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By Peter Stevenson MEMBERS of Volunteer Doctors Cyprus have treated around 350 people at their free clinic in Nicosia since it opened three months ago, while two more, one in Paphos and one in Polis are due to open today. Limassol also has a free clinic, which was opened only last month, and plans have been drawn ...
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Cyprus Internet Directory [ Youngest ever Cyprus Rally winner Nicos Thomas hopes to build on his success ]

Youngest ever Cyprus Rally winner Nicos Thomas hopes to build on his success

CYPRIOT Nicos Thomas has become the youngest winner of the Cyprus Rally and only the second local driver to take top honours since 1991.

The event, round 2 of the 2008 FIA Middle East Rally Championship (MERC), came to an exciting climax on Sunday with victory for the 20-year-old and co-driver SG Chips in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX.

Fellow Cypriot Savvas Savva and co-driver Pambos Laos secured second place in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VIII, finishing the event 26.2 seconds behind Thomas.

“It’s such an amazing feeling,” Thomas told the Mail yesterday. “It’s an international rally which makes the achievement even more memorable and we managed to do it using a fantastic strategy from our team.”

Not only is Thomas the youngest driver to win the Cyprus Rally, his victory also makes him the youngest driver to ever win a Middle East Rally Championship event.

He follows fellow Cypriot Charalambos Timotheou who won the event last year.

“I would like to thank my team, Cool Motorsports for their support and also to my co-driver for an excellent performance,” Thomas said, adding that he would not be where he is today without the help of his father, “who has really helped me a lot.”

When asked how it felt to be the youngest champion, the Limassol local described it as “an honour.”

He continued: “Before the start of the event I felt pretty confident because I knew we had the speed but you never know, as anything can happen.”

Pre-race attention was focused on Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah and his Ulster co-driver Chris Patterson in their Subaru Impreza WRX N14, and Jordan’s Amjad Farrah and Tina Maria Monego in their Mitsubishi Lancer EVO IX.

The event attracted a host of famous faces from across the region but the international field was largely decimated over the weekend’s action, with only three finishing in the top ten – Al-Attiyah in thirdd, Nick Georgiou in sixth, and Misfer Al-Marri nineth.

While Al-Attiyah would have liked a repeat of his many recent victories in Cyprus, after his difficult first day, he will no doubt be satisfied to leave with 8 points and his MERC lead intact.

Speaking about his plans for the future, Thomas said he would this year be entering another rally in Cyprus, as well as one in Syria and another in either Jordan or Lebanon.

Revamped for 2008, the Cyprus Rally is more than ready for its return to the FIA World Rally Championship calendar next year.

This weekend’s event featured a combination of new special stages, stages that were first introduced last year, and a selection of classic stages, and it is also noteworthy that 80 per cent of the stages are used just once through the course of the event.

The stages were met with a largely positive reception from the drivers, who acknowledged that the event remains tough but enjoyable.

Cyprus hosts two rounds of the FIA Middle East Rally Championship this year. The Troodos Rally, Round 6 of the 2008 MERC and the penultimate event in this year’s calendar, will be held in Cyprus between November 7 and 9.


(Source: Cyprus Mail)



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