Qatar’s Nasser Al – Attiyah leads ERC Champion Alexey Lukyanuk at the end of the first loop of Day 1 of the 2019 Cyprus Rally.
According to a press release by the organisers, Nasser Al- Attiyah was unstoppable in the first three special stages, with this VW Polo, stamping his authority on this year’s event early on claiming the three fastest times of the morning.
Close behind him were last year’s ERC Champions in their Citroen R3, following closely all throughout the morning stages, managing to finish each of them in second place just behind the leading crew of Al-Attiyah and Baumel.
The winners of the 2018 Cyprus Rally, Simos Galatariotis and Antonis Ioannou, followed the two leaders home, in third place overall at the end of the loop, with two third places in the first two stages of the day, with worn tyres costing them some time in the final stage of the loop, with Ingram managing to finish third on that stage. Galatariotis finishes the first loop in third place, just in front of ERC standings leaders Chris Ingram and Ross Whittock, who lead the Russian crew in the championship by just one point on this penultimate round of the ERC. Ingram returned to the Service Park at the end of the first loop in fourth place.

The polish crew of Lukasz Habaj and Daniel Dymurski spoke of the tough nature of the Cyprus Rally, managing to end the first loop of the first day in fifth place after managing to find some pace late in the morning stages. Just behind them is Finnish legend Mikko Hirvonen, who returns to Cyprus ten years since his last podium here in the WRC, and alongside Jarno Ottman and their Ford Fiesta finished the morning loop in sixth place.

Erdi, Von Thurn und Taxis, Al-Kuwari and Mayr-Melnhof complete the top ten drivers of the first three stages of the Cyprus Rally. Andreas Psaltis and Andreas Chrysostomou were the first to retire from the rally, when their Citroen DS3 stopped early in the second stage with engine trouble. All cars and crew have returned to the service park, with the action resuming in the afternoon with a repeat of the first two stages of the day with the exciting Super Special Stage in the heart of Nicosia, completing the action of day 1 of the Cyprus Rally late in the afternoon. 

Overall Standings up to SS3
1.Al-Attiyah/Baumel – VW Polo R5 – 00:41.38
2.Lukyanuk/Arnautov – Citroen C3 R5 – +26s
3.Galatariotis/Ioannou – Skoda Fabia R5 – +01:21.5
4.Ingram/Whittock – Skoda Fabia R5 – +01:37.5
5.Habaj/Dymurksi – Skoda Fabia R5 – 01:45.3
6.Hirvonen/Ottman – Ford Fiesta R5 – +01:55.6
7.Erdi/Kovacs – Skoda Fabia R5 – +02:04.1
8.von Thurn und Taxis/Ettel – Skoda Fabia R5 – 02:26.2
9.Al-Kuwari/Clark – Skoda Fabia R5 – 02:44.0
10.Mayr-Melnhof/Welsershelmb – Ford Fiesta R5 – 02:48.1

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