SPORTS

Cyprus Rally no longer at sea as boats arrive

STAVROVOUNI (Reuters) – Cyprus Rally organizers breathed a sigh of relief yesterday as a ship transporting cars and support vehicles arrived on the eve of the event. «All the kit and equipment has arrived and drivers completed their recce today in their normal vehicles,» said a rally spokesman. Storms at sea had delayed the arrival of the ship, initially due to dock on Monday. Drivers had to carry out Wednesday’s reconnaissance in rental cars, while organizers cut two hours off yesterday’s shakedown run in the Stavrovouni area. The shakedown was also hit by a small delay after a spectator dislocated his shoulder as he scrambled to move away from the track, witnesses said. The rally starts this morning and ends on Sunday. It is the slowest on the world championship calendar, covering rocky tracks and hairpin bends high on the Troodos Mountains in central Cyprus. It is also expected to be one of the hottest of the year, even if the Cyprus event has moved from its previous midsummer date, and concerns have been raised about conditions. Mitsubishi team doctor Paul Trafford warned in Britain’s Autosport magazine that drivers could be facing dangerous temperatures inside the cars. Air-conditioning systems sap power from the engines and drivers, who must also wear full fireproof underwear under three-layer race suits, are reluctant to use them. «If there’s an option to turn something off and give the engine more power, the drivers are always going to do that,» said Trafford. «But this is a serious situation. When the core body temperature is getting to these levels, we’re not talking about sweating or losing fluid, we’re talking about the brain’s performance being affected and a driver’s judgment being impaired with them possibly passing out or becoming delirious.» Ford’s Markko Martin of Estonia will be hoping to extend his single-point lead in the championship over Citroen’s French challenger Sebastien Loeb. Ford also lead the manufacturers’ standings by nine points from champions Citroen.