Tseri 2 (13.17kms): Kajetanowicz/Butvilas/Dimi

KEY STATISTICS
ERC wins in 2015:
Breen 3, Kajetanowicz 2, Loix 1, Lukyanuk 1, Kopecký 1.
ERC stage wins in 2015: Kajetanowicz 42, Breen 27, Lukyanuk 21, Kopecký 9, Loix 5, Lefebvre 4, Bouffier 4, Barrable 4, Kangur 3, Abbring 3, Pech 2, J Moffett 1, Kruuda 1, Jeets 1, Moura 1.

CHAMPIONSHIP POSITIONS
Go to Fiaerc.com for the championship positions following round eight of 10.

WATCH INSIDE ERC ON EUROSPORT – CHECK OUT THE WATCH IT ON TV SECTION OF FIAERC.COM FOR LOCAL BROADCAST DETAILS

WHAT’S NEXT?
SEAJETS Acropolis Rally, 10-11 October 2015:
Organised by OMAE – Hellenic Motorsport Federation – the penultimate round of the 2015 FIA European Rally Championship is based in Loutraki and will contain nine gravel stages, totalling 202.63 kilometres. Media contact: Helen Xenakis, media@acropolisrally.gr, +30 210 68 33 990.

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