Huge crowds watch Lukyanuk take early auto24 Rally Estonia lead
Thousands of spectators created a party atmosphere as round six of the 2015 FIA European Rally Championship, auto24 Rally Estonia, got underway this evening. And there is a surprise early leader, as Alexey Lukyanuk set the fastest time around the opening Tartu City Stage in his ERC2 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X. The Russian rally champion set a 1m06.9s on the short 1.33 kilometre test, 0.3s quicker than Kajetan Kajetanowicz (LOTOS Rally Team Ford Fiesta R5). Some sections of the City Stage ran on slippery cobbles, which ERC leader Craig Breen described as like driving on ice, after he survived a heart-stopping moment when his Peugeot Rally Academy 208 T16 slid straight on at a junction. Rally Estonia is better known for its ultra-fast gravel stages – the first of which starts tomorrow at 10h47 local time.
Consani to open auto24 Rally Estonia roads
Robert Consani will start the opening leg of auto24 Rally Estonia first on the road, following the road selection process in Tartu this evening. But as it was always going to be a difficult event for the Citroën DS3 R5 driver, the Frenchman is not that bothered about it. “These roads are too fast for a Mediterranean driver like me, so it’s not a big problem where I run on the road,” said Consani. “My strategy is to wait and see what happens.” Kajetan Kajetanowicz, who had been fastest over the Qualifying Stage, was first to make his running position choice. When asked why he selected to run 15th on the road tomorrow, his reply was simple: “I don’t like to get up early!” Follow Rally Estonia on ERC Radio, which is available free on fiaerc.com and via the ERC app.
ERC community sends its best wishes to Vasily Gryazin
The FIA European Rally Championship community has come together as one to wish ERC Junior driver Vasily Gryazin their very best wishes for a full and swift recovery. The 21-year old Russian driver was travelling from Riga in Latvia to the Võrumaa Rallysprint on Saturday, where he was planning to test his Sports Racing Technologies Peugeot 208 R2 ahead of this weekend’s auto24 Rally Estonia, when his car was involved in a head-on collision. The other car was on the wrong side of the road, overtaking a lorry. Gryazin suffered many injuries, including two badly broken legs, and faces a long period of recovery. His co-driver, Dmitry Lebedik, suffered severe bruising. Many of the ERC runners in Estonia are carrying ‘Get well soon Vasily’ stickers on their cars, a group ERC photograph was taken at the start in Tartu and a #VasyaGetWell campaign is on social media. “We just want to send our best wishes to Vasily,” said ERC leader Craig Breen. “We hope to see him back in the ERC as soon as possible.”
Pärn out of ERC encounter
Sander Pärn is out of the auto24 Rally Estonia, following his accident on the Qualifying Stage. The young local Estonian driver and his Welsh co-driver James Morgan escaped unharmed after their MM-Motorsport Ford Fiesta R5 left the road and hit a tree at 100 km/h. The roll cage underneath the bonnet has been damaged, meaning that it is impossible for them to continue. “The car turned left at a fast right hand corner by itself,” said Pärn. “There was nothing we could do.”
ERC supports FIA Action for Road Safety in Estonia
The FIA European Rally Championship registered crews taking part in auto24 Rally Estonia endorsed the FIA Action for Road Safety campaign today, by taking part in a photoshoot on the start ramp in Tartu. The FIA's Action for Road Safety is a global campaign, focusing the federation's resources on helping its member organisations around the globe to educate and advocate for safer roads, vehicles and behaviours. It aims to lower the alarming figures associated with global road accidents and to spread the safer motoring message. Central to the campaign are the 10 Golden Rules for Safer Motoring. A set of simple tips intended to help motorists improve their driving behaviour. These rules hope to assist motorists in reaching a golden standard of motoring and to remind them of their responsibilities to themselves, their passengers and all other road users.
OMAE confirms Acropolis Rally
The Greek Motorsport Federation (OMAE) has confirmed that it will run the Acropolis Rally on its original date (9-11 October), despite the very difficult political and economic situation in Greece. This announcement is the result of tireless work over recent months with the final target to make the Acropolis Rally survive and stay at an international level. The 2015 event will run in a condensed format, allowing OMAE to prepare the 2016 edition. The event also officially returns to its much loved and traditional title of the Acropolis Rally, replacing the name Rally of Greece. “We have monitored the situation very carefully with OMAE and are delighted they confirmed the Acropolis Rally will happen, as it was originally planned since last WMSC of 2014,” said ERC Co-ordinator, Jean-Baptiste Ley. The Acropolis Rally 2014 reached a very high level of television viewing as a sporting event of global interest, including: 93 different TV channels broadcast the event, transmitted in 160 countries around the world; 104 hours of broadcast and 32.5 million viewers. Every year, the Acropolis Rally attracts thousands of spectators from Greece and abroad, bringing income into the economy during an otherwise quiet, and generally neglected, tourist period.