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Remembering when... Home hero Galatariotis claimed ERC Cyprus glory by 0.6s!

2019-09-06T17:30:43+01:00September 6th, 2019|2019, Cyprus Rally|

Home hero Simos Galatariotis became the first Cypriot winner of his country’s FIA European Rally Championship counter for a decade with a dramatic last-gasp victory over Bruno Magalhães by 0.6s on 17 June 2018.

In what was the third-closest finish in recent ERC history, Galatariotis and co-driver Antonis Ioannou triumphed despite carrying a front-right puncture to the end of the closing ENEOS Golden Stage.

Although victory eluded SEAJETS-backed Magalhães and namesake co-driver Hugo by the smallest of margins, the Portuguese moved to the top of the ERC standings at what was the halfway point of the season.

Nasser Al-Attiyah had stormed into first place on the penultimate stage, taking 20.6s out of Galatariotis to gain a 2.3s lead with one stage remaining. However, Al-Attiyah was forced to stop and change a puncture close to the finish of the Cyprus Rally’s final test, his attempts to continue with a deflating tyre for several kilometres ultimately in vain.

ARC Sport’s Magalhães overtook Al-Attiyah in-stage moments before the finish line to snatch second and the ERC points lead. The Portuguese driver’s approach of being sensible and avoiding rocks at all costs paid dividends, ensuring another top result after his win on the EKO Acropolis Rally two weeks previously.

Four-time Hungarian champion Norbert Herczig was promoted to a surprise second consecutive podium finish by Al-Attiyah’s delay, finishing 1m21.4s behind Galatariotis aboard his MOL Racing Team ŠKODA Fabia R5. Al-Attiyah settled for fourth place for Autotek Motorsport after his late tyre change, while fifth went to Toksport WRT’s Orhan Avcioğlu, his first ERC top five finish.

ACCR Czech Team-entered Vojtĕch Štajf beat Dávid Botka to sixth by 13.4s, while Albert von Thurn und Taxis scored his first ERC points finish of 2018 in eighth.

Petros Panteli sealed ninth overall and the ERC2 win for the Q8 Oils Rally Team, ahead of a rapidly recovering Alexandros Tsouloftas in P10. It was an astounding day’s work from Tsouloftas, going fastest on leg two to score seven bonus points and also win the Golden Stage cash prize.

Laurent Pellier dominated ERC3 in a Saintéloc Junior Team Peugeot 208 R2, while Emma Falcón beat Catie Munnings to ERC Ladies’ Trophy honours.