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Lukyanuk puncture hands Habaj last-stage ERC lead

2019-03-23T17:54:53+01:00March 23rd, 2019|2019, Azores Rallye|

Alexey Lukyanuk has lost the lead of the Azores Rallye to FIA European Rally Championship regular Łukasz Habaj with one stage to go after picking up a puncture on the Graminhais test.

The reigning ERC champion managed only five kilometres of the 24km test before picking up a slow puncture on his Saintéloc Racing-prepared Citroën C3 R5, losing 1m28.3s and promoting Habaj to first place.

“It happened 5km into the stage. It’s a slow puncture, I didn’t touch anything. It’s absolutely frustrating,” said Lukyanuk at stage end.

Sports Racing Technologies driver Habaj now has an 18.6s lead over 2016 Azores Rallye winner Ricardo Moura with only the 22km Tronqueira stage remaining,

Lukyanuk dropped to third place after his puncture, 40.9s off the lead and 5.2s ahead of ERC1 Junior leader Chris Ingram. However, he has ruled out trying a last-ditch attempt to climb back up the order.

“We think it’s too dangerous to try and attack now. The time is gone with this wheel, so we have to accept it and move on,” he concluded.

Live pictures of the grand finale of the Azores Rallye are available to watch on from 15h59 local time (17h59 CET).