Russian driver Alexey Lukyanuk made a storming return to the 2015 FIA European Rally Championship by taking victory on the auto24 Rally Estonia, round six of the series. Driving a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X Lukyanuk took the victory by just 12.7 seconds from LOTOS Rally Team’s Kajetan Kajetanowicz.
The Russian driver had to dig deep after a time penalty on Saturday’s leg left him having to work harder to secure the win today.
“It was a very hard moment when I realised that I had that penalty,” said Lukyanuk. “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. I have a lot of confidence on these stages, and they suit my driving style well.”
Lukyanuk won two of the six remaining stages which was enough to hold off Kajetanowicz. The victory is his first in the series and marks his return after missing the previous two rounds due to budget issues.
Estonian driver Rainer Aus took third place and was the first local driver home in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX.
There was heartbreak for series leader Craig Breen as an oil pressure problem ended his rally on the final stage.
In the ERC Junior Rally Ralfs Sirmacis maintained his lead from Saturday to take victory by 31.8 seconds over Emil Bergkvist. Briton’s Chris Ingram retired on SS12.
The next round of the European Rally Championship takes crews to the Czech Republic commencing on August 28.