The 2011 Cyprus Rally – the final round of the Intercontinental Rally Championship (IRC) features five of the world’s top drivers – any one of whom could walk away with the IRC championship.
The top five drivers are Jan Kopecky, Juho Hanninen, Thierry Neuville, Andreas Mikelsen and Freddy Loix (left to right in the picture):
See the action!
Jan Kopecky (Skoda) 131 points
Jan Kopecky of the Czech Republic enters the Cyprus event at the top of the IRC standing. He’ll be driving a Skoda Fabia S2000 (Car no. 2) and, like the other competitors for the title, he’ll be keen to make the most of the double points on offer. But off-form showings in Sanremo and Scotland mean the Czech’s first IRC title is by no means a certainty.
Juho Hanninen (Skoda) 125 points
Second placed, but only six championship points behind is Juho Hanninen of Finland. He’ll also be driving a Skoda Fabia S2000 (Car no. 3). What could stand in Hanninen’s way? The Skoda team just ight ask him to ease off a bit to support Kopecky’s title bid.
Watch a quick interview with Juho Hanninen before the start of the rally:
Thierry Neuville (Peugeot) 115 points
23-year-old Belgian driver Thierry Neuville, will be fighting for the crown in his Peugeot 207 S2000 (Car no. 4). Thierry Neuville is the sole Peugeot representative vying for the honours in his Team Peugeot Belgium-Luxembourg entry. With wins in Corsica and Sanremo this year, Neuville will be a threat, but possesses limited experience on gravel.
Watch a quick interview with Thierry Neuville before the start of the rally:
Andreas Mikelsen (Skoda) 111.5 points
Hard on Neuville’s exhaust is Norway’s Andreas Mikkelsen. He’ll be driving a Skoda Fabia (Car no. 5) and won at last month’s RACMSA Rally of Scotland. At 22, Mikkelsen, is the youngest of the title contenders and starts the event on the back of his maiden victory in Scotland for Skoda UK Motorsport.
Freddy Loix (Skoda) 103 points
BFO-Skoda Rally Team’s Freddy Loix was absent in Scotland and his co-driver Frederic Miclotte believes it will be a tall order for the Belgians to win the crown. Loix will be driving a Skoda Fabia S2000 (Car no. 6). To add to the task, 40-year-old Loix has not competed on gravel in the IRC since May 2009.
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