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There have been different winners on each of the four FIA European Championship rallies held so far this year!

2017 Cyprus Rally winner Nasser Al Attiyah.In Cyprus it was the turn of Nasser Al Attiyah, who entered this dual championship rally as the top placed Middle East Championship finisher and who won this event for the fifth time.

This year, because championship rules for both series were equalised, drivers were eligible to score in both. The format was traditional with six stages on each of the two days, with two visits during Day 1 across the border into the Turkish zone of Nicosia, as part of the route of a politically important cross-border special stage.

The race promised an exciting battle between the MERC champion, Nasser Al Attiyah, making only his second appearance in the ERC, and the 19-year old Nikolay Gryazin.

Gryazin had been fastest in Qualifying and led Nasser by 0.1 second on the first stage. All the top contending drivers were running voluntarily further back and were unable to tackle stage two as it had been blocked by an earlier running car, but on stage 3 Gryazin slid into a ditch and then in the afternoon had problems with a broken radiator.

Cyprus 2017 Carnage on stage 6There was carnage on stage 6 of the Cyprus Rally.On the second stage of the second loop there was a spectacular incident when Bruno Magalhaes, Kajetan Kajetanowicz and Murat Bostanci all went off at the same place. This was the stage which top drivers had not tackled on the first loop.

From that moment onwards, Nasser was on his own, notwithstanding a puncture, three minutes in front of Alexandros Tsouloftas’ Citroen DS3 R5, but the Cypriot driver had a double puncture.

More than six minutes behind the winner came Simos Galatariotis (Mitsubishi Evo X) who finished 7.5 seconds in front of Panikos Polykarpou’s Evo IX.

Kajetanowicz and Gryazin both restarted on Day 2 aiming to gain supplemental championship day-points.

Cyprus Rally results:

1. Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Matthieu Baumel (FRA), Ford Fiesta R5, 02h31m44.3s
2. Simos Galatariotis (CYP)/Antonis Ioannou (CYP), Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X, +6m12.0s
3. Panikos Polykarpou (CYP)/Gerald Winter (CYP), Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX, +6m19.5s
4. Christos Demosthenous (CYP)/Pambos Laos (CYP), Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX, +7m40.4s
5. Albert von Thurn und Taxis (DEU)/Bjorn Degandt (BEL), ŠKODA Fabia R5, +8m22.3s
6. Petros Panteli (CYP)/Kyprianos Christodoulou (CYP), Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX, +9m36.5s
7. Savvas Savva (CYP)/Andreas Papandreou (CYP), Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX, +9m55.1s
8. Stavros Antoniou (CYP)/Demetris Pieri (CYP), Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX, +10m32.1s
9. Alexandros Tsoulftas (CYP)/Stelios Elia (CYP), Citroën DS3 R5, +12m03.2s
10. Rauf Denktaş (TUR)/Dervis Bora Savarona (TUR), Ford Fiesta R5, +12m37.4s

- Martin Holmes

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