ERC Q&A: Alexey Arnautov
After guiding his friend and compatriot Alexey Lukyanuk to the FIA European Rally Championship title in 2018 and nine wins from 34 ERC starts together, respected Russian co-driver Alexey Arnautov is taking a break from competing. This is what he’s had to say ahead of the 2020 ERC season.
What’s made you take a break?
“It was quite hard to spare the time for rallies and it’s rare that a boss will grant you eight weeks out of the office. I really appreciate they were able to support me but I plan to focus on my main job. Another part is my family. I hope to spend more time with my daughters and, finally, after five years of competing in the ERC have vacations together.”
How much did you enjoy your time spent in the ERC with Alexey?
“We had a fantastic career together with ERC rallies held in wonderful places. I really enjoyed the rally schedule over the last years even though my work colleagues were very envious. I will miss our fans in the various countries we went to.”
What were your best memories?
“Winning in Estonia with the Mitsubishi Lancer in 2015 was very special, but I will also include the various races in Azores, Canarias and Czech Republic. Whether it was a win or lose story, I was always expecting a dramatic fight to the very end.”
Will you come back?
“That’s the tough question! Let’s see. So far I plan to skip one year and relax a bit.”
What advice do you have for Dmitriy Eremeev, your replacement?
“Keep calm and do your job, the guy on the left knows what he is doing!”
And this is what Alexey Lukyanuk had to say about Alexey Arnautov:
“He was my co-driver since 2009 and we won a lot of rallies and championships together. He’s the strongest guy I know mentally, he’s so calm and responsible. He was taking care of many things around me, around us with logistics, with communication with organisers, the planning. So, I really am thankful to him for supporting me in that way and giving me freedom to focus on my part, on driving, on preparations. Now I have to do it on my own and it’s distracting me a bit. I will sort things out and make them work but with Alexey it was so natural and easy, so calm in the car together. I massively respect these years and our passion, our results, our friendship. We’re still close of course and Alexey helps me with small things. It’s a very good background. But Dmitriy is a strong choice. We’ve had some pacenote training and we made quite good steps with our preparation and I am pretty confident we will come to the first event well prepared and ready to deliver good results from the first stages.”