Drama for Al-Attiyah but no pain in the rain for Kajetanowicz in Erc Cyprus Qualifying
While Kajetan Kajetanowicz was elated after setting the fastest time on the Qualifying Stage for round nine of the FIA European Rally Championship, three-time Cyprus winner Nasser Al-Attiyah was left deflated.
The Qatari, the top seed for the CNP Asfalistiki Cyprus Rally, stopped shortly after the start of the rain-hit 4.47-kilometre stage with a mechanical fault on his Ford Fiesta RRC.
“The engine completely stopped 500 metres from the start,” said Al-Attiyah. “I think we have a problem with the ECU. When the car is cooling down the engine starts but it’s good it happens here and not tomorrow. We try to fix it now.”
Al-Attiyah eventually completed the stage in a time of 29m51.665s but now faces the prospect of being the last priority driver to select his starting position in Nicosia this evening, which could result in him running at the head of the field on leg one.
“In the last run of Free Practice we feel the engine is not good and cutting,” he continued. “It’s a shame because it would have been really nice to do the Qualifying Stage because there are a lot of spectators. If we start first [on the road] we must push.”
But there were no such problems for Kajetanowicz whose time of 2m56.897s in a Ford Fiesta R5 couldn’t be bettered by his rivals. “This stage wasn’t too similar to the rally stages because this was fast and the rally is not too fast,” said the LOTOS Rally Team ace. “But it was a nice stage.”
SS1: Al-Rajhi fastest on the Nicosia streets to lead Cyprus ERC counter
Yazeed Al-Rajhi leads round nine of the FIA European Rally Championship as the CNP Asfalistiki Cyprus Rally got off to a dramatic start through the streets of Nicosia live on Cypriot television.
With thousands of fans lining the route of the 5.98-kilometre mixed-surface stage, which included a section in the UN Buffer Zone separating Cyprus and North Cyprus, Al-Rajhi stopped the clocks in a time of 5m04.1s at the wheel of a Ford Fiesta RRC.
“It was good but I hit one chicane and I think I have a tyre open,” said the Saudi Arabian driver. “We did the fastest time and my co-driver Michael Orr did a good job. We can push now for the rest of the rally. I think we can do a good pace.”
Robert Consani (Peugeot 207 S2000) was second fastest, 2.8s behind Al-Rajhi with Khalid Al-Qassimi third quickest despite an overshoot in his CitroŽn DS3 RRC. And Al-Qassimi wasn’t the only driver to report a mishap with AntonŪn TlusťŠk, Martin Hudec and Jaroslav OrsŠk (pictured) among those to complete the test with damage to their cars.
Abuldaziz Al-Kuwari was fourth quickest with Bruno Magalh„es fifth fastest in a Peugeot 208T16 and Craig Breen next up in another 208T16. Nasser Al-Attiyah was seventh quickest but said his car’s water temperature had peaked at 140 degrees centigrade. His Fiesta was also sporting damage to the driver’s door. Kajetan Kajetanowicz, the Qualifying Stage winner, lost some 30 seconds after he the steering on his LOTOS Rally Team Ford Fiesta R5.
Panicos Polykarpou was the leading Cypriot driver and also tops the ERC Production Car Cup standings with the eighth quickest time. ERC Production Car Cup title chasers Martin Hudec and Vitaliy Pushkar were ninth and 10th respectively, 0.7s apart.
Saturday’s action gets underway with the Kotsiatis stage from 09.20hrs local time. The stage measures 15.27 kilometres in length with 21 per cent of the run on Tarmac and 79 per cent on gravel.
SS2: Al-Qassimi goes fastest to lead in Cyprus
Khalid Al-Qassimi is the new leader of the CNP Asfalistiki Cyprus Rally after he set the pace on Saturday’s opening 15.27-kilometre Kotsiatis test.
The Abu Dhabi Racing driver was fastest by 3.0 seconds in his CitroŽn DS3 RRC and now leads Yazeed Al-Rajhi by 2.0s on the combined FIA European and Middle East championship mixed-surface event. “There were a couple of corners where we went wide so we had to change the strategy and some corners we didn’t make the right assumption,” said Al-Qassimi.
