Lukyanuk explains dramatic ERC crash
ERC champion Alexey Lukyanuk has explained what went wrong when he crashed out of the Azores Rallye yesterday.
Lukyanuk had been on dominant form at the start of his FIA European Rally Championship title defence until a puncture dropped him to third on the penultimate stage.
But worse was to follow, as the Saintéloc driver explained: “There was a straight, like 150 metres, and a hard-left corner. On the braking the pedal went to the floor. One brake line was damaged after the puncture on the previous stage. Unfortunately, [the pipe] just blew off and we lost brakes.
“I tried to steer to the corner with my reflexes but we touched the inside and then we start rolling and there was nothing we could do. We will of course discuss what could I have done in a different way. It’s not a driver’s mistake, it’s something else.”
Of the puncture that ruined his hopes of a second consecutive Azores Rallye victory, Lukyanuk said: “It was a slow puncture in the beginning of the stage. I start feeling the tyre is getting low with pressure but we decided not to stop because I knew we would lose a lot of time changing the wheel. We lost 1m20s or something like that so it was not a bad decision not to stop. But there was small damage on this brake line – it was done during the stage.”
Asked to summarise his Azores weekend, which marked his debut in a Citroën C3 R5, Lukyanuk said: “Of course the sadness overweighs everything but there are a lot of positives. The car is fast, we are fast and the team is good. We almost made no mistakes during the rally, we move on, find some money for repairs and we see on the next rally. It’s unbelievably tough when you know you are winning, but it happens like this.”
Rally Islas Canaris hosts the second round of the ERC from 2-4 May. Lukyanuk and co-driver Alexey Arnautov have won the event three seasons running.