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Cyprus Rally will be included in the 2008 Championship

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Cyprus Rally will be included in the 2008 Championship

Postby Sotos » Sat Aug 26, 2006 1:55 pm

Good news for our rally!!

RALLY organisers were yesterday celebrating a week of good news for the event.
Not only was it confirmed that the event’s new Downtown Special would go ahead, but, crucially, the organisers have announced that, after a meeting of World Rally organisers, the Cyprus Rally will be included in the 2008 FIA World Rally Championship calendar.
The 2007 calendar, released by the FIA earlier in the year, triggered controversy after it excluded Cyprus, Australia and Turkey from the 2007 World Rally Championship (WRC). It was a shock for all concerned, with no satisfactory explanation provided for the omission of any of the events.

In light of the many objections raised about the initial FIA announcement, rally organisers from around the world met in Paris on Wednesday to discuss the future of the WRC. The result of the meeting was that, while the 2007 calendar announced previously will stand, Cyprus will be included in the 2008 WRC calendar.

The difficulties faced by the FIA are understandable. World rallying is a sport growing rapidly in popularity and many countries are looking to host an official round of the WRC. Currently, 22 countries are bidding to host an event. Meanwhile, the participating teams are looking to reduce the number of events every year to 14. A suggestion to reduce the number of events was dismissed at the meeting, where it was agreed that the calendar would continue to include 16 events. However, a new system of strict evaluation will be introduced, which will decide which rallies are to be included in the 2009 calendar and beyond.

Takis Kyriakides, Clerk of the Course for the Cyprus Rally, attended the Paris meeting and looks ahead with confidence: “Given the circumstances, we came away with the best results possible. There’s a lot of competition to host a WRC event and we have to remain focused. But we should also appreciate that there are many positives to draw from this. The evaluation system, where the future inclusion of each rally will be decided according to its performance, levels the playing field for everyone. This is good news for us, as we always score highly when it comes to organising successful events.

“I must stress that our success is entirely down to the excellent organising team, the many people who offer their help and assistance every year, and the support of the government. Without any of these people, we would not have been able to secure a place for our event in the future of the WRC.”

Cyprus Rally Press Officer Tony Christodoulou is similarly upbeat: “This is good news for everyone concerned. Not only does it mean that we can concentrate on next month’s event without concerns about the future, it also means that we have more time to prepare for the 2008 event, which I am confident will be better than anything that has come before. Our Downtown Special this year promises to be a highlight of the whole 2006 calendar and clearly demonstrates our determination to keep the Cyprus Rally at the forefront of the WRC.”

The Downtown Special (DTS) is a bold move by the Cyprus Rally organisers to combine the glamour of F1’s Monaco Grand Prix with the no-holds-barred excitement of rallying. An exciting finale to the 2006 Cyprus Rally, concerns that it wouldn’t take place were widely publicised in the local media. But government officials confirmed that it would go ahead earlier this week after senior police officials announced their satisfaction with the safety measures in place. Broadcast live around the globe, the DTS alone will bring rally action to more than 100 million viewers all over the world.

The decisions made at the Paris meeting will be ratified at a meeting of the World Motor Sport Council in October.

n The 2006 Cyprus Rally is scheduled for September 21-24. For information about the event, log on to www.cyprusrally.org
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