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Nightmare over as Lukyanuk takes dream ERC victory

ERC_Rally_Islas_Canarias_day_two_Alexey_LukyanukJPGAlexey Lukyanuk delivered a Tarmac-driving masterclass to win Rally Islas Canarias for the second year running and get his FIA European Rally Championship title bid firmly back on track in the process. Driving a Russian Performance Motorsport-entered Ford Fiesta R5, Lukyanuk won 10 stages and reached the finish in Las Palmas with an advantage of 57.2s over reigning ERC champion Kajetan Kajetanowicz following a dominant display alongside co-driver Alexey Arnautov. By finishing third, Bruno Magalhães extends his lead in the ERC title standings.

Lukyanuk started Saturday’s closing six stages leading by 25.7s. Apart from a 10-second penalty for a jumped start and a minor CV joint bolt issue, little fazed the Russian, who demonstrated considerable pace throughout the 12-stage event. And by taking the win, Lukyanuk revenged his heart-breaking exit from last month’s Azores Airlines Rallye when he was leading comfortably before crashing out.

“It’s great, we made huge progress in one year and were dominant here,” said Lukyanuk. “I’m really proud for the performance and thanks to the sponsors and Pirelli for great tyres and our team for a great car. It means really much for us. Four weeks ago I was devastated but now I am in heaven. I did a lot of mental work at home. I only did a 50-kilometre test before the event but I was already prepared and I knew what to do with the car and set-up and how to handle it. We weren’t taking any risks but it would have been a crime not to push when you have a car as good as this. I’m really happy it worked for us.”

AUTO - ERC ISLAS CANARIAS 2017Magalhães was 2.2s in front of Kajetanowicz heading into day two. But the damp conditions early in SS7, coupled with this lack of recent knowledge of the Gran Canaria roads and his ŠKODA on asphalt, allowed Kajetanowicz to take second. After dropping 9.1s behind Kajetanowicz on SS9, Magalhães hit back in the afternoon to cut the gap to 4.1s. But Kajetanowicz responded and took the runner-up spot by 6.4s.

Iván Ares scored the best finish in the ERC so far for the Hyundai i20 R5 in fourth with Luis Monzón passing Pepe López for fifth on the final stage. Despite dropping a place on the last run, López took his maiden ERC Junior Under 28 Championship win for the Peugeot Rally Academy after an impressive drive on his home event. French champion Sylvain Michel beat Spanish title winner Cristian García for seventh on the last stage, taking the ERC Junior Under 28 runner-up spoils in the process. It could have been closr but for a 10-second penalty for a jumped start.

Persistent brake issues on day one restricted Bryan Bouffier to ninth overall on his return to ERC action as ERC Junior Under 28 contender Marijan Griebel completed the top 10. Grzegorz Grzyb was locked in battle with Bouffier for ninth but crashed on stage nine before stopping for good on the next run. Albert von Thurn und Taxis scored his first ERC finish in P14 with Murat Bostanci surviving a final-stage spin – and damaged radiator – to take P15 for Castrol Ford Team Turkey. Jarosław Kołtun headed home Antonín Tlusťák in P18. Dávid Botka failed to make it out of overnight parc fermé in Las Palmas when on course to finish in the top 20 due to a broken clutch. Jan Černý, from the ACCR Czech Team, and Tomasz Kasperczyk were unable to restart on day two following their spectacular crashes on Friday. Łukasz Habaj was a non-starter after crashing in Free Practice on Thursday morning.

ERC2: EMOTIONAL ÉRDI MAKES PERFECT START Tibor Érdi Jr was reduced to tears after making the perfect start to his ERC2 campaign with victory in Gran Canaria. With a new Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X at his disposal, the Hungarian led from start to finish as Russian Sergey Remennik impressed on his first Tarmac rally in second place. Portugal’s Luís Pimentel overcame transmission maladies to extend his championship lead in fourth, one position behind Lebanon’s Gilbert Bannout, who drove for much of the event in first, second and third gear only because of a failure.

