Rd.2 Cyprus Rally

  • Country : Cyprus
  • Date : 12-15/3/2009
  • Road surface : mixed surface
  • Total distance : 1198.00km

EVENT REPORT

Two Suzukis on the podium of the Cyprus Rally

Suzuki drivers Michal Kosciuszko and Aaron Burkart have finished second and third respectively on the second round of the 2009 Junior World Rally Championship, both at the wheel of the title-winning Swift Super 1600. Only two Suzukis were entered on this notoriously rough and demanding event, and both cars have successfully made it to the finish.

The Suzuki drivers are now well-placed in the title race, with Burkart second – only two points behind the series leader – and Kosciuszko in third. They are immediately followed in the rankings by two Suzuki drivers who did not compete in Cyprus: Simone Bertolotti and Yoann Bonato. This means that after the two opening rounds, there are four Suzukis in the top five of the championship!

The next round of the Junior World Rally Championship is the Portugal Rally, from April 2-5, which is run entirely on gravel.

About the Cyprus Rally:

The Cyprus Rally returned to the World Rally Championship calendar for the first time since 2006, and it was also the very first mixed-surface event on the WRC since the 1996 Sanremo Rally. The opening day of the 2009 Cyprus Rally was run entirely on asphalt, whereas the remaining two days were held exclusively on gravel: the event’s traditional surface. The stages were naturally extremely varied, but the asphalt tests tended to become rapidly covered in sharp rocks as the result of previous competitors cutting the corners. Heavy rain on Friday ensured that Saturday’s gravel stages were extremely muddy, while the final day of the event – held in the famed Troodos mountains – was run in low temperatures. The stages were generally slow and twisty, giving Cyprus some of the lowest average competitive speeds on the entire calendar. The event was based in Limassol, a well-known tourist resort on the south coast of the island. The action took in 14 special stages totalling 332.07 competitive kilometres.

Suzuki entries on Cyprus Rally:

Two Suzukis took the ceremonial start of the Cyprus Rally near Limassol on Thursday night. On this occasion, there was a pair of Suzuki Swift Super 1600s for Aaron Burkart/Michael Kolbach (number 31) and Michal Kosciuszko/Maciek Szczepaniak (number 32).

Aaron Burkart
News from Aaron Burkart (D)
  • Born 20 September 1982
  • Co-driver: Michael Kolbach (D)

Burkart – the winner of the JWRC opening round in Ireland – had an unlucky start in Cyprus, picking up a front-right puncture just 15 kilometres into the opening stage. A problem with the wheel nuts cost him more than three minutes. He struggled with tyre wear throughout the first day, ending it on SS6 when he hit a rock and damaged a wheel. He rejoined under the super rally system for day two, with a five minute penalty for each stage not completed, and steered clear of trouble although he had no brakes for the final loop of stages. During day three, he concentrated simply on driving to the finish and scoring points.

“This was a really tricky event although I was expecting that from the start. Our tyre wear on the first day was really bad on the abrasive surfaces: the rubber was down to the metal. After the opening day we knew that we would not be in contention for the win unless the others hit problems, so we concentrated on just trying to get the points for third. Luckily we succeeded in this, so now I look forward to my next event, in Argentina.”

Michael Kosciuszko
News from Michal Kosciuszko (PL)
  • Born 20 April 1985
  • Co-driver: Maciek Szczepaniak (PL)

Kosciuszko also suffered with extreme tyre wear on the opening day of asphalt special stages, due to the sharp rocks littering the route. He ended day one in second place but was able to push harder throughout day two, taking time out of the leader on all but the final stage of the day. He put in a last effort on Sunday, winning two out of the three stages that were run, but his efforts were slightly hampered by a power steering problem. In the end he finished second to open his points-scoring account for the year.

“It’s been a tough rally for me, but I’m very happy with the strength and reliability of the Swift. The biggest problem was the tyre wear we had on the first day. Without that, I think we could have fought for the win as our pace was competitive. But second place is still a good result and I think that I am in a promising position now for my next round in Portugal. I think that there will be a very strong field there, so we will need to push hard.”

2009 JWRC Rd.2 : Cyprus Rally, final results
Pos. No. Driver Car Total Time Diff 1st
1 38 M. PROKOP Citroen C2 S1600 5:20:54.0 0.0
2 32 M. KOSCUISZKO Suzuki Swift Super 1600 5:22:30.8 +1:36.8
3 31 A. BURKART Suzuki Swift Super 1600 5:40:42.9 +19:48.9
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