Spectacular world win after spectacular finish for ERC champion Lukyanuk
Alexey Lukyanuk was on typically spectacular form on his step up to the FIA World Rally Championship on Rally Estonia, which finished in the city of Tartu yesterday (Sunday).
The two-time European champion was making his return to the world stage for the first time since 2017 and had little trouble readapting to world-level competition on his debut in a Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo run by leading ERC team Sports Racing Technologies.
Co-driven by Yaroslav Fedorov as part of a one-off arrangement, Lukyanuk dominated the WRC3 category ahead of triple ERC champion Kajetan Kajetanowicz. He also beat WRC2 winner and ERC regular Andreas Mikkelsen into a fine eighth overall, despite rolling on the deciding stage.
“You never can expect to be so fast and so consistent because when you know the start list you expect an enormous fight and fierce battles at every level,” said the Russian. “We were hoping to get to the podium in our category but of course it’s a bit on top of our expectations.”
Lukyanuk’s winning margin in the RC2 division could have been far greater had it not been for his dramatic roll on the final stage.
“I saw the video from the outside and it looks I was quite optimistic in this specific place,” said Lukyanuk. “Over the jump I did not take into account the ruts that could be there and it caught me bad, we rolled two times. Big luck we landed on the wheels and I could restart the car. The greatest thing is we finished and finished first.”
Lukyanuk will be back on ERC duty on this week’s Rally di Roma Capitale when he returns to his Saintéloc Junior Team-run Citroën C3 Rally2 alongside long-term co-driver Alexey Arnautov. Lukyanuk leads Andreas Mikkelsen by nine points after two rounds.