Overnight leader Al-Rajhi, currently the highest-placed driver eligible for ERC points, said: “The start was okay and I think we do a good stage. There was a lot of grip change but everything is under control. We see in the second loop what is going on.”
Following his delays completing the Nicosia superspecial on Friday, ERC ace Kajetan Kajetanowicz lost time with a powersteering issue, which began approximately five kilometres from the stage finish. Nevertheless the LOTOS Rally Team driver was second quickest with Al-Rajhi third and Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari fourth after reporting set-up issues.
ERC event winner Craig Breen reached the stage finished with a deflated right-rear tyre following a “massive moment” on a Tarmac section. The Irishman was fifth fastest in his Peugeot Rally Academy 208T16. “We did a full 360-degree spin but we missed everything solid so I was blessed I’m trying to do the best job I can but it’s hard,” he said.
SS3: Kajetanowicz gets back on track with Erc Cyprus Rally stage best
Kajetan Kajetanowicz hit back from his early delays to set the fastest time on stage three of the CNP Asfalistiki Cyprus Rally, round nine of the FIA European Rally Championship.
Driving a LOTOS Rally Team Ford Fiesta R5, the Pole took 15m45.8s to complete the Lythrodontas test, which at 21.57 kilometres is the longest of the rally. It’s also one of the most demanding for crews and their cars – which are set up for gravel conditions – with 86 per cent of the stage using Tarmac roads.
“After the finish of the previous stage we reset the powersteering and it’s okay,” said Kajetanowicz, who climbs to sixth overall. “But I was too careful on this stage. It’s going to be a tough rally.”
ERC title chaser Craig Breen’s troubled event continued when his Peugeot 208T16 dropped onto road mode. Despite his problems, he was 4.6s slower than Kajetanowicz and moves into fourth overall. “We were on road mode with no anti-lag, nothing,” said the Irishman. “We don’t know what’s happening but things are not working.”
SS4: Al-Rajhi the stage winner, Al-Qassimi the stage spinner
Yazeed Al-Rajhi capitalised on a spin by Khalid Al-Qassimi to extend his lead of the CNP Asfalistiki Cyprus Rally, round nine of the FIA European Rally Championship.
Al-Rajhi was 5.6s ahead of his rival prior to the mixed-surface event’s fourth stage but now leads new second place driver Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari by 12.3s with Kajetan Kajetanowicz climbing to third, 17.6s down Al-Rajhi. Al-Qassimi, meanwhile, has slipped to fourth overall, 34.1s off the pace. “I spin and had to reverse,” said CitroŽn driver Al-Qassimi. “Then at the end of the stage I lost the power.”
The tight and twisty 17.94-kilometre Cytanet-backed Lefkara stage provided a big test with crews reporting rising temperature readings in their cars. But it proved trouble-free for Al-Rajhi, who outpaced Kajetanowicz by a slender 0.9s.
While Al-Rajhi, in a Ford Fiesta RRC, has increased his overall lead, Kajetanowicz has leaped from sixth to third overall and second behind Al-Rajhi in the ERC classification. He said: “My road position is not good because there is a lot of loose gravel so we clean it. It was a very slow stage and the engine temperature was rising but the car is working very well.”
Despite reporting a high engine temperature, Bruno Magalh„es has moved 7.2s ahead of ERC rival Craig Breen after going 13.9s faster than his rival. “We had a high temperature on this stage because it’s twisty and not so fast,” said the Portuguese. “But we had absolutely no traction being the fourth car on the road and it’s very easy to make a mistake.”
Breen, who was 46.7s slower than stage winner Al-Rajhi in his Peugeot 208T16, said: “The [power] problem is still there but I never give up. It’s still a good, fast car.” The Peugeot Rally Academy driver is now in sixth position and the fourth-best ERC contender.
Craig Breen is back on the pace on the CNP Asfalistiki Cyprus Rally, completing stage five of the FIA European Rally Championship event 1.2s slower than stage winner Kajetan Kajetanowicz.
