ERC champion Lukyanuk all set to fly high twice in the Baltics
Alexey Lukyanuk is preparing to fly high in the Baltics twice in the space of three weeks with appearances on two fast-paced gravel rallies.
From July 1-3, Lukyanuk will bid to defend his FIA European Rally Championship lead on Rally Liepāja driving a Pirelli-equipped Citroën C3 Rally2 run by the Saintéloc Junior Team.
Then, from July 15-18, an entry in the FIA World Rally Championship’s WRC3 category awaits on Rally Estonia – an event the rapid Russian won outright in 2015 – in a Sports Racing Technologies-prepared Škoda Fabia Rally2 also using Pirelli tyres.
As well as tackling the two events with two different teams and in two different types of car, Lukyanuk will work with two different co-drivers: Dmitry Eremeev will partner him on Rally Liepāja before Yaroslav Fedorov takes over for Rally Estonia.
Lukyanuk’s Rally Estonia outing marks his fourth start at FIA World Rally Championship level and is fitting reward for his achievements in the ERC, which include two titles, 12 victories and 195 fastest stage times.
“We are glad to announce that we will start Rally Estonia in WRC3 with SRT in a Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo,” Lukyanuk said. “This project will take place thanks to the initiative of Alexander Rzhevkin – many thanks to him for this unique opportunity. I will drive with Yaroslav Fedorov because my permanent co-driver Alexey Arnautov cannot miss his work so often. A week after Rally Estonia Rally di Roma Capitale takes place in Italy, where we will compete together again in the ERC. Yaroslav has quite a lot of experience in world rallies so it will be interesting to work with him. I’m confident that we will do our best.”
Fedorov, who along with Nikolay Gryazin finished runner-up to Lukyanuk and Arnautov in the ERC in 2018 with SRT, said: “Alexey is very fast, his speed is beyond doubt, and it is an honour for me to assist him in Estonia. Thanks to our extensive experience of performing in the Baltics, both of us are familiar with the local roads. I think Alexey will come to this round in a good shape after two gravel rallies in Poland and Latvia. It will be very pleasant to play for the SRT team again, even at one round. Also, for the first time, both of us will drive as neutral racers of the Russian Automobile Federation. We’ll do our best and try to show that an old horse makes a straight furrow!”
Lukyanuk’s participation on Rally Estonia stems from his relationship with Alexander Rzhevkin – a Russian entrepreneur in the field of computer technologies and philanthropist, who also drives rally cars. Lukyanuk acts as a driver coach to Rzhevkin, who has appreciated his talents behind the wheel and was keen to hand him the chance to step up to the world stage. Rzhevkin also hopes that it will open new opportunities for Lukyunuk to demonstrate his considerable talent at the top level in the future.
Jean-Baptiste Ley, the ERC Co-ordinator, said: “We are very pleased that Alexey has earned this great opportunity to compete on a great event with a top team, in a top car, with a top co-driver on top tyres. ‘Lucas’ works so hard for every opportunity, he’s totally committed and really deserves his chance to show what we’ve seen so often in the European Championship also in the World championship.”