Andreas Mikkelsen has gone fastest through the first run of the inaugural Love Cyprus Golden Stage Rally, which was televised live on Eurosport and Cypriot channel LumiereTV.
Driving an M-Sport Ford Fiesta S2000, the flying Norwegian was a staggering 10.3s quicker than
Nasser Al-Attiyah over the demanding 25-kilometre mixed-surface stage held in baking sunshine against the backdrop of the Mediterranean island’s spectacular landscape.
“That was very tough and the gravel was very rough,” said Mikkelsen, 21. “The Tarmac section was tricky with gravel being pulled on the road but we had a good push in there. The feeling was good but it’s not over yet. We still have one more stage.”
Behind FxPro Cyprus Rally winner Al-Attiyah (Fiesta), Bryan Bouffier completed the top three in his Peugeot 207 Super 2000. Martin Prokop (Fiesta) was fourth with Lebanon’s Roger Feghali fifth in the sole Skoda Fabia S2000. Cypriot hero Nicos Thomas was sixth in his Peugeot 207.
In Category B for two-litre turbocharged production cars, Roman Kresta holds the advantage after run one in his Ralliart Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX. Suzuki Swift driver Karl Kruuda tops Category C for two-wheel drive machines.
There was despair for Franz Wittmann, whose Peugeot 207 stopped on the stage.
All competitors carried Colin McRae Vision windscreen strips in support of the charity established in memory of the 1995 world rally champion.
Crews are now returning to the service park in Limassol to prepare for the second and final Golden Stage Rally run, which will be shown live on Eurosport from 1400hrs CET.
TOP 10 POSITIONS AFTER RUN ONE
1 Andreas Mikkelsen (M-Sport Ford Fiesta S2000) 18m37.6s
2 Nasser Al-Attiyah(M-Sport Ford Fiesta S2000) +10.3s
3 Bryan Bouffier (Peugeot 207 S2000) +12.3s
4 Martin Prokop (M-Sport Ford Fiesta S2000) +14.8s
5 Roger Feghali (Skoda Fabia S2000) +21.5s
6 Nicos Thomas (Peugeot 207 S2000) +44.9s
7 Jaromir Tarabus (M-Sport Ford Fiesta S2000) +52.8s
8 Daniel Oliveira (Peugeot 207 S2000) +1m05.5s
9 Roman Kresta (Ralliart Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX) +1m20.6s
10 Constantinos Tingirides (Ralliart Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX) +1m35.6s
Visit www.goldenstagerally.com for more details