Gryazin holds overnight ERC lead in Poland
Nikolay Gryazin leads ORLEN 77th Poland, round one of the 2021 FIA European Rally Championship, after winning the opening superspecial this evening.
Gryazin, who triumphed on his last visit to Poland in 2018, was quickest through the 2.50-kilometre Mikołajki Arena stage in the Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 he shares with co-driver Konstantin Aleksandrov.
Purpose-built within the grounds of the Hotel Gołębiewski, which also houses the event headquarters and service park, the purpose-built stage is tackled in pairs to increase the spectacle on offer.
“I was surprised there was water on the stage,” said Movisport driver Gryazin, a reference to the measures taken by rally the organisers to control the amount of dust and gravel being kicked up by the drivers as they round the corners in separate lanes. “We had some moments but we are here.”
Craig Breen was second quickest in his Team MRF Tyres Hyundai i20 R5, 0.6s down on Gryazin with former ERC2 champion Wojciech Chuchała a flying third in his Marten Sport-entered Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo, 0.1s adrift of Breen.
Fabian Kreim (Pole Promotion Volkswagen) tied on time with Chuchała but was classified fourth, 0.3s quicker than fifth-placed Simone Tempestini from the Napoca Rally Academy.
Yacco ACCR Team’s Erik Cais, who is eligible for the ERC-MICHELIN Talent Factory, was sixth quickest in his Ford Fiesta Rally2 followed by Hyundai Rally Team Italia’s Umberto Scandola, who complained of a pop-off valve issue.
Toksport WRT Škoda Fabia driver Andreas Mikkelsen was eighth quickest with Kacper Wróblewski ninth and Nil Solans, who reported being plagued by the same pop-off valve issued that slowed him on the Qualifying Stage, in P10. Tomasz Kasperczyk, who had been troubled by an ECU issue aboard his Tiger Energy Drink Rally Team Volkswagen in qualifying, was P11.
ORLEN Team’s 2019 Polish champion Miko Marczyk was 12th fastest and defending ERC champion Alexey Lukyanuk 13th in his Saintéloc Junior Team-run Citroën C3 Rally2. Grzegorz Grzyb and Norbert Herczig completed the top 15 followed by Callum Devine. Meanwhile, the powersteering issue that blighted Simone Campedelli on the Qualifying Stage returned to haunt the Italian through SS1. He languished in 34th.
SS2, the first running of the 18.20-kilometre Swietajno test, gets Saturday’s action underway from 09h20 local time. Click HERE for live timing.