Manfred aims for the podium

Manfred aims for the podiumFrom Peugeot Press [ 15/09/2006 ].
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The drivers of the OMV Peugeot Norway World Rally Teams return to the rally of their greatest triumphs so far. Last year Manfred Stohl/Ilka Minor (Aut) finished in sensational second place at the “Cyprus Rally”. Henning Solberg/Cato Menkerud (Nor) reached fourth place. In spite of their self-confidence both Stohl and Solberg are realistic enough to know that the path to the podium will be a stony one. The Cyprus Rally counts as the toughest run to the FIA World Rally Championship, even if average speed measures only 65 km/h.

Looking ahead
Manfred Stohl has fond memories of last year’s Cyprus Rally. After all, the OMV driver surprised everyone by finishing second. And the organisers were hard pressed to find a red-white-red flag for the presentation ceremony. But they have one at the ready for 2006 – and the 34-year-old Viennese will do his all to have it raised once again. Stohl: “Our top result in Cyprus last year has us highly motivated. Still, one can’t predict what will happen this year. The course has been somewhat alleviated as compared to last year. Therefore there are no overlong special stages anymore, especially at the beginning of the rally. But my professed goal is and remains a place on the podium.“ In any case, the OMV driver shows respect for the weather capers on the Mediterranean island. At times short rain showers can become so heavy that even the most powerful windscreen wipers can’t cope with the mass of water. Stohl: “You’ve got no chance if it hits you. In such a case it is better to stop for a short while.”

Stronger competition in 2005
OMV Peugeot Norway World Rally Team-mate Henning Solberg obviously also loves to think back on Cyprus. Fourth place had been his best WRC-ranking up to then. A few weeks ago he was able to repeat this result in Finland – which strenghtened his self-confidence. Solberg: “I am not afraid to match with anyone. Last year the competition was perhaps even stronger. A decisive factor will be to go easy on the tyres, for if you have a flat here you won’t stand a chance for a top place.“ The OMV driver gathered further motivation last weekend in Austria where he won a super stage on a race track near Vienna.

OMV Peugeot Norway WRT on the hunt for manufacture points until end of season
Already prior to the 2006 season the OMV Peugeot Norway World Rally Team had nominated for twelve runs to the manufacture ranking. At the runs in Spain and Corsica, the OMV ADAC Rallye and the Rally Japan only Manfred Stohl had competed. In Cyprus, Turkey, Australia, New Zealand and Wales Manfred Stohl and Henning Solberg will now be able to score in the manufacture ranking – where the OMV Peugeot Norway World Rally Team lies in fourth place with 50 points as the best M2-team.

331,34 special stage kilometres on 23 special stages
The Cyprus Rally 2006 will commence on Thursday, September 21 at 20.30 with a ceremonial start on the promenade in Limassol. 331,34 special stage kilometres, divided into 23 special stages, are scheduled from Friday (22.9.) to Sunday (24.9.). The overall length measures 1.172,74 kilometres. The OMV Down Town Stage will be the highlight of the rally, which will commence on Sunday as last special stage at 14.05 (live coverage by Europsort) and lead through the Old Town of Limassol.

This is Cyprus
Area: 9.250 sq km; Population: 776.000 inhabitants; Population density: 83 people per sq km; Capital: Nicosia; Cyprus was founded in 1183 and became independent in 1960. Since that year the island state is also a member of the UNO. Cyprus is divided into a Greek and a Turkish part. The Greek part became a member of the EU in 2004. The road system on Cyprus measures 11.300 kilometres, of which only half consists of paved roads.