Lukyanuk leads Al-Attiyah by just six seconds into the second loop of Day 1
Russia’s Alexey Lukyanuk leads the 2018 Cyprus Rally after the completion of the first three Special Stages of the first day behind the wheel of his Ford Fiesta R5 while five-times winner Nasser Al-Attiyah is currently second overall just 5.8 seconds behind him having suffered loss of turbo valve pressure throughout all three stages on his Fiesta R5. Third overall is Finnish driver Jusso Nordgren with his Skoda Fabia R5. Behind him is a tough battle between the top two local drivers for top local honours. Galatariotis (4th) and Tsouloftas (5th) exchanged fastest times throughout the morning.
In the first stage of the day, the winner of the 2016 Cyprus Rally opened a gap of 8.4 seconds from Al-Attiyah who lost precious time having lost turbo pressure. Αl Attiyah fought back in the next two stages, closing the gap to a mere 5.6 seconds just before the afternoon loops.
Behind them is Jusso Nordgren who held Magalhaes behind him, even though the Portuguese Acropolis winner fell back in the overall standings and ended the first loop in sixth place overall after setting the car “too soft” as he stated at the end of the first three stages.
Galatariotis and Chrisostomou took advantage of a tyre puncture that Tsouloftas had suffered early in the day in the first stage to get ahead. Tsouloftas, however, showed pace in the second stage, setting a time that was 10 seconds faster than Galatariotis, closing the gap to 1.8. The gap remained exactly the same after the third stage since the two drivers had set the same time exactly at the end of the stage.
In seventh place are Avcioglu and Kormaz with a Skoda Fabia R5, with Hungarians Herczig and Ferenc (also with a Skoda Fabia R5) following them in eighth. Ninth overall were Christos Demosthenouns and Pambos Laos (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X). In tenth place were Poland’s Ptaszec and Szczepaniak with yet another Skoda Fabia R5. The driver that was caught off guard by the first loop was Andreas Psaltis who broke his steering in the third stage, blocking the stage for the rest which placed a delay on proceedings as the stage had to be stopped.
1. Α. Lukyanuk/A. Arnautov – Ford Fiesta R5 – 25:59.7
2. Ν. Αl Attiyah/M. Baumel – Ford Fiesta R5 – 26:05.3
3. J. Nordgren/T.Suominen – Skoda Fabia R5 – 26:22.9
4. S. Galatariotis/Α. Ioannou – Skoda Fabia R5 – 26:50.8
5. Α. Tsouloftas/Α. Chrisostomou – Citroen DS3 R5 – 26:52.6
6. Β. Magalhaes/H. Magalhaes – Skoda Fabia R5 – 26:52.9
7. O.Avcioglu/B. Kormaz – Skoda Fabia R5 – 27:24.5
8. N.Herczig/R.Ferenc – Skoda Fabia R5 – 27:27.9
9. H. Ptaszek/M. Szczepaniak – Skoda Fabia R5 – 27:29.6
10. V.Stajf/M.Ehlova – Skoda Fabia R5 – 27.42.4