ERC Poland leg one report: Tough luck for Gryazin leaves Lukyanuk leading in Poland

2021-06-20T00:50:10+02:00June 19th, 2021|2021, ORLEN 77th Rally Poland|

ERC champion Alexey Lukyanuk leads ORLEN 77th Rally Poland after Nikolay Gryazin retired with a double front puncture at the end of the penultimate stage of leg one.

Gryazin was 40.5s in front on the back of a dominant performance when his hopes of a second victory on Poland’s round of the FIA European Rally Championship ended.

“It seems like the tyre was destroyed,” said Gryazin, who had posted five fastest stage times in his Volkswagen Polo GTI R5. “I thought I hit something but it looks like it just happened from the bolt [of the front suspension]. It happens, it seems like. We have only one spare and it’s forbidden to go without one wheel. There’s nothing to do. I was trying. When I saw the difference was quite big in the first pass I start to try to make a big gap in the first pass. This stage we drove in the dust and it was impossible to see the road but I was able to finish [but with two punctured tyres].”

Lukyanuk (Saintéloc Junior Team) completed SS7 with the fastest time in his Citroën C3 Rally2 to move 10.6s ahead of the luckless Gryazin. But that margin meant little when Gryazin was forced to retire, leaving Lukyanuk 29.7s ahead of Andreas Mikkelsen (Toksport WRT Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo) following the leg-closing Mikołajki Arena stage.

“It’s a nice feeling, I’m happy with our strategy for the afternoon, thanks for an amazing day to everybody, it was a good day, it’s amazing to be back on the gravel, good car, good set-up,” said Lukyanuk, who won Rally Poland in 2019 and is driving a replacement Citroën after his original was damaged beyond immediate repair during a testing accident on Tuesday.

Miko Marczyk, one of six drivers eligible for ERC-MICHELIN Talent Factory incentives, is third for ORLEN Team with fellow Pole Wojciech Chuchała in fourth. Rallye Team Spain’s Nil Solans is fifth and the best Rally Poland rookie. Škoda Rally Team Hungaria driver Norbert Herczig is sixth with CHL Sport Auto’s Yoann Bonato seventh. Efrén Llarena is eighth for Rallye Team Spain, Erik Cais (Yacco ACCR Team) I is ninth in a Ford Fiesta Rally2, while former national champion Umberto Scandola completes the top 10 for Hyundai Rally Team Italia.

Former Polish champion Grzegorz Grzyb, on his first ERC start since 2018, is P11 following a puncture. Adrian Chwietcuk, who is being co-driven by three-time ERC champion Jarek Baran and is driving for Hołowczyz Racing, the team founded by Krzysztof Hołowczyc, the 1997 European champion, is P12 on his first ERC start. Callum Devine has been battling gearbox issues to hold P13 overnight for the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy. Roland Poom is P14 on his ERC debut with Chilean Emilio Fernández completing the provisional list of points scorers in P15.

Tomasz Kasperczyk was eighth when he rolled on SS4. But the Tiger Energy Drink Rally Team driver continued and is P19 overnight, one place ahead of Italian youngster Alberto Battistoli. Meanwhile, damage resulting from a right-rear puncture has ruined Grégoire Munster’s hopes of a top 10 finish.

Craig Breen was in fifth place after six stages but retired his Team MRF Tyres Hyundai i20 R5 one kilometre from the finish SS7 with broken suspension. Team-mate Simone Campedelli retired his Volkswagen in morning service with a powersteering issue. Gearbox failure ended five-time Romanian champion Simone Tempestini’s chances of a strong result, while an electrical issued triggered Fabian Kreim’s exit from sixth position. Kacper Wróblewski crashed out on SS7, while Nabila Tejpar rolled but is hoping to restart on leg two.

PROVISIONAL TOP 15 ERC POSITIONS (after 8 stages, 113.12 kilometres)
1 Alexey Lukyanuk (RUS)/Alexey Arnautov (RUS) Citroën C3 Rally2 1h10m23.2s
2 Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR)/Ola Fløene (NOR) Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo +29.7s
3 Miko Marczyk (POL)/Szymon Gospodarczyk (POL) Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo +1m15.6s
4 Wojciech Chuchała (POL)/Sebastian Rozwadowski (POL) Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo +1m46.4s
5 Nil Solans (ESP)/Marc Martí (ESP) Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo +2m22.3s
6 Norbert Herczig (HUN)/Ramón Ferencz (HUN) Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo +2m38.6s
7 Yoann Bonato (FRA)/Benjamin Boulloud (FRA) Citroën C3 Rally2 +2m41.9s
8 Efrén Llarena (ESP)/Sara Fernándes (ESP) Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo +2m43.9s
9 Erik Cais (CZE)/Jindřiška Žáková (CZE) Ford Fiesta Rally2 +2m46.2s
10 Umberto Scandola (ITA)/Guido D’Amore (ITA) Hyundai i20 R5 +3m27.9s
11 Grzegorz Grzyb (POL)/Mihał Poradzisz (POL) Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo +3m39.4s
12 Adrian Chwietcuk (POL)/Jarek Baran (POL) Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo +3m54.4s
13 Callum Devine (IRL)/James Fulton (IRL) Ford Fiesta Rally2 +3m57.9s
14 Roland Poom/Darren Garrod (GBR) Citroën C3 Rally2 +4m03.6s
15 Emilio Fernàndez (CHL)/Rubén García (ARG) Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo +4m11.1s

FIA ERC2: Javier Pardo (ESP)/Adrián Pérez (ESP) Suzuki Swift R4lly S Rally2 Kit
FIA ERC3: Sami Pajari (FIN)/Enni Mälkönen (FIN) Ford Fiesta Rally4
FIA ERC Junior: Jon Armstrong (GBR)/Phil Hall (GBR) Ford Fiesta Rally3
FIA ERC3 Junior: Sami Pajari (FIN)/Enni Mälkönen (FIN) Ford Fiesta Rally4
Abarth Rally Cup: Dariusz Poloński (POL)/Łukasz Sitek (POL) Abarth 124 rally
Clio Trophy by Toksport WRT: Paulo Soria (ARG)/Marcelo Der Ohannesian (ARG) Clio Rally5
ERC-MICHELIN Talent Factory (incentives package): Miko Marczyk (POL) Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo

Live timing and results: https://www.fiaerc.com/live-timing/

What’s next?
The 100th Rally Poland concludes tomorrow (Sunday) with six stages over a competitive distance of 69.64 kilometres in store. The action begins with the 9.34-kilometre Mikołajki Max stage from 07h50 local time. SS10 (Gmina Mragowo 1 from 08h35), SS12 (Gmina Mragowo 2 from 11h10) and SS14 (Rally Poland 100th Anniversary) will be streamed on Facebook and YouTube. SS14 will also be shown live on Motowizja in Poland. ERC Radio will be live throughout the day. Highlights of leg one will be shown on Eurosport and Eurosport Player at 24h00 CET but check local listings for details.