ERC JUNIOR U28: LÓPEZ TAKES HOME TRIUMPH Pepe López maintained his overnight advantage to win the ERC Junior Under 28 category for the first time for the Peugeot Rally Academy. The Spaniard beat French class rookie Sylvain Michel by 9.9s as opening round winner Marijan Griebel completed the podium, 12.4s in front of Nikolay Gryazin, who hit back from a testing crash and an off on the Las Palmas spectator stage. Newcomer Surhayen Pernía finished fifth in his Hyundai Spain-backed i20 R5, which developed a power issue on day two. With the electrical problems that ruined his challenge on Friday cured, José Suárez was back on top form in the second Peugeot Rally Academy 208 T16 with two Saturday stage wins and top spot in the Leg 2 classification, which earned him the Colin McRae ERC Flat Out Trophy for never giving up. Tomasz Kasperczyk crashed out on SS1 following brake issues with Jan Černý leaving the road on SS4 and rolling into retirement. Neither driver was injured but they were both non-starters on day two.

ERC JUNIOR U27: INGRAM ON A HIGH Chris Ingram made it back-to-back wins in ERC Junior Under 27 with a controlled drive to beat Opel team-mate Jari Huttunen by 20.5s. Karel Kupec made amends for his Azores roll to finish third courtesy of three stage wins. Canary Islander Marcos González, who like Kupec crashed out in the Azores, was fourth with stand-in co-driver Raquel Ruiz. Buǧra Banaz gained more vital experience in fifth with Tamara Molinaro, Dominik Brož and Catie Munnings next up. Sébastien Bedoret was unable to restart following his crash on stage five but Aleks Zawada returned after his exit on the stage five with front-right wheel stud failure. And the London-born Pole impressed by winning four stages and claiming the Leg 2 spoils. Unfortunately for Filip Mareš, part of the ACCR Czech Team, suspected engine failure nearing the finish led to his exit. Despite not being eligible for ERC Junior points, Roberto Blach, Timo van der Marel and Dariusz Pólonski were able to celebrate after they finished third, fourth and sixth in ERC3, while Emma Falcón won the ERC Ladies’ Trophy in her R3-specification Citroën.

PROVISIONAL TOP 10 POSITIONS (after 12 stages, 207.29 kilometres) 1 Alexey Lukyanuk (RUS)/Alexey Arnautov (RUS) Ford Fiesta R5 2h05m51.8s 2 Kajetan Kajetanowicz (POL)/Jarek Baran (POL) Ford Fiesta R5 +57.2s 3 Bruno Magalhães (PRT)/Hugo Magalhães (PRT) ŠKODA Fabia R5 +1m03.6s 4 Iván Ares (ESP)/José Pintor (ESP) Hyundai i20 R5 +1m15.4s 5 Luis Monzón (ESP)/José Carlos Deniz (ESP) Ford Fiesta R5 +1m28.7s 6 José María López (ESP)/Borja Rozada (ESP) Peugeot 208 T16 +1m33.8s 7 Cristian García (ESP)/Eduardo Gonzalez (ESP) Ford Fiesta R5 +1m41.4s 8 Sylvain Michel (FRA)/Jérôme Degout (FRA) ŠKODA Fabia R5 +1m43.7s 9 Bryan Bouffier (FRA)/Denis Giraudet (FRA) Ford Fiesta R5 +2m23.2s 10 Marijan Griebel (DEU)/Stefan Kopczyk (DEU) ŠKODA Fabia R5 +1m34.4s +2m37.1s

FIA ERC2: Tibor Érdi Jr (HUN)/György Papp (HUN) Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X FIA ERC3: Chris Ingram (GBR)/Elliot Edmondson (GBR) Opel ADAM R2 FIA ERC Junior Under 28: José María López (ESP)/Borja Rozada (ESP) Peugeot 208 T16 FIA ERC Junior Under 27: Chris Ingram (GBR)/Elliot Edmondson (GBR) Opel ADAM R2 ERC Ladies’ Trophy: Emma Falcón (Citroën DS3 R3T) Colin McRae ERC Flat Out Trophy: José Suárez (ESP) RALLY LEADERS SS1-SS12: Alexey Lukyanuk

KEY STATISTICS ERC wins in 2017: Lukyanuk and Magalhães 1 ERC stage wins in 2017: Lukyanuk 10; Kajetanowicz 6; Magalhães 3; Griebel 1; Gryazin 1; Moura 1

Press release ERC


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