Lambros Athanassoulas does the decent thing in the ERC
Lambros Athanassoulas has revealed how he risked inflicting substantial damage to his Ford Fiesta R5 on stage six of the CNP ASFALISTIKI Cyprus Rally, the closing round of this season’s FIA European Rally Championship.
The Team Greece star and Acropolis Rally podium finisher picked up a front-left puncture nearing the finish of the 10.34-kilometre test. Concerned there wasn’t a suitable place for the chasing Ralfs Sirmacis to pass, Athanassoulas pressed on to reach the stage finish to avoiding delaying his Latvian rival, although the front-left wing of his car needed to be replaced at service in Nicosia as a result of his sacrifice.
“It was a tight Tarmac section and I didn’t want to slow down Ralfs Simacis because it was really, really tight with no good space to stop without somebody to slow him down,” Athanassoulas explained. “It was only four or five pages on our notes and I thought two minutes on Tarmac would be quite okay because there was no dust. I know it’s really frustrating when you are slowed down with a problem of another car.”
Alexey Lukyanuk insists he won’t back off on the CNP ASFALISTIKI Cyprus Rally despite building his lead to more than a minute on the FIA European Rally Championship season closer.The Russian rocket has won five of the seven stages run so far but almost slipped up on stage six when he spun due to a miscommunication with co-driver Alexey Arnautov.
“It’s not easy to relax because the stages are really demanding and once you relax you can miss something as we did,” said the H-Racing Ford Fiesta R5 driver. “You are trying to get some fun, not just go to the end so we try to do it safe but fast.”
Dávid Botka climbed up to fourth place on the CNP ASFALISTIKI Cyprus Rally as the afternoon loop began, but the Hungarian's typical misfortune threatens his progress.Botka has been trading places with local favourite Christos Demosthenous on the overall leaderboard and got back ahead of the ERC2 leader on the second run over PSALTIS ENEOS Tseri test.
However, at the end of the stage he reported a fuel pump issue on his privately-run Citroën DS3 R5, saying he had "no power".
Last year's ERC2 champion has now started more ERC events than anyone else this season - missing just one event - but has been plagued by reliability issues. He has proved his pace when he's had a clean run however, finishing fourth on June's Azores Airlines Rallye.