Midday round-up: ERC ace Lukyanuk leads in Rome
Alexey Lukyanuk has made a flying start to the 2020 FIA European Rally Championship season with a hat-trick of stage wins on Rally di Roma Capitale.
Driving a Pirelli-equipped Citroën C3 R5 for the Saintéloc Junior Team alongside new co-driver Dmitry Eremeev, Lukyanuk holds a 9.8s advantage over last year’s winner Giandomenico Basso heading to the regroup in Fiuggi.
Romanian champion Simone Tempestini is a fine third with Fabian Kreim a strong fourth on his return to ERC action at the wheel of a Volkswagen Polo GTI R5.
Oliver Solberg is fifth, despite losing his glasses, with Craig Breen sixth in his Team MRF Tyres-entered Hyundai i20 R5.
Giacomo Scattolon, Norbert Herczig, Rallye Team Spain’s ERC3 Junior champion Efrén Llarena and Grégoire Munster complete the top 10.
Crugnola in trouble on opening stage
Amid searing ambient temperatures, Saturday morning’s running was truncated when Andrea Crugnola and Adrien Fourmaux crashed on stages one and two respectively. On both occasions the action was delayed while the damaged cars were recovered. However, there were no injuries to any crew.
One of the favourites for victory, Crugnola crashed 2.3 kilometres after the start of the opening 13.40-kilometre Pico-Greco stage, which he said could be decisive in the outcome of the rally prior to the start in Rome last night.
Emil Lindholm, who started behind the Italian, told ERC Radio reporter Chris Rawes what he had seen. “It was a quick right-hander over a crest,” said Team MRF Tyres’ driver Lindholm. “It looks like he hit a barrier and crashed into the rock face. Two wheels were missing from the car.”
Having been delayed through the final five kilometres of stage one with a front-right puncture on his M-Sport Ford World Rally Team-run Fiesta R5 MkII, Fourmaux rolled into retirement on the next test.
Troubled restart for Czech mates
It was a tough morning for Czech drivers Erik Cais and Filip Mareš. Cais retired with damaged right-rear suspension at the end of stage one, while Mareš dropped more than 30s to Alexey Lukyanuk when he spun and had to reverse.
In need of Devine intervention
Callum Devine was P11 when he was forced out by a reported engine failure on his Motorsport Ireland Rally Team Academy Hyundai at the finish of stage three.
Melegari on top in ERC2 as Poloński hits trouble
Zelindo Melegari leads ERC2 after three stages following Dariusz Poloński’s retirement with a suspected turbo fault. Poloński was fastest in class through SS1 in his Abarth 124 rally but was in trouble after five kilometres of SS2.
Torn’s Fiesta in front in battle of new Rally4 cars
Ken Torn leads ERC3 and ERC3 Junior in his all-new Ford Fiesta Rally4 with Pedro Antunes second in Peugeot’s all-new 208 Rally4. After a puncture on the first stage, Pep Bassas set the pace on SS2 and SS3 for Rallye Team Spain.
With the event running approximately two hours behind schedule, Pico-Greco is due to begin at 17h25 local time.