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Why step down in ERC category won’t mean step down in pace for Lukyanuk

September 15, 2016

FIA European Rally Championship frontrunner Alexey Lukyanuk, Kajetan Kajetanowicz’s closest challenger for this year’s overall title, is stepping down to his own Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X for Rally Liepāja this weekend – but that doesn’t mean he’ll be going any slower.

Alexey Lukyanuk, ©FIAERC.COM

In fact, Lukyanuk won the fastest-ever rally in the history of the ERC last year when he triumphed on auto24 Rally Estonia driving the same ERC2-specification car.

The Russian has decided not to rent his usual Ford Fiesta R5 for the ERC’s trip to Latvia in order to save money for next year’s season. However, he says that it’s still vital for him to do all the events, in order to build up the experience he needs to stay match fit.

“For us, it’s important to be in Latvia, and with this car we can still get a good result,” said Lukyanuk. “We tried hard this year and sometimes it didn’t work out. But you don’t get any trophies for sitting at home…”

With the Russian still firmly in contention for a result in the top two on this year’s championship – although the title is a long shot – his pace in the spectacular Mitsubishi is sure to be a highlight of the weekend.

However, he’ll face plenty of competition for ERC2 success with the top three in the standings – Wojciech Chuchała, Giacomo Scattolon and Tibor Érdi – all present.

Subaru Poland Rally Team driver Chuchała faces a tough task to continue his 100 per cent record, but can clinch the title if he maintains his advantage over Ypres and Zlín class winner Scattolon.

There’s also a strong local contingent including 2014 winner Jānis Vorobjovs and Māris Neikšāns, who contests the rally in the driver’s seat for the first time having co-driven in the past, while Estonia’s Siim Plangi is always fast, finishing second overall on the event last year.