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Lukyanuk wary of ERC Junior threat on Rally Islas Canarias

Lukyanuk wary of ERC Junior threat on Rally Islas Canarias

27.04.2018: RALLY ISLAS CANARIAS, 3-5 MAY FIA European Rally Championship round 2/8 FIA ERC Junior Under 27/FIA ERC Junior Under 28 round 2/6 *ERC Juniors aiming to shine on Gran Canaria’s Tarmac

RALLY ISLAS CANARIAS, 3-5 MAY
FIA European Rally Championship round 2/8
FIA ERC Junior Under 27/FIA ERC Junior Under 28 round 2/6




*ERC Juniors aiming to shine on Gran Canaria’s Tarmac counter

*Llarena flies the flag for national federation-backed Rally Team Spain

*Fast female Falcón among local stars in action




Alexey Lukyanuk admits he’ll have his work cut out in his bid to make it two wins from two in this year’s all-action FIA European Rally Championship.



Lukyanuk claimed a comprehensive victory on the season-opening Azores Airlines Rallye last month, his winning margin only reduced after he performed a series of celebratory ‘donuts’ nearing the finish of the final stage, such was his eagerness to celebrate a fine performance alongside co-driver Alexey Arnautov.



While the competition was seriously strong in the Azores, Lukyanuk expects another tough battle for victory on the all-asphalt Rally Islas Canarias, which features a significantly revamped route for 2018 over a competitive distance of 202.72 kilometres.



“I hope we can adjust the car well during the tests because the race will be very difficult and exciting,” said the Russian Performance Motorsport Ford Fiesta R5 driver, a dominant winner in Gran Canaria last season.



“I have restrained expectations because anything can happen, there are different rivals, Spaniards, French, young Russians and almost all of last year’s liaisons became special stages and vice versa. But I love it and the mood is excellent.”



Nikolay Gryazin and co-driver Yaroslav Fedorov are the young Russian crew capable of challenging for victory on Rally Islas Canarias. After winning the 2017 season-closing Rally Liepāja, the Sports Racing Technologies pair are in the hunt for more success, although the 20-year-old Gryazin is quick to play down his chances.




“I feel more comfortable on gravel but my target is to be faster and faster on Tarmac. This is a difficult rally with very abrasive Tarmac. It means it’s difficult to manage the tyres so you need to be smart and not push every time in order to save the tyres in the long stages.”



While the outright ERC title is Lukyanuk’s focus, Gryazin’s main aim is to land the ERC Junior Under 28 title for young stars in R5 cars. But after electing not to include the Azores Airlines Rallye on his schedule for 2018, Gryazin will be playing catch-up as he bids to overhaul Chris Ingram in the standings.



Stepping up to R5 power for the first time, Ingram drove his Toksport ŠKODA Fabia to the class win in the Azores. “The Azores was a dream R5 debut for me, although I was a little bit disappointed to miss out on an overall podium because I knew we could do it,” said the Briton.



“Originally our plan was to win the U28s this year and then win the championship next year, but myself and Toksport have put a hell of a lot of effort in to see what we can do, especially for this rally we did an extra test because if we can beat Lukyanuk or something happens to him we need to think about the overall championship.”



Of the drivers aiming to emulate Ingram by winning the ERC Junior U27 title, three are competing with major support from motorsport federations/automobile associations. They are Dominik Brož (ACCR, Czech Republic), Tom Kristensson (ADAC, Germany) and Efrén Llarena (RFEDA, Spain.



Points scored by the trio will count towards the ERC Nations’ Cup, a new initiative for 2018 that promotes the participation in the European championship by these organisations and, in turn, provides an extra opportunity for rising talents to progress from national to international level.



Other changes for 2018 include reducing the number of scoring rounds in ERC2 from six to four – which has resulted in double the number of all-season campaigners – a requirement for drivers to be ERC registered in order to score overall points and a revamp to the ERC Ladies’ Trophy points system.



Rather than recognise the achievements of women when competing against other women drivers, to promote gender equality, drivers will score points based on where they appear in the final two or four-wheel-drive order.



- Richard Rodgers, photos FIA ERC

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/lukyanuk-erc-junior-threat-rally-islas-canarias---175290.html

27.04.2018 / MaP

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