ŠKODA UK Motorsport’s Andreas Mikkelsen is planning the ultimate celebration run on the Cyprus Rally (November 2-4), as the 23-year old Fabia S2000 pilot is set to become the first driver to retain the Intercontinental Rally Challenge title.
Andreas and co-driver Ola Fløene won their first IRC titles with victory in Cyprus last year, and with an unassailable points lead heading into the final round of this year’s series, neither can be beaten to the drivers’ and co-drivers’ titles.
With ŠKODA already confirmed as IRC Manufacturers’ champions for the third consecutive year, Andreas and the entire ŠKODA UK Motorsport team are determined to end the IRC season on a high, and will be pushing as hard as ever to score a good result.
Victory in Cyprus will not be easy, as a tough challenge comes from the turbocharged Fiesta RRC driven by Nasser Al-Attiyah and the normally-aspirated Fabia S2000 of Sepp Wiegand (ŠKODA Deutschland).
This year’s Cyprus Rally, which also counts towards the FIA Middle East Rally Championship, is a mixed surface event, with 70% rough gravel and 30% asphalt. The majority of the stages are located in the Troodos mountains, the highest point of the eastern Mediterranean island.
Andreas: “I love competing in Cyprus, the stages are really tough and challenging and we won there last year, so I’m looking forward to returning. It’s a great feeling to know that I’ve become the first driver to win back-to-back IRC drivers’ titles and that ŠKODA is already manufacturer champions for a third time, so we can now go to Cyprus and have some fun. We will try to win, because I want to give all the guys in the team who have worked so hard for this year’s success, plus all our fans, a really great ending to what has been a truly fantastic season.”
This year’s Cyprus Rally contains 13 special stages covering 147.35 miles (237.14kms), with the centralised service park based in Pafos. The action begins with a spectacular 2 mile (3.2km) superspecial around the streets of Pafos on the evening of Friday 2 November.
Leg 1 continues the following day. Starting at 08.15, it contains one mixed surface, one asphalt and one gravel stage, all of which are repeated in the afternoon. One of the exciting changes to this year’s route is the inclusion of the 12.07 mile (19.43km) Prodromi-Neo Chorio stage, which last year was used for the Golden Stage Rally and is considered a “beautiful and spectacular stage” by IRC Manager Jean-Pierre Nicolas. After seven stages and 64 miles (103.52kms) of competition, all cars must be in parc ferme for the final overnight halt by 20.30.
Leg 2 on Sunday 4 November gets underway at 07.00 and contains a further three stages in the morning, all of which are repeated in the afternoon. Two are mixed surface, while the all-gravel Panayia stage is, at 18.89 miles (30.41kms), the longest stage of the event. This will also be the final stage, prior to the traditional champagne ceremony at 17.00.
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