On his first full Tarmac rally, Alexey Lukyanuk didn’t expect to even score FIA European Rally Championship points on the Discover Northern Ireland Circuit of Ireland Rally. But not only did he score points, he finished sixth overall, moved up to third in the drivers’ standings and won 5,000 Euros in the ERC privateer prize fund.
We caught up with the Ford Fiesta R5 driver, to ask him about this surprise Irish result and his plans for the rest of the ERC season.
So, you didn’t have to be worried about scoring ERC points on the Circuit of Ireland after all?
“Yes, the result looks nice, doesn’t it? We were not expecting to be that fast after only being twelfth fastest on the Qualifying Stage. The start of the rally was not so easy for us, because it was wet, very slippery and there was a lot of mud, and we also broke a driveshaft on the second stage and lost one and a half minutes. In the end, the rally was long and tough. A lot of drivers made mistakes, others had technical problems and finally we finished in sixth place. It’s incredible.”
And you moved up in the ERC drivers’ standings. Was that a surprise?
“We scored championship points in Ireland, but what is better is that we moved to third position in the drivers’ standings, due to Robert Consani having problems. The championship is on the way and the main battle is, I believe, in front of us, because both Katjo [Kajetan Kajetanowicz] and Craig Breen showed their potential. They are extremely fast on Tarmac, but also fast on gravel. For me I can do good gravel rallies, but on Tarmac it is yet to come. We will see. I hope our success will help us find more support and to have more tests, because we are running only a few kilometres before each rally and of course it is then not so easy to get on the pace straight away as it should be at FIA European Rally Championship level. But we enjoyed the Circuit of Ireland a lot. Thanks to the organisers and to the public for their support. It is a very beautiful rally.”
What is your plan of attack for SATA Rallye Açores?
“The plan is to go to Açores. All the gravel rallies in the ERC calendar are priority, so we should be there. I have never been to Rallye Açores before. In fact, all the rallies, except Rally Liepāja and Rally Estonia, are new to us. We will try to do our best on all these new territories.”