Alonso brake problems return while Panteli remains unstoppable in ERC2
Petros Panteli is on course for his second consecutive Cyprus Rally win in the FIA European Rally Championship’s ERC2 category, while Juan Carlos Alonso “won’t surrender” despite brake failure hurting his hopes of securing the title.
Q8 Oils Rally Team’s production class driver went fastest on all three stages to further secure his lead, but it wasn’t a trouble-free run. His Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X has been carrying a camshaft issue since yesterday afternoon, affecting power output at the lower end of the rev range.
But there’s no risk to his position with eight minutes in hand on Antonis Chilimintris in second place, who is “in a slower mood” thanks to points for the Cypriot championship already banked from yesterday.
Behind the local duo, Juan Carlos Alonso is looking to wrap-up a maiden ERC2 title but almost immediately hit trouble on the opening stage of the loop, Kapouras.
A brake fluid leak on leg one’s penultimate stage had already set him back and a similar issue cropped up only a few minutes into leg two, with air in the brake system leaving him unable to stop properly.
He pulled over to attempt repairs and lost over 13 minutes, then limped through the remaining two stages slowly, even having to drive into a bank on purpose just to get stopped at stage end.
Alonso remains determined to get back to service and finish the rally, with points for the fourth place he currently occupies enough to secure the ERC2 title with a round to spare. A retirement would leave Abarth Rally Cup frontrunners like Andrea Nucita and Dariusz Poloński mathematically in contention for the season finale, Rally Hungary.
“We have air in the brakes again. It’s not possible to drive like this, but we never surrender. Never. We take some air out in the stage and it works a little. We are here.”
Dmitry Feofanov (Sporta Klubs Autostils Rally Team) was the main beneficiary of Alonso’s brake woes, moving up to third place with over 11 minutes and counting in hand over Alonso.
Louis Papageorgiou (SLT Rally Team) had been in fifth place overnight but did not take part in the second leg, retiring in service before the first stage of the day.
Photo: Chris Rawes