Leading Cypriot Christos Demosthenous heads the FIA ERC Production Car Cup category with Stavros Antoniou a mere 2.7s in front of Petros Panteli in another Mitsubishi Lancer after nine stages of the CNP Asfalistiki Cyprus Rally.
Vitaliy Pushkar (pictured) is next up but it was a tough day for the Ukrainian’s title rival Martin Hudec. After overheating issues slowed him this morning, the Czech dropped more time in the afternoon when his Lancer suffered a broken front differential.
“It’s been a terrible afternoon but we are here and now we must go to service and fix the car,” said Hudec. “Maybe tomorrow will be something different. The front differential has been broken from the first stage this afternoon. I am very happy we are here but it’s not good for us, for the title.”
Pushkar added: “It’s been a good day for the car with no problems but for me there has been some problems on the road, especially with the big stones and the loose conditions because of my position.”
Bruno Magalhães was delighted after completing leg one of the CNP Asfalistiki Cyprus Rally in fifth overall and on course for third-place points in the FIA European Rally Championship.
Driving a Peugeot 208T16 alongside co-driver and fellow Portuguese Carlos Magalhães, the multiple national champion has claimed two top-three stage times during an encouraging Cyprus debut.
“It’s been a very good day for us, the first time on gravel with the car,” he said. “After today we know what I have to do tomorrow to improve the traction. We don’t have much traction but on the asphalt stage it was good for me because one time I was second, one time I was third. We have to change some things but I am very happy with my job today.”
While it was a successful day for Magalhães, Craig Breen has been hit by misfortune in his similar Peugeot. The Irishman is sixth overnight. Meanwhile, Magalhães’ Delta Rally team-mate Robert Consani stopped with a mechanical failure on his 207 S2000 on stage seven.
As well as leading round nine of the FIA European Rally Championship heading into Sunday’s closing six stages of the CNP Asfalistiki Cyprus Rally, Kajetan Kajetanowicz has two other reasons to be cheerful in Nicosia this evening.
The Pole has not only moved ahead of Václav Pech to fourth overall in the ERC title standings after bagging seven leg bonus points for his day-one heroics, he also heads the race to become the inaugural ERC Gravel Master with an 11-point lead over Craig Breen.
ERC Gravel Masters points after leg one (provisional)
Kajetan Kajetanowicz: 72 points
Yazeed Al-Rajhi: 50
Craig Bren: 34
Bruno Magalhães: 20
Robert Consani: 11
Stavros Antoniou: 9
Kajetan Kajetanowicz: 153 points
Craig Breen: 142Ott Tänak: 127
Kevin Abbring: 91
Alexey Lukyanuk: 80
Bernardo Sousa: 76