However, the Acropolis Rally-winning Irishman is set to receive a time penalty after he started the 11.42-kilometre stage out of order in his Peugeot 208T16.
Breen, who currently holds fifth in the overall classification, was reluctant to explain the delay, telling ERC Rally Radio’s Julian Porter: “We completed so we’re still here and still fighting. There have been a few problems. I’m a 24-year-old kid with a factory drive so I’m very lucky to be here but I’ve just been very unfortunate.”
Kajetanowicz, meanwhile, reached the finish of the stage with a deflated front-right tyre. “We hit a stone on my line, maybe Magalh„es hit the same stone I don’t know. It was two kilometres from the finish so not so bad. It was a nice and fast stage, completely different to the last one.”
Yazeed Al-Rajhi was third fastest in his Ford Fiesta RRC, 5.3s down on Kajetanowicz. His overall lead is 10.5s over Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari. “We do a good time here. It’s still a long race so we see what’s going on. For sure we can do a good time when we need it.”
Bruno Magalh„es continues to be held back with grip and set-up issues on his first rally on gravel in a Peugeot 208T16. The Portuguese was sixth quickest to move ahead of Robert Consani in the overall standings. Frenchman Consani reported several big moments due to brake problems.
SS6: Cyprus stage win hat-trick for Erc ace Kajetanowicz
Kajetan Kajetanowicz has claimed his third stage win on the CNP Asfalistiki Cyprus Rally by outpacing event leader Yazeed Al-Rajhi on the repeat of the 15.27-kilometre Kotsiatis stage.
Driving a LOTOS Rally Team Ford Fiesta R5, the multiple Polish champion was 3.3s faster than Al-Rajhi to close to within 17.8s of the Saudi in the overall classification.
Kajetanowicz was hit with a 10-second penalty for leaving first service in Nicosia this morning one minute behind schedule while his mechanics rushed to repair the steering he damaged on last night’s superspecial in the Cypriot capital. He said: “We are trying. It was a really good stage. We have a clean road and I am happy with my time.”
Al-Rajhi, who has registered for ERC rather than Middle East championship points for the event, said: “We have good grip and everything is okay. We still have three more stages today but on this stage we do it well, near to the limit in a lot of places. The grip is a lot better than this morning.”
Abu Dhabi Racing’s Khalid Al-Qassimi was third fastest, 1.0s slower than Al-Rajhi, with Craig Breen fourth despite the mechanical problems that are hampering his performance in his Peugeot 208T16. “Unfortunately [the car] is not much different,” said Breen, who is seventh overall. “We still have a problem with the temperature and have to drive in road mode nearly all the stage. We’re losing so much time with no power when you switch off the stage mode.”
ERC Production Car Cup title contender Martin Hudec lost time with a broken rear driveshaft, while Robert Consani reported making one mistake in his Peugeot 207 S2000. “It was difficult but I am happy I finish the stage,” said the Frenchman. “I make one mistake on this stage and lost maybe 20s. But it’s okay, I’m happy because it’s nothing on this rally.”
SS7: Consani stops, Breen delayed, Kajetanowicz up to second on all-action Erc Cyprus Rally
Robert Consani’s pursuit of a top-six finish on round nine of the FIA European Rally Championship looks to be over after the Frenchman stopped on stage seven of the CNP Asfalistiki Cyprus Rally.
The ace Frenchman started the 21.57-kilometre test in sixth position but failed to complete the run due to a suspected mechanical issue on his Peugeot 207 Super 2000. “I saw him in one corner so I had to back off,” said Khalid Al-Qassimi, who was running behind Consani. “The car is at the side of the road but not off the road completely.”
Elsewhere there were more problems for Craig Breen who drove for half of the rally’s longest stage without powersteering on his 208T16. “I had no powersteering for half the stage and I was in road mode for pretty much all of it. This rally is just throwing everything at me. I can’t believe the incredible bad luck but that’s just the way it is.”
