Fists fly in Cyprus Rally protest
- 22nd October 2007, 11:15am
This year’s Cyprus Rally, organised by the Cyprus Automobile Association (CAA), which formed part of round 6 of the 2007 FIA Middle East Championship, almost became a disaster when individuals from the breakaway Cyprus Motorsport Federation attempted to sabotage the event in response to being refused entry.
They formed human chains and felled a tree to blockade roads high in the Tróödos Mountains, causing the initial two stages to be cancelled; and fists flew in an ugly incident resulting in a woman competitor being injured.
After reconvening in Limossol, the CAA managed to get the rally back on track, and the event proceeded and remained undisturbed for the remaining stages of this two-day event.
Charalambos Timotheou eventually took first place in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 6, with defending champion, Nasser Al-Attiyah, finishing second in his Subaru Impreza, and Dimitris Papasavvas in an Impreza, taking third place. Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi finished fourth, also driving an Impreza, and as anticipated, there was keen competition between Al-Attiyah and Al-Qassimi – the current championship leader, with Al-Attiyah successfully managing to close the points gap with Al-Qassimi.
Timotheou is the first Cypriot driver to win this rally since 1991 and fellow Cypriot Dimitris Vazakas took the laurels for the 2007 Historic Cyprus Rally.
With the organisers doing their very best to reinstate the Cyprus Rally’s lost WRC status, the likelihood of this must now be severely in question owing to the actions of those who posed a threat to life and limb by recklessly pursuing their own agenda, particularly as an FIA official was held hostage, according to the Cyprus Rally’s official website.
Clerk of the Course, Takis Kyriakades commented: “I am very disappointed with the actions of Motorsport Federation. They are hurting Cyprus, and not just the rally. This almost destroys our chances of getting back into the WRC.”
Story and Photos by David Bowers
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