MERC Cyprus Rally 2008 preview

SUNSHINE ISLAND PREPARES A NEW AND EXCITING CYPRUS RALLY 2008 Event bids for a return to WRC status. Preparations are under way for Cyprus Rally 2008, one of the most exciting events of the FIA motorsport calendar, which will take place on ...

SUNSHINE ISLAND PREPARES A NEW AND EXCITING CYPRUS RALLY 2008

Event bids for a return to WRC status.

Preparations are under way for Cyprus Rally 2008, one of the most exciting events of the FIA motorsport calendar, which will take place on the eastern Mediterranean sunshine island on 16/18 May.

The rally route, looping through the pine-clad Troodos mountains, has again been revamped, with newly-built tracks which will test the abilities of seasoned competitors from all over Europe and the region, including 23 who are challenging for the FIA Middle East Championship, of which the Cyprus Rally is part.

Takis Kyriakides, Cyprus Rally Clerk of the Course, said: "The new route will incorporate old tracks, which have been kept in fine condition through re-grading operations and regular maintenance, and the new ones designed and constructed this year. As a result of the new work, it will feature some new, very long and fascinating special stages through the mountains.

"This year, we are producing a totally new road book in full colour, with photographs of every sign which will appear during the event, and we also have a new Chairman of the Organizing Committee in the person of the former Cyprus Minister of Commerce, Tourism & Industry, Antonis Michaelides.

"Much work has gone into the preparation and Cyprus Rally 2008 will follow in the footsteps of its predecessors as an event certain to be memorable for motorsport fans, many of whom travel thousands of miles to witness the spectacle."

Cyprus Rally 2008, featuring 228 km of special stages, will again be based in the exuberant south coast town of Limassol, where a ceremonial start will be held at 20.00 on Friday 16 May, alongside the famous palm-lined promenade.

A carnival atmosphere will pervade the scene, with music and entertainment for an hour before the start, while a VIP stage will be set up next to the start ramp, with cocktails and refreshments.

Another big attraction will be the much-loved Seafront Service Park, set alongside the promenade, close to many of Limassol's most popular cafes and restaurants.

The event, organized by the Cyprus Automobile Association (CAA) and sponsored by the Cyprus Tourism Organization, will be orchestrated from a new rally headquarters, and the seafront service park will provide an opportunity for spectators to watch at close quarters as team mechanics work against the clock to service and repair their cars to keep them in the rally.

Cyprus Rally 2008 is one of two rounds of the FIA Middle East Rally Championship (MERC) to be held on the island this year - the other is The Troodos Rally, which will be run on 6/7 November.

Current leader of the MERC is Qatari Nasser Al Attiya, who has won in Cyprus five times before, with ten points; second is Qatari Misfer Al Marri with eight points; third is another Qatari, Khalifa S Al Attiya, with six points.

Round 3 of MERC, the Cyprus Rally will be observed by the FIA with a view to its return to the World Rally Championship calendar for 2009, in which it currently has a provisional place.

Mr Kyriakides said: "We are confident that the work we have undertaken on the route, over many months and at great expense, will combine with the familiar fluent running of the rally, and will result is the Cyprus Rally regaining a WRC place next year."

-credit: cyprusrally.com.cy

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About this article
Series Other rally , WRC
Drivers Misfer Al Marri