ERC 2019 season recap: PZM 76th Rally Poland
Alexey Lukyanuk got back in the hunt for a second FIA European Rally Championship title by taking his first win of 2019 on PZM 76th Rally Poland, scoring maximum points.
Taking the lead from Hyundai Motorsport N’s ERC3 Junior graduate Jari Huttunen after stage two, Lukyanuk didn’t look back, winning by 59.8s with home hero Łukasz Habaj taking third to maintain his title advantage, albeit by 11 points over new second place driver Lukyanuk.
After a broken damper and puncture on Saturday caused minor delay, Lukyanuk picked up another puncture when he hit a rock on the morning pass of Gmina Mragowo.
His lead was reduced but he still remained out front and from there he was untouchable, winning the remaining stages to cement his first win of 2019 and his ninth in the ERC.
“It’ a long-awaited result,” Lukyanuk said. “It should come straight away from Azores, but some bad luck happened. Now it’s like a revenge against fate.”
Huttunen’s return to the European championship was equally as successful as his appearance on this event last year, repeating his second-place finish in a factory-supported Hyundai i20 R5.
Conscious that Lukyanuk was keen to get his first win of 2019, Huttunen played it safe and made sure he secured second place to continue his 100 per cent podium rate in the ERC since moving up to the faster four-wheel-drive category.
Championship leader Habaj (Sports Racing Technologies) added another podium to his impressive 2019 trophy cabinet, limiting his points loss to Lukyanuk to ensure he would leave his home country still top of the ERC standings.
Habaj overhauled ERC1 Junior star Miko Marczyk (ŠKODA Polska Motorsport) for fourth place early on the final morning and then took third when Filip Mareš (ACCR Czech Rally Team) picked up a right-rear puncture on stage 12.
Despite losing nearly a minute, Mareš still secured victory in the ERC1 Junior category and fourth place overall, putting him into class title contention as Chris Ingram (Toksport WRT) retired on the road section between SS13 and SS14 with a water leak.
Aron Domżała (TGS Worldwide) scored his first ERC top five finish alongside three-time ERC champion co-driver Jarek Baran, as Hiroki Arai (Team STARD) rolled into retirement.
Tomasz Kasperczyk (Tiger Energy Drink Rally Team) mounted a strong comeback to finish sixth after starting leg two down in P11. He benefitted from Arai’s retirement and also Marijan Griebel’s off just 2.5 kilometres from the end of the rally.
Juan Carlos Alonso won ERC2, Andrea Nucita secured top Abarth Rally Cup honours, while Ken Torn made it two ERC3 and ERC3 Junior wins in succession.
PZM 76TH RALLY POLAND, 28-30 JUNE 2019
TOP 10 POSITIONS (after 15 stages, 201.42 kilometres)
1 Alexey Lukyanuk (RUS)/Alexey Arnautov (RUS) Citroën C3 R5 1h45m49.4s
2 Jari Huttunen (FIN)/Mikko Lukka (FIN) Hyundai i20 R5 +59.8s
3 Łukasz Habaj (POL)/Daniel Dymurski (POL) ŠKODA Fabia R5 +1m51.5s
4 Filip Mareš (CZE)/Jan Hloušek (CZE) ŠKODA Fabia R5 +2m09.2s
5 Aron Domżała (POL)/Jarek Baran (POL) ŠKODA Fabia R5 +3m05.2s
6 Tomasz Kasperczyk (POL)/Damian Syty (POL) Ford Fiesta R5 +4m02.1s
7 Mattias Adielsson (SWE)/Andreas Johansson (SWE) Citroën C3 R5 +4m06.5s
8 Norbert Herczig (HUN)/Ramón Ferencz (HUN) Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 +4m06.6s
9 Miko Marczyk (POL)/Szymon Gospadarczyk (POL) ŠKODA Fabia R5 +4m32.4s
10 Kacper Wróblewski (POL)/Marcz Szeja (POL) Hyundai i20 R5 +6m16.9s
FIA ERC2: Juan Carlos Alonso (ARG)/Juan Pablo Monastelero (ARG) Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X
FIA ERC3: Ken Torn (EST)/Kauri Pannas (EST) Ford Fiesta R2T
FIA ERC1 Junior: Filip Mareš (CZE)/Jan Hloušek (CZE) ŠKODA Fabia R5
FIA ERC3 Junior: Ken Torn (EST)/Kauri Pannas (EST) Ford Fiesta R2T
Abarth Rally Cup: Andrea Nucita (ITA)/Alina Bianca Pop (ROU) Abarth 124 rally
ERC Ladies’ Trophy: Nabila Tejpar (GBR) Peugeot 208 R2