Thierry Neuville has won the second Cyprus Golden Stage Rally
following a stunning performance over both runs of the spectacular
mixed-surface stage shown live on Eurosport.
Neuville underlined the pace and competitiveness of his Peugeot 207
Super 2000 by going fastest through the first run of the
19.43-kilometre test by 4.8s before heading the second run by 1.2s
despite almost going off the road in his efforts to keep ahead of Juho
Hanninen, who finished second, 6.0s adrift of the rising star on
aggregate time.
The Team Peugeot Belgium-Luxembourg driver’s success means he
pockets 40,000 Euros in prize money. Hanninen, in a factory SKODA
Fabia S2000, collected 28,000 Euros with team-mate Jan Kopecky
securing 16,000 Euros for finishing third.
“We go completely flat out and I really enjoyed the Golden
Stage,” said Neuville, who was co-driven by fellow Belgian
Nicolas Gilsoul. “It’s a shame we lost the Cyprus Rally
but we are in front again and we showed we’ve got the pace on
gravel. I have to thank Peugeot Sport and Peugeot Belgium for their
support in getting me here.”
Neuville completed the first run with the left-rear tyre off its rim
after he clouted a bank, the result of his pacenotes being too
optimistic. He was similarly spectacular on the second pass with
several sideways moments. “We pushed to the maximum when we saw
that Juho was equal with us [on split times],” said Neuville.
“It was a big attack but we got to the finish and I’m
really happy.”
Hanninen’s car needed a replacement clutch and gearbox in
service between the Golden Stage runs when the original clutch failed
after the opening pass. He was gracious in defeat at the finish near
the seaside town of Polis.
“It did a clean run with no mistakes,” said the Finn.
“It was a difficult stage but I was happy with my time and
it’s a nice way to finish the season. Thierry deserved this
victory, he was very fast.”
Kopecky was third fastest through both runs alongside stand-in
co-driver Pavel Dresler. “I just wanted to finish without making
mistakes so I didn’t take any big risks,” said the Czech.
“It was quite hard with a new co-driver because this stage was
very fast with lots of crests.”
Patrik Sandell finished fourth in his SKODA Sweden Fabia after
reporting losing a few seconds on the first run by using a soft
compound tyre rather than the hard compound option selected by the
bulk of his rivals due to the high ambient and ground temperatures.
“I did everything I could but I had no problems and there were
no mistakes,” said Sandell, who collected 10,000 Euros in prize
money. “It was easy to attack too much on this stage and go too
Karl Kruuda took fifth overall in his ME3 Rally Team Fabia. Although
the Estonian teenager was frustrated not to have set a faster time on
the second run he nevertheless bagged 6,000 Euros after two error-free
runs alongside co-driver Martin Jarveoja.
Nicos Thomas received 10,000 Euros for winning Category B in his
Ralliart Mitsubishi Lancer in sixth overall. The Cypriot plans to
spend part of the money paying for a replacement engine after the
original broke during the Cyprus Rally when oil filter damage resulted
in a complete loss of oil.
“Winning Group N is good news after the bad luck of
yesterday,” said the Petrolina-backed driver. “Thanks to
the guys in my team for fixing the car and to all my sponsors.”
Petros Panteli was seventh and second in Category B with Paraskevas
Paraskeva eighth and third in class. Doros Loucaides was ninth after
being slowed by damaged steering on his Peugeot 207 S2000. Italian
Marco Cavigioli completed the top 10 in his Lancer following a
determined drive.
Category C honours went to IRC 2WD Cup champion Jean-Michel Raoux in
his Renault Clio R3 ahead of Honda Civic Type R duo Janos Puskadi and
Andreas Charalambous.
Regretfully television viewers were not able watch the anticipated
epic duel between the two young aces Thierry Neuville and Andreas
Mikkelsen after SKODA UK decided to withdraw Mikkelsen’s entry
after a highly emotional victory on the Cyprus Rally the previous
All cars contesting the Golden Stage Rally carried Colin McRae Vision
windscreen strips in support of the charity established following the
death of the rallying legend in 2007.
The Cyprus Golden Stage Rally is a ground-breaking concept pioneered
by Eurosport Events and the Cyprus Automobile Association. It took
place for the second time this year following the inaugural event in
2010. The quick-fire format over a mixed-surface stage, the Golden
Stage, run twice provides all-action entertainment for fans live at
the event and for those watching live on television at home. It
carries a prize fund of 150,000 Euros, an amount unprecedented in
international rallying.
Cyprus Golden Stage Rally overall positions after run two:1 Thierry
Neuville (BEL)/Nicolas Gilsoul (BEL) Peugeot 207 S2000 26m02.8s2 Juho
Hanninen (FIN)/Mikko Markkula (FIN) SKODA Fabia S2000 +6.0s3 Jan
Kopecky (CZE)/Pavel Dresler (CZE) SKODA Fabia S2000 +32.3s4 Patrik
Sandell (SWE)/Staffan Parmander (SWE) SKODA Fabia S2000 +48.0s5 Karl
Kruuda (EST)/Martin Jarveoja (EST) SKODA Fabia S2000 +1m01.2s6 Nicos
Thomas (CYP)/Angelos Loizides (CYP) Ralliart Lancer Evo IX +2m19.2s7
Petros Pantelli (CYP)/Chrysostomos Panteli (CYP) Ralliart Lancer Evo
IX +2m33.1s8 Paraskevas Paraskeva (CYP)/Yiannos Evripidou (CYP)
Ralliart Lancer Evo IX +2m41.6s9 Doros Loucaides (CYP)/Savvas Laos
(CYP) Peugeot 207 S2000 +3m20.4s10 Marco Cavigioli (ITA)/Monica
Fortunato (ITA) Ralliart Lancer Evo IX) +3m32.4s
Category A winners: Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (Peugeot 207
S2000)Category B winners: Nicos Thomas/Angelos Loizides (Ralliart
Lancer Evo IX)Category C winners: Jean-Michel Raoux (FRA)/Laurent
Magat (FRA) Renault Clio R3
Cyprus Golden Stage Rally 150,000 Euros prize money
allocation:Thierry Neuville (Peugeot 207 S2000): 40,000 EurosJuho
Hanninen (SKODA Fabia S2000: 28,000 EurosJan Kopecky (SKODA Fabia
S2000): 16,000 EurosJean-Michel Raoux (Renault Clio R3): 10,000
EurosPatrik Sandell (SKODA Fabia S2000): 10,000 EurosNicos Thomas
(Ralliart Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX): 10,000 EurosPetros Panteli
(Ralliart Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX): 8,000 EurosKarl Kruuda
(SKODA Fabia S2000): 6,000 EurosParaskevas Paraskeva (Ralliart
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX): 6,000 EurosMarco Cavigioli (Ralliart
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX): 5,000 EurosJanos Puskadi (Honda Civic
Type R): 5,000 EurosAndreas Charalambous (Honda Civic Type R): 3,000
EurosSavvas Savva (Ralliart Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX): 3,000

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