Out front, Kajetan Kajetanowicz has moved ahead of Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari into second overall and narrowed Yazeed Al-Rajhi’s overall lead to 3.7s in the process after he went 14.1s faster than the Saudi through the mainly asphalt Lythrodontas stage. “It’s a good time but it wasn’t clean driving,” said Kajetanowicz. “I was careful because we have a lot of gravel on the road.”
Al-Rajhi said: “It was a difficult stage for me because there were a lot of stones and not a lot of grip. I raise the car a little bit, which wasn’t a good idea.” Al-Kuwari added: “The stage was very dirty, we could not drive at all, gravel is everywhere, I think we lost time on this stage.”
Martin Hudec continues to lose time with a broken driveshaft on his Mitsubishi Lancer. “It’s the front-right driveshaft. It’s really difficult to go with this. It was okay on this Tarmac stage but I don’t know what we’ll do on the next gravel stage. It’s bad.”
SS8: Al-Rajhi hits back in battle for Erc Cyprus glory
Yazeed Al-Rajhi has hit back in the battle for victory on round nine of the FIA European Rally Championship.
The Saudi, in a Ford Fiesta RRC, beat close rival Kajetan Kajetanowicz by 0.6s on the 17.94-kilometre Lefkara stage to extend his narrow advantage to 4.3s with one stage of leg one remaining.
Al-Rajhi, who is chasing ERC points rather than Middle East championship points on the CNP Asfalistiki Cyprus Rally, said the fact that 74 per cent of the stage was on gravel had helped his cause. “There was less Tarmac on this stage and [my] Michelin tyre is working very good in these conditions,” said Al-Rajhi. “On the Tarmac [Kajetanowicz] has an advantage with the Pirelli but on this stage we have an advantage.”
Fiesta R5 driver Kajetanowicz said: “This stage was good, I’m happy with that. The grip is much better than the last time. We have fun.”
Bruno Magalh„es confirmed his Peugeot 208T16’s engine was overheating through the tight and twisty stage, a problem that also affected the similar car of Craig Breen. The Irishman was fourth quickest, 10.8s slower than Al-Rajhi, and 0.7s down on Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari, who was third quickest.
What Martin Hudec thought was a broken driveshaft is actually a broken front differential. “We have a broken front differential, not a driveshaft and it’s very difficult to go through this stage,” said the Czech, who is battling Vitaliy Pushkar for the ERC Production Car Cup title. “But we must got to the finish, it’s very important to get to the service.”
Kajetan Kajetanowicz has snatched first place on round nine of the FIA European Rally Championship after winning Saturday’s closing stage of the CNP Asfalistiki Cyprus Rally.
The LOTOS Rally Team driver started the 11.42 kilometres of Klavida trailing Yazeed Al-Rajhi by 4.3s but will head to the overnight halt in Nicosia leading by 3.8s following his fifth stage victory on the mixed-surface showcase.
“I make a mistake yesterday but today was really good,” said Kajetanowicz. “I am happy with that, happy with my times.”
Craig Breen was second fastest, 5.6s down on Kajetanowicz, with the Irishman reporting that his Peugeot Rally Academy 208T16 “ran fine” following a troubled day on the Nicosia-based event. However, dust and low lying sun held him back on the day’s final stage.
“The stage ran fine but there was dust and bad sun in my eyes,” said Breen. “I’m happy to come to the end after a fair amount of trouble today. We ran in full stage made but we have to be careful with the temperature and we’re having to run the heater all the time. It’s been a very tough day but we’ve made it back.”
Al-Rajhi, meanwhile, was 8.1s slower than Kajetanowicz. He said: “There was a lot of Tarmac in that stage and it was not good for the tyres at the front. Tomorrow is another day with more gravel. It will be a big fight.”
Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari completed the day in third overall and in top of the Middle East championship runners with Khalid Al-Qassimi fourth, Bruno Magalh„es fifth and Breen in sixth.
Crews are now heading back to Nicosia for a 45-minute flexi service. Sunday’s final leg gets underway with the all-gravel Tseri stage at 09:25hrs local time.
