Al-Attiyah is MERC champion again, Chris Ingram is closer to ERC title
Qatari rally veteran Nasser Al-Attiyah has won the 48th Cyprus Rally, the event that counted both for the Middle East Rally Championship and European Rally Championship. The victory brings him a new MERC title, 15th in a career.
Nasser’s victorious car at Cyprus Rally was the #4 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5. and he was sharing it with navigator Mathieu Baumel. After almost 200 kilometers of special stages, Al-Attiyah defeated the closest rival Simos Galatariotis (Cyprus, Škoda Fabia R5) by more than two and a half minutes. It’s the sixth victory for Al-Attiyah at Cyprus.
The British driver Chris Ingram, the current leader in the European Rally Championship, finished third in the #1 Škoda Fabia R5. Ingram’s main rival and defending ERC champion Alexey Lukyanuk retired from the second place on Special Stage 10 when the engine of his Citroen C3 R5 expired.
Former WRC driver Mikko Hirvonen reactivated himself from retirement in MM Motorsport’s Ford Fiesta R5, finishing fourth at Cyprus. The Polish driver Lukasz Habaj finished fifth in a Škoda Fabia, staying in contention for the ERC title, 18 points behind championship leader Chris Ingram. The season’s finale would be the Rally Hungary on November 8-10.
Many national rally events took place this weekend in Europe. In France, Yoann Bonato (Citroen C3 R5) has won the 22nd Rallye de Coeur, the seventh round of the French Tarmac Rally Championship. In Spain, Pepe Lopez (Citroen C3 R5) won the 43rd Rallye Villa de Llanes, the 8th round of the Spanish championship.
The Rally Blekinge, the sixth round of the Swedish championship, hosted some world-known drivers, including two former world rallycross champions Johan Kristoffersson and Mattias Ekstrom. They both climbed to the podium, next to winner Fredrik Ahlin (Škoda Fabia R5). In Finland, the Mad Croc SM Ralli Salo-Turku was the seventh round of the national championship. The victory went to Teemu Asunmaa (Škoda Fabia R5).
The 14th East Belgian Rally counted for the Belgian championship and Benelux Rally Trophy. The winner is Adrian Fernemont (Škoda Fabia R5). In Austria, Hermann Neubauer (Ford Fiesta R5) has won the Niederösterreich Rallye, the sixth round of the Austrian championship and Alpe Adria Rally Cup. In Italy, the winner of the Rally Citta di Bassano, the fixture of the Mitropa Rally Cup, is Damiano De Tommaso (Škoda Fabia R5).
In Romania, Simone Tempestini (Hyundai i20 R5) triumphed at Transilvania Rally. Finally, the Serbia Rally was the round of the Serbian championship, Bulgarian championship and Balkan Rally Trophy. The winner is Dušan Borković (Škoda Fabia R5).
Photos: Francois Flamand/DPPI/FIA ERC,