ERC Poland Rally - Lukyanuk lands The Big 100 to begin ERC title defence in style

ERC Poland Rally - Lukyanuk lands The Big 100 to begin ERC title defence in style

20.06.2021: FIA European Rally Championship 2021, Round 1 of 8 ORLEN 77th Rally Poland Sunday,June 20th,2021 *Russian rocket goes from despair to triumph with victory on 100th anniversary Rally Poland


FIA European Rally Championship 2021, Round 1 of 8
ORLEN 77th Rally Poland
Sunday,June 20th,2021




*Russian rocket goes from despair to triumph with victory on 100th anniversary Rally Poland

*Arnautov co-drives winning Saintéloc Junior Team Citroën C3 Rally2 on Pirelli tyres

*Mikkelsen and home hero Marczyk complete ORLEN 77th Rally Poland podium

*Armstrong makes his history as Rally3-era FIA ERC Junior Championship begins

*Perfect Pardo wins ERC2, Pajari takes an ERC3/ERC3 Junior double

*Soria triumphs all-new Clio Trophy by Toksport WRT arrive-and-drive series

*First ERC-MICHELIN Talent Factory incentives bagged by young stars in Rally2 cars

*ERC season opener concludes with spectacular Warsaw city centre stage






Alexey Lukyanuk delivered the ultimate comeback victory to begin his FIA European Rally Championship title defence in style on ORLEN 77th Rally Poland today.



Co-driven by fellow Russian Alexey Arnautov, Lukyanuk was seemingly down and out on Tuesday following a testing crash which left his Pirelli-equipped Citroën C3 Rally2 beyond immediate repair after they rolled five times.



But Saintéloc Junior Team heroically answered their call by transporting a replacement bodyshell from its base in southern France and preparing an all-new car in time for Friday’s start.



Undeterred by his lack of loose-surface running – the 20 kilometres he managed in the build-up to the event was Lukyanuk’s first on gravel since Rally Liepāja last August – the two-time ERC champion kept calm and moved into the lead when long-term pacesetter Nikolay Gryazin was forced out with a double puncture on Saturday’s penultimate stage.



Starting Sunday’s final leg with an advantage of 29.7s over Andreas Mikkelsen and Ola Fløene, Lukyanuk and Arnautov achieved the perfect blend of speed and caution to win in Poland for the second time, unflustered when their Norwegian rivals cut their margin to 17.4s heading to the deciding stage on the streets of the capital, Warsaw, added to the itinerary as part of the event’s 100th anniversary celebrations.



Lukyanuk, for whom victory in Poland was number 12 in the ERC, becomes the first European champion since Luca Rossetti in 2011 to start his title defence with a victory. “Before the rally it was extreme, like a movie but it turned out with a victory with the toughest challenge, with very fast drivers around and with very hard roads,” said Lukyanuk. “I’m just happy to be on the first spot today.”



Spain’s Javier Pardo/Adrián Pérez won ERC2 at their first attempt driving a Rally2 Kit-specification Swift R4lly S from Suzuki Motor Ibérica. Finns Sami Pajari/Enni Mälkönen claimed the ERC3 laurels in a Ford Fiesta Rally4 built by M-Sport Poland in Kraków. In ERC Junior, which is for Rally3 cars on Pirelli tyres from 2021, Jon Armstrong came out on top driving M-Sport Poland’s history-making Fiesta Rally3 alongside co-driver Phil Hall.



Pajari was first to finish in ERC3 Junior with Paulo Soria/Marcelo Der Ohannesian triumphing in the Clio Trophy by Toksport WRT, the all-new arrive-and-drive series for the MICHELIN-equipped Renault Clio Rally5. Dariusz Poloński/Łukasz Sitek won the Abarth Rally Cup, while the first ERC-MICHELIN Talent Factory incentives were handed out to registered young stars in Rally2 cars.








TOP 15 ERC POSITIONS (after 14 stages, 202.76 kilometres)


1 Alexey Lukyanuk (RUS)/Alexey Arnautov (RUS) Citroën C3 Rally2 1h48m31.3s
2 Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR)/Ola Fløene (NOR) Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo +18.4s
3 Miko Marczyk (POL)/Szymon Gospodarczyk (POL) Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo +1m54.7s
4 Nil Solans (ESP)/Marc Martí (ESP) Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo +3m06.2s
5 Norbert Herczig (HUN)/Ramón Ferencz (HUN) Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo +3m44.8s
6 Efrén Llarena (ESP)/Sara Fernándes (ESP) Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo +3m46.5s
7 Wojciech Chuchała (POL)/Sebastian Rozwadowski (POL) Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo +3m56.0s
8 Yoann Bonato (FRA)/Benjamin Boulloud (FRA) Citroën C3 Rally2 +4m11.7s
9 Erik Cais (CZE)/Jindřiška áková (CZE) Ford Fiesta Rally2 +4m16.6s
10 Grzegorz Grzyb (POL)/Mihał Poradzisz (POL) Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo +4m43.1s
11 Emilio Fernàndez (CHL)/Rubén García (ARG) Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo +4m50.1s
12 Adrian Chwietcuk (POL)/Jarek Baran (POL) Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo +4m50.2s
13 Umberto Scandola (ITA)/Guido D’Amore (ITA) Hyundai i20 R5 +5m11.6s
14 Callum Devine (IRL)/James Fulton (IRL) Ford Fiesta Rally2 +5m11.9s
15 Roland Poom (EST)/Darren Garrod (GBR) Citroën C3 Rally2 +5m13.2s


FIA ERC2: Javier Pardo (ESP)/Adrián Pérez (ESP) Suzuki Swift R4lly S Rally2 Kit
FIA ERC3: Sami Pajari (FIN)/Enni Mälkönen (FIN) Ford Fiesta Rally4
FIA ERC Junior: Jon Armstrong (GBR)/Phil Hall (GBR) Ford Fiesta Rally3
FIA ERC3 Junior: Sami Pajari (FIN)/Enni Mälkönen (FIN) Ford Fiesta Rally4

Abarth Rally Cup: Dariusz Poloński (POL)/Łukasz Sitek (POL) Abarth 124 rally
Clio Trophy by Toksport WRT: Paulo Soria (ARG)/Marcelo Der Ohannesian (ARG) Clio Rally5
ERC-MICHELIN Talent Factory (incentives package): Miko Marczyk (POL) Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo



Live timing and results:
https://www.fiaerc.com/live-timing/


RALLY LEADERS


SS1-6: Gryazin/Aleksandrov
SS7-14: Lukyanuk/Arnautov



KEY STATISTICS:

ERC rally wins in 2021: Lukyanuk 1
ERC stage wins in 2021: Gryazin 5; Breen and Lukyanuk 3; Mikkelsen 2; Chuchała 1







What’s next? ERC 2021, Round 2 of 8: Rally Liepāja, July 1-3



The brainchild of driver turned promoter Raimonds Strokšs and first run to great acclaim in 2013, Rally Liepāja was originally a winter event but switched to autumn in 2016 for more guaranteed weather. The new date effectively made for an all-new rally as crews adjusted to gravel roads free of snow and ice.


Although the time of year had changed, the high-speed stages in western Latvia continued to thrill drivers and spectators alike. Organisers of this forward-thinking event made more changes for 2019 with a late May date and an expanded route taking in popular stages around the Talsi region.





Richard Rodgers, photos FIA ERC


Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/erc-poland-rally-lukyanuk-big-100-erc-title-defence-style---225272.html

20.06.2021 / MaP

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