Yazeed Al-Rajhi has reclaimed the lead on round nine of the FIA European Rally Championship despite spinning on the all-gravel Tseri stage.
Driving a Ford Fiesta RRC, Al-Rajhi completed the 14.25-kilometre run in a time of 8m11.3s following his moment midway through the test. But with rival Kajetan Kajetanowicz going seven seconds slower, Al-Rajhi now leads the CNP Asfalistiki Cyprus Rally by 3.2s with five stages remaining.
“We had an overshoot and spin in one corner,” said Al-Rajhi. “We lose at least five seconds because the engine switch off.” Kajetanowicz added: “I am happy with the driving, the tyres are working well but yesterday it was completely different.”
Khalid Al-Qassimi made the most of Al-Rajhi’s spin to claim his second stage win of the event in his Abu Dhabi Racing CitroŽn DS3 RRC. He was 5.0s quicker than Al-Rajhi. “It was good, fast in some places, a little bit too careful in some places where there were big boulders. It was good for me.”
Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari was third fastest with Kajetanowicz fourth quickest, Craig Breen fifth and Bruno Magalh„es sixth in another Peugeot 208T16.
SS11: The heat is on for Kajetanowicz as Al-Rajhi goes fastest
Yazeed Al-Rajhi continues to lead round nine of the FIA European Rally Championship after he out-gunned Kajetan Kajetanowicz by 0.9s through the Asinou test.
But while Al-Rajhi was thrilled at the finish of the tight and twisty 11.52-kilometre run, Kajetanowicz reported a problem on his Ford Fiesta R5.
“It’s the second time this morning that he has been faster than me,” said Kajetanowicz, the overnight leader. “I am happy with my driving but now we have a problem with the engine. We have a very high turbo temperature, nearly 1000 degrees.”
Al-Rajhi, whose overall lead increases slightly to a slender 4.1s, said: “We come 12,000 kilometres [from Rally Australia] for this rally and we come to win and not to play. Michael [Orr] helps me a lot and we see what’s going on. [Kajetanowicz] is a very fast and good driver. It’s good to fight with him and makes the race more interesting when there is a battle.”
Khalid Al-Qassimi was third fastest, 5.9s down on Al-Rajhi with Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari fourth quickest. Craig Breen reported driving through the “vast majority” of the stage in road mode due to a mechanical problem on his Peugeot 208T16. Despite this latest setback, the Irishman was fifth quickest, 14.5s off the pace.
Bruno Magalh„es completed the stage but said it had been tough going: “It was a very, very difficult stage, very slow and pushing all the time for the car. It was not easy to find the good traction. I hit one stone but I hope everything is okay.”
Christos Demosthenous continues to lead the ERC Production Car Cup classification but there were problems for Petros Panteli who drove through the bulk of the stage stuck in third gear. Meanwhile, Michalis Posedias has demoted Vitaliy Pushkar for 10th overall.
SS12: Al-Rajhi flies to dominant Erc Cyprus stage best
Yazeed Al-Rajhi has stormed to his fifth stage win on the CNP Asfalistiki Cyprus Rally, going 26.3s quicker than the next fastest driver Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari.
Al-Rajhi’s charging run in his Ford Fiesta RRC means his overall lead on the FIA European Rally Championship counter ahead of Kajetan Kajetanowicz rises to 35.6s after the Pole reported a high engine temperature on his Fiesta R5.
“It wasn’t good because we have a big problem with the engine,” said Kajetanowicz, who was 31.5s slower than Al-Rajhi. “With the high temperature we have not so much power, we see only the alarm and it’s difficult to drive. But the stage was really nice, I like this stage.”
Al-Rajhi, who has registered for ERC points in Cyprus, said: “It’s good for me and we do it well. [Kajetanowicz] has an advantage on the Tarmac because his tyre is better on the Tarmac. But on the gravel we were equal so I will see what’s going on.”
Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari extended his advantage over Khalid Al-Qassimi in the battle for Middle East championship points after Al-Qassimi lost time when he spun his CitroŽn DS3 RRC. He was fifth quickest behind Bruno Magalh„es with Craig Breen completing the top six.
