ERC champion Lukyanuk off to a flyer with Qualifying Stage best
Alexey Lukyanuk has made the perfect start to his FIA European Rally Championship title defence by going fastest of all on the Qualifying Stage for ORLEN 77th Rally Poland.
Driving a Pirelli-equipped Citroën C3 Rally2, Lukyanuk set a table-topping best time of 1m47.425s through the 3.26-kilometre Talty stage alongside co-driver Alexey Arnautov.
It means the Russian earns the right to choose his starting position first for leg one’s stages when the selection ceremony takes place in Mikołajki early this evening.
Norway’s Andreas Mikkelsen was second fastest for Toksport WRT followed by ORLEN Team’s home hero Miko Marczyk. Nil Solans completed a trio of Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo runners in fourth, despite the Spaniard reporting a pop-off valve issue.
Callum Devine (Ford Fiesta Rally2) was fifth quickest for the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy, one place ahead of four-time Hungarian champion Norbert Herczig.
Germany’s Fabian Kreim (Pole Promotion Volkswagen Polo GTI R5) headed French champion Yoann Bonato (CHL Sport Auto Citroën) in seventh followed by Hyundai Rally Team Italia’s Umberto Scandola and Luxembourg-born Grégoire Munster (Hyundai i20 R5).
Behind Grzegorz Grzyb in P11, five-time Romanian champion Simone Tempestini took P12, one place ahead of Chilean driver Emilio Fernández, who placed P13 and made it 12 different nationalities in the top 13. The Toksport WRT driver reported a high water temperature after the stage.
With three-time ERC champion co-driver Jarek Baran alongside, Adrian Chwietczuk was P14 followed by Zbigniew Gabrys, Jarosław Szeja, Efrén Llarena, Alberto Battistolli and Craig Breen, who lost time missing a junction nearing the end of the stage in his Team MRF Tyres Hyundai. Roland Poom completed the top 20 on his debut in the ERC’s top class.
More to follow…