FIA European Rally Championship 2017: Round 2 of 8
Rally Islas Canarias, 4-6 May
Alexey Lukyanuk/Alexey Artaunov (Russian Performance Motorsport), first overall
Kajetan Kajetanowicz/Jarek Baran (LOTOS Rally Team), second overall
Bruno Magalhães/Hugo Magalhães, third overall
Congratulations on an amazing victory. Was this the best drive of your career?
In terms of stages we won in a rally then yes, it was a really good performance. I don’t know if it was the best, maybe Estonia where we were also doing a good performance. But I am not a Tarmac specialist so for me this kind of achievement is really important and shows we have a good performance and learning a lot so I am really proud.
You said your nightmare was over and this win was like a dream. What does this result say about your championship chances?
It’s only the beginning of the year. We lost valuable points on the first event but now things are going better for us. Wins are very important but it’s a long, long season ahead. We have six rallies left and it’s going to be quite interesting but I hope we have good chances.
We saw the times but how good was Alexey's performance?
You can see the times so it means the performance was really good. We were really fast. I won’t say it was risky at all. But we were doing a nice job and not risking too much and somehow the times were good.
Like Alexey you've hit back with some good points after your problems in the Azores. Are you happy or a bit frustrated right now?
Yes and no. We should be happy after a really hard rally where we showed a good pace. But my ambitions are higher than than that. Maybe second place is really good but I always want to win. On the other side I am happy to be here because it’s a very hard rally and very easy to make a mistake. I was driving sometimes beyond the limit and that’s why it’s big congratulations to them. They deserve this success because they were very fast on many stages.
It was a good fight with Bruno and Hugo on the final morning. Did it get close or were you in control?
Fighting with those guys is always exciting. The gap was not so close but maybe we made small mistakes to be in third place. It’s always good to push with the guys, either the ones in orange and white [Lukyanuk and Arnautov] or white [Magalhães and Magalhães], especially on the last two stages. We’ve proved as drivers and co-drivers we can do everything the best. It was so exciting this afternoon.
You've achieved your objective by keeping your championship lead. How pleased are you?
I’m very happy. After the win in Azores to get a podium here is perfect for us and more than we expected. I’m happy I had the pace to fight with a two-time European champion like Kajto. It’s a big honour for me, really like a dream. We proved we can be fast in our country and outside our country we make good rallies as well. When I arrived in Canary Islands I had not one kilometre in the car on Tarmac. But the job we have done makes me so proud. The team was perfect, the set-up, everything. It was the perfect job.
You’re leading the championship but what are chances of more ERC events?
First of all, everybody is talking about the pace and the fight but I would like to say a huge thanks to our team because since our car arrived in the Canaries they worked a lot on Sunday night preparing our car to be ready for the Monday test. They did a really good job preparing our car all weekend and we were committed together and got a good result. After that I hope we can get the sponsors to continue to go forward in this championship. We are leading and with more points after the Canaries than we did after the Azores. We are waiting for a miracle, for more sponsors to come forward and support us. Let’s see what happens.
Finally, you’ve now won back-to-back Rally Islas Canarias so what’s your secret?
It’s a secret! To bhe honest we were prepaing to have really hard time here because last time definitely slower than kajto here completyl wrong wirh set0up and drivin style now I fixed it and it worked well for us many things came in place together it’s like this. .