Lukyanuk and Solberg face-off for FIA ERC title glory
Alexey Lukyanuk and Oliver Solberg will face-off for the coveted FIA European Rally Championship on Rally Islas Canarias from today.
Russian Rocket Alexey Lukyanuk tops the overall standings on the back of wins in Italy and Portugal but he must stave off the threat from teenage talent Oliver Solberg if he’s to claim the coveted FIA title for a second time in three years.
Solberg, 19, can become the youngest European champion by winning the event, which he’s tackling for the first time, by scoring maximum leg bonus points and hoping Lukyanuk manages to land no more than 20 points on the challenging all-asphalt rally.
However, Lukyanuk, a three-time Rally Islas Canarias winner, doesn’t need to win again to reclaim the title he lost to Chris Ingram during Rally Hungary’s final-stage decider last season.
“I was more nervous before Hungary because it’s a very unpredictable event,” said Lukyanuk, who drives a Pirelli-equipped Citroën C3 R5 for Saintéloc Junior Team. “Here we know the weather can be changeable also but, overall, we know more what to expect. I feel more relaxed than in Hungary and definitely I feel less pressure, more confidence. I know there are many, many skilled and fast drivers, young drivers and it will be really tough and exciting competition. We estimate Andreas Mikkelsen to be taking the pace to everyone. For us it will be interesting to be in the fight. But at the same time, it’s quite reasonable to think more about the championship.”
Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 driver Solberg said: “It’s going to be exciting. I’ve never been to Rally Islas Canarias before, so it will be an adventure. For the championship my rivals have been competing on this rally before, so it’s tough for me to match that experience. For sure, there’s going to be lots of pressure to win this rally and fight for the title.”