Drivers ranked the 21.05-kilometre Xerarkaka test as one of the toughest of the ERC counter, meaning the upcoming service halt in Nicosia will provide a welcome respite for car and crew.
Khalid Al-Qassimi has scored a hat-trick of stage wins on the CNP Asfalistiki Cyprus Rally by setting the pace through the all-gravel Tseri test in his Abu Dhabi Racing CitroŽn DS3 RRC.
Al-Qassimi was fastest on the 14.25-kilometre stage when it was run for the first time this morning and he repeated the feat this afternoon by going almost six seconds faster.
Afterwards, the Emirati ace said: “It’s fine, fantastic, the set-up of the car is really helping the driver to push more. I like those kind of stages.”
Kajetan Kajetanowicz said his Ford Fiesta R5 had been restored to full working order after the Pole went second quickest, 2.5s down on Al-Qassimi. “Now it’s okay. I was pushing really hard believe me,” he said. “It’s a nice stage, really fast sometimes with big jumps. So many emotions on the stage, so many. It’s fantastic.”
Yazeed Al-Rajhi, whose overall lead is a healthy 33.4s, was third fastest with Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari fourth quickest.
Craig Breen, who clocked the fifth best time in his Peugeot 208T16, reported more problems: “It was a lot more rough than I expected. Again there were more alarms so all I can do is manage it. I went through the whole stage in stage mode and had to adjust the RPM.”
Yazeed Al-Rajhi is one stage away from winning the CNP Asfalistiki Cyprus Rally after he set the pace on the penultimate test of the FIA European Rally Championship counter in his Ford Fiesta RRC.
The Saudi beat rally-long rival Kajetan Kajetanowicz by one second on the 11.52-kilometre Asinou stage to increase his overall advantage to 34.4s with the 21.05 kilometres of Xerarkaka stage left to run.
Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari was third fastest, 5.5s adrift of Al-Rajhi, with Craig Breen fourth best in his Peugeot 208T16. Khalid Al-Qassimi was fifth quickest with Cypriot Stavros Antoniou sixth fastest.
Yazeed Al-Rajhi has won round nine of the FIA European Rally Championship but there was despair for Craig Breen with reports that the Irishman had stopped a little more than halfway through the closing stage of the CNP Asfalistiki Cyprus Rally.
Kajetan Kajetanowicz is the inaugural ERC Gravel Master following his heroic performance on the CNP Asfalistiki Cyprus Rally, round nine of the FIA European Rally Championship.
Kajetanowicz scored a total of 191 points from three of the four designated gravel rounds of the ERC in his LOTOS Rally Team Ford Fiesta R5 alongside co-driver Jarek Baran.
Craig Breen finishes runner-up for Peugeot Rally Academy on 160 points with Ott Tšnak claiming third in the final table on the back of his stunning victory on the loose-surface auto24 Rally Estonia. He scored 127 points.
Yazeed Al-Rajhi, the overall winner in Cyprus, finishes fourth with Kevin Abbring fifth and Alexey Lukyanuk sixth.
Introduced for the 2014 season, the ERC Masters recognises the achievements of surface specialists competing in the European championship. Robert Kubica clinched the ERC Ice Master award in February. Esapekka Lappi heads the ERC Asphalt Master table with two events remaining. Points are awarded on a 10-6-4-2-1 scale to the fastest five ERC drivers on each stage.
Breen retires from Erc Cyprus Rally
Craig Breen has been forced to retire from round nine of the FIA European Rally Championship due to a mechanical failure.
The Peugeot Rally Academy driver was in sixth overall starting the final stage of the CNP Asfalistiki Cyprus Rally but stopped midday through the 21.05-kilometre test.
Heroic repairs by the Irishman and his British co-driver Scott Martin enabled them to reach the finish of the stage, albeit more than 16 minutes slower than stage and rally winner Yazeed Al-Rajhi.
However, they were unable to complete the 65-kilometre road section back to the finish in Nicosia will be included on the list of retirements when the official results are published this evening.