Love Cyprus Golden Stage Rally plans take shape

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With a little more than three months remaining until the inaugural Love Cyprus Golden Stage Rally, more details of the event, which takes place in Cyprus on 7 November, and carries a prize fund of 150,000 Euros, have been released.

Designed to showcase rallying in a new and exciting way by making it accessible, understandable and attractive to a wider audience, the compact, fan and television-friendly format covers a single 25-kilometre mixed-surface stage run twice. The stage will be known as the Love Cyprus Golden Stage in deference to support from the country’s tourism authority.

Regulations for the Limassol-based event, which runs the day after the FxPro Cyprus Rally, the 12th and final round of the 2010 Intercontinental Rally Challenge (4-6 November), will shortly be finalised by event organiser the Cyprus Automobile Association, while representatives from Eurosport Events, which is promoting the competition, have completed a thorough inspection of the planned course.

“It will be exciting with most of the stage running in a downhill direction,” said Jean-Pierre Nicolas, the Motorsport Development Manager of the IRC and a former international rally driver. “The gravel section was in a good condition when we visited and the road was not so narrow although bumpy in places, which adds to the challenge for the drivers. But the biggest test they will face will be how they handle the downhill sections because it can be easy to make a mistake under braking.”

The Golden Stage Rally is open to all teams and drivers competing with Super 2000, Group N and Group A (up to A7) cars, in both two- and four-wheel drive configuration. The entry fee will be 2,000 Euros per car and regulations and entry forms will be available from September onwards on the IRC website, www.rally-irc.com, and the FxPro Cyprus rally website, www.cyprusrally.com.cy.

The event begins with scrutineering from Saturday 6 November for cars not contesting the FxPro Cyprus Rally and on Sunday 7 November for crews taking part on the FxPro Cyprus Rally. The reconnaissance will take place on Thursday 4 November when crews are permitted to complete two passes of the Love Cyprus Golden Stage, which starts 31 kilometres from Limassol. The first competitor is due to tackle the stage late morning on Sunday with the second run going live in the early afternoon. The prize ceremony is due to take place in Limassol in conjunction with the IRC End of Season Awards Ceremony.

The event will enjoy extensive live television coverage with a number of networks around the world showing the action as it happens or highlights following the event. Eurosport, Europe’s largest television sports channel, will broadcast the rally live in its entirety through its network, which reaches out to 117 million homes across 59 countries.

Eurosport Events, which has successfully pioneered live coverage from the stages of several IRC rounds, will manage the live production and will also be responsible for the distribution of the worldwide media rights, including television.

Gilbert Roy, Eurosport Events’ Director of Editorial and Programme Development and the man in overall charge of the live television coverage of the Love Cyprus Golden Stage Rally said: “The scenery is beautiful and the changes of surface will lead to a lot of big slides, so it will be very exciting for the TV viewer. The finish is by a lake close to a dam and there is a good view of Limassol.”

Antonios Michaelides, Chairman of the Organising Committee, said: “Rallying is a hugely popular sport in Cyprus and we, the organisers, are always keen to seek out ways to break new ground and bring fresh, new, innovative ideas to the sport. The Love Cyprus Golden Stage Rally promises to be a standout, memorable event this year and shows that not only are we dedicated to stretching the boundaries of world motorsport, but also to making the very best of our island’s beautiful countryside.”

Title sponsor and long-term supporter of international motorsport in Cyprus, Cyprus Tourism Organisation Chairman Alecos Oroundiotis, added: “Every year, the hosting of world-class rally events attracts sports fans new and old to our beautiful island and our rallying heritage has come to play a major part in promoting Cyprus overseas. The Cyprus Tourism Organisation is therefore extremely proud to sponsor the Love Cyprus Golden Stage Rally, which is sure to attract even more attention to our island and provide a thrilling sporting spectacle.”