POST-EVENT PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT: 2015 FIA European Rally Championship round six of 10

Attendees:

Alexey Lukyanuk (BLR)/Alexey Arnautov (BLR) First place

Kajetan Kajetanowicz (POL)/Jarek Baran (POL) Second place

Rainer Aus (EST)/Simo Koskinen (EST) Third place

Ralfs Sirmacis (LVA)/Artūrs Šimins (LVA) ERC Junior winners

Question to Alexey Lukyanuk

In such a close battle, how were you able to increase your 2.4 second lead to 12 seconds on this morning’s loop?

“I was as fast as before, but I think maybe Kajto was a little slower because it was a bit more slippery or tricky roads, I don’t know. We did not expect to have such a big lead after those stages in the morning.”

Question to Alexey Lukyanuk

You lost the lead on leg one with a 10 second penalty. Did you think your hopes of winning there over?

“It was a very hard moment when I realised that I had that penalty. Ten seconds is a lot on this rally, and after the penalty I thought that winning was almost impossible. But things changed and we found some extra speed somewhere and we did a good job.”

Question to Alexey Lukyanuk

It must have been a tense final stage. What happened on the final corner?

“I was excited that the end of the rally was coming, and waving to the crowds! Even though I was on two wheels, I was under control – but for sure it wasn’t planned. I waved to the crowds as soon as we were back on all four wheels. It wasn’t a problem!”

Question to Alexey Arnautov

What a way to return to the co-driving seat with Alexey! What for you were the key factors in winning?

“It was just to be strict all the time! Inside the car it was very calm. It all looks very safe, until I see the videos of us from outside the car!”

Question to Kajetan Kajetanowicz

For the first time at auto24 Rally Estonia, how were you able to beat the local drivers and fight for victory so closely?

“We just did our job and I still can’t believe the result. Everyone knows that the Estonian drivers are very fast and that is why we are very happy. For me Alexey is like an Estonian driver, because he has rallied here many times, and of course everyone knows that he is a crazy guy! It was a very good rally for us and we just did a perfect job.”

Question to Kajetan Kajetanowicz

How close were you to driving on the limit on these stages?

“Sometimes, on this rally, there are many corners with maximum speed. When you are driving for the first time on these stages, you really can’t believe it. There is so much grip in the corners, that you are flat out, sometimes for five or six corners at a time. Even flat-out with an R5 car, you know you could take some of the corners even faster.”

Question to Kajetan Kajetanowicz

This result gives you the lead in the ERC. How confident are you of continuing this form and winning the title?

“First of all I am sorry for Craig [Breen], because he had a technical problem. It wasn’t his rally, but he is fast. On gravel, Tarmac and snow, if you want to win the FIA European Rally Championship, you have to be fast on every surface. For sure it is good for the spectators, because we are close on points, and we want to fight. We have big motivation to fight and we will see what we do on the next rallies. For sure we will do our best, like always.”

Question to Jarek Baran

What was it like to do a recce at 80kh/h and read pace notes at 180kh/h?

“It’s definitely difficult. All the co-drivers have the same hard job to do. The average speed is very high, and without the chicanes it could be higher. On some sections we are on the speed limit, sometimes in the corners, and sometimes for several kilometres. I keep my head in the notes and just feel the car move to the pace notes, and I must say it is very exciting.”

Question to Rainer Aus

How proud are you to score an ERC podium finish and to be the top Estonian finisher on your home event?

“It feels fantastic. Last year I was fourth and this year I didn’t expect to be so fast and in such a good position. When people asked me before the start what my expectations for the rally was, I said a podium, but nobody asked me if that was overall or ERC2 – but now I get both, so I am very happy!”

Question to Rainer Aus

They say these fast stages are well suited to ERC2 cars, but how brave did you have to be to achieve those stage times?

“I don’t watch the speed all the time, we just drive as fast as possible. We were clocked at 190km/h on a speed gun, so I guess that is our top speed. It’s fast enough for these cars on gravel! I know these roads around Otepää very well, because I have been here many times, so I am very pleased.”

Question to Rainer Aus

Does this great ERC result tempt you to do more rounds of the series?

“Alexey [Lukyanuk] has been to Rally Estonia three times, and I think he has finished third, second and now first. I have finished here fourth and now third, so must come back twice more to win!”

Question to Simo Koskinen

The first Estonian co-driver home – that must make you very proud also. How does this result compare to your other rally achievements?

“I think this is the top one. I have been co-driving for 12 years and this is my best moment. Rainer called me back three years ago, and he has driven very well.”

Question to Ralfs Sirmacis

You drove magnificently well – how do you feel to have won the ERC Junior category for the first time?

“I am very happy to get first place. This is my third time here in Otepää and I was able to drive very fast from the very first stage onwards.”

Question to Ralfs Sirmacis

You had to drive with an engine problem. How bad was it and how much time do you think it cost you?

“I was very nervous in the last stage, and driving looking for stones to make sure I didn’t hit anything. The last stage I was very very careful. The engine problem was a bit of a concern, but in the end it didn’t make any difference to the result.”

Question to Ralfs Sirmacis

Your friend and team-mate Vasily Gryazin is in hospital, following a serious road accident last weekend. How much does this result lift the spirits in the Sport Racing Technologies team?

“The team is very happy about this result. We all want Vasily to get better soon and come back to rallying as soon as possible.”

Question to Artūrs Šimins

It must have been a very difficult build-up to this event. Did Vasily’s accident give you extra motivation to win ERC Juniors for the team?

“It definitely gave us extra motivation. The one thing we wanted to do here was to win and we did it. When we came here we knew we would either win or crash. It’s the first time for us winning ERC Junior and it’s amazing. It’s the biggest thing we have done. We did it for us, for the team and for Vasily. Vasily’s father called us to give their congratulations from the