2015 FIA European Rally Championship leader Kajetan Kajetanowicz set the fastest time on the Qualifying stage this morning for the 2015 CNP ASFALISTIKI Cyprus Rally and won the right to have first choice on road position for the opening stages tomorrow. The LOTOS Rally Team driver set a 2m42.236s over the 4.39 kilometre test and will line up for the first stage fifth on the road in his Ford Fiesta R5.
Russian driver Alexey Lukyanuk set second fastest time on the stage and then took a big gamble by choosing to start the event 15th on the road. While it may give him an advantage in terms of grip on the gravel stages his Ford Fieta R5 will be running behind the ERC2 crews which could cause problems with dust and visibility.
The Russian driver later regretted the decision. “It’s a mistake from me I think,” admitted Lukyanuk. “Traditionally on gravel rallies, you have cleaner roads further back, but now the car that is starting immediately ahead of us was 25 seconds slower over the 4.39 kilometre Qualifying Stage. I think for safety reasons we will ask for a bigger gap, because for sure we will catch him and then it is dangerous to try and overtake someone on gravel in the mountains. We will see. I hope it won’t slow us down.”
Local driver Panikos Polykarpou will be first on the road in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX whiel ERC2 contender Vojtěch Štajf will line up behind him in a Subaru Impreza WRX STI. Kajetanowicz is the first of the main ERC contenders starting fifth on the road while Robert Consani starts sixth.
The rally gets underway with the 15km Kotsiatis stage at 07:35 local time tomorrow morning.