One man show

(29.06.2019) Despite a puncture, a broken damper, a replacement brake pipe and a troublesome clutch, reigning champion Alexey Lukyanuk leads the FIA European Rally Championship field after day one of PZM 76th Rally Poland, 40s ahead of Jari Huttunen. Top-placed Pole Mikolaj Marczyk holds fourth position.

Lukyanuk set an unbeatable pace for most of the day but he was occasionally held back by minor issues during the day. A leaking damper luckily only cost him a few seconds on the morning loop-ending Mikołajki Arena superspecial, and he still won the second pass of Paprotki despite a front-right puncture.

That puncture also necessitated fitting a new brake pipe, a precaution against further damage, while also managing a clutch issue for the rest of the afternoon loop.

- It was a lot of drama today. The change of the balance of the car, the mistake in the fifth stage, in the end a broken brake line, clutch, damper, a lot of issues but somehow we survived and got through – summarised Lukyanuk.

Behind him, ERC3 Junior Championship graduate Huttunen, racing a Hyunai Motorsport N i20 R5 for the second time in as many years on PZM 76th Rally Poland, held second place overall, focusing on securing a podium rather than risking it all to challenge Lukyanuk.

Huttunen has 12.8s in hand over ERC1 Junior leader Filip Mareš, who used the road position he earned by winning the Qualifying Stage to good effect by scoring seven top three stage times. ACCR Czech Rally Team’s young talent completes the overall podium in addition to his ERC1 Junior lead.

Polish duo Miko Marczyk (ŠKODA Polska Motorsport) and Łukasz Habaj (Sports Racing Technologies) are locked in a battle over fourth position, with Marczyk ahead of current ERC championship leader Habaj by a slim two seconds.

Their two-way battle was originally a three-way fight involving Team STARD’s Hiroki Arai, with Marczyk and Arai also duelling over second in ERC1 Junior. But a right-rear puncture on Paprotki 2 cost him over 10s, dropping him to sixth overall and 18s behind Marczyk.

Arai fell behind then repassed seventh-placed Aron Domżała (TGS Worldwide) after his puncture, though also benefited from trouble striking Chris Ingram (Toksport WRT). A power steering fault developed on the ERC1 Junior points leader’s car during Stare Juchy 2. Ingram lost only 10s initially but the problem got worse on Olecko 2, having already started eight minutes late due to time taken for repairs between SS7 and SS8. He then lost nearly another two minutes after the power steering failed again, wrestling his car to the finish line with Lukyanuk right behind him. That drama dropped Ingram to P15, nearly three minutes away from the top 10, though worse fates befell others on the same Olecko test. Marcin Słobodzian rolled his Rallytechnology Ford Fiesta R5 and retired, while Paulo Nobre took a trip into a ditch, damaging his Fabia R5 to the point local police wouldn’t allow it to take to the road section afterwards, forcing Nobre to retire.

Mattias Adielsson moved up to eighth overall and fourth in ERC1 Junior after Ingram’s initial troubles, despite a missed pacenote that sent him into one of the many corn fields surrounding the stages. Ingram’s strife also promoted two of the Baumschlager Rallye & Racing-run cars into the top 10: Marijan Griebel in a Fabia was recovering from a slow start in the morning and is now up to ninth, while the MOL Racing Team Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 of Norbert Herczig now completes the top 10.

Herczig though will need to keep one eye on the driver behind him, Tomasz Kasperczyk (Tiger Energy Drink Rally Team), who is only 10.7s behind. He fell behind both Griebel and Herczig on Stare Juchy 2 for an unusual reason: a mosquito entered the cockpit and distracted him, at one point landing on his glasses, costing him a precious few seconds to the BRR-run pair.

PZM 76th Rally Poland after SS 9:

1. Lukyanuk/Arnautov (RUS/RUS, Citroen C3 R5) +57:53,8 s
2. Huttunen/Lukka (FIN/FIN, Hyundai i20 R5) +40,0 s
3. Mares/Hlousek (CZE/CZE, Skoda Fabia R5) 52,8 s
4. Marczyk/Gospodarczyk (POL/POL, Skoda Fabia R5) +1:18,0 s
5. Habaj/Dymurski (POL/POL, Skoda Fabia R5) +1:12,0 s
6. Arai/Minor (JPN/AUT, Citroen C3 R5) +1:38,0 s
7. Domzala/Baran (POL/POL, Skoda Fabia R5) 1:40,7 s
8. Adielsson/Johansson (SWE/SWE, Citroen C3 R5) +1:51,3 s
9. Griebel/Winkelhofer (DEU/AUT, Skoda Fabia R5) +2:06,3 s
10. Herczig/Ferencz (HUN/HUN, Volkswagen Polo GTi R5) +2:17,7 s

PZM 76th Rally Poland – stage winners:

OS 1 – Mikolajki Arena (2,5 km): Huttunen/Lukka (FIN/FIN, Hyundai i20 R5)
OS 2 – Paprotki (11,26 km): Łukjaniuk/Arnautow (RUS/RUS, Citroen C3 R5)
OS 3 – Stare Juchy (13,86 km): Łukjaniuk/Arnautow (RUS/RUS, Citroen C3 R5)
OS 4 – Olecko (28,62 km): Łukjaniuk/Arnautow (RUS/RUS, Citroen C3 R5)
OS 5 – Mikolajki Arena (2,5 km): Marczyk/Gospodarczyk (POL/POL, Skoda Fabia R5)
OS 6 – Paprotki (11,26 km): Łukjaniuk/Arnautow (RUS/RUS, Citroen C3 R5)
OS 7 – Stare Juchy (13,86 km): Łukjaniuk/Arnautow (RUS/RUS, Citroen C3 R5)
OS 8 – Olecko (28,62 km): Łukjaniuk/Arnautow (RUS/RUS, Citroen C3 R5)
OS 9 – Mikolajki Arena (2,5 km): Łukjaniuk/Arnautow (RUS/RUS, Citroen C3 R5)

FIA ERC standings after leg one of PZM 76th Rally Poland:

1. Habaj/Dymurski (POL/POL) 74 pkt
2. Ingram/Whittock (GBR/GBR) 70 pkt
3. Łukjaniuk/Arnautow (RUS/RUS) 51 pkt
4. Solberg/Johnston (NOR/GBR) 39 pkt
5. Lopez/Rozada (ESP/ESP) 35 pkt
6. Moura/Costa (POR/POR) 28 pkt
7. Griebel/Kopczyk (GER/GER) 26 pkt
8. Sesks/Caune (EST/EST) 25 pkt
9. Magalhaes/Magalhaes (POR/POR) 18 pkt
10. Teodosio/Teixeira (POR/POR) 17 pkt








PZM 76th Rally Poland - Newsfeed LEG 2

PZM 76th Rally Poland - Leg 2

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