The racing season in the 2021 FIA European Rally Championship ended last Saturday in the Canary Islands. Alexey Lukyanuk and Alexey Arnautov achieved an overall victory in the Rally Islas Canarias, having updated their personal record for the number of wins in the entire history of the competition – they received awards for the fourth time. The Russians were supported by Citroën Racing, Pirelli and Coolstream and performed in a Citroën C3 Rally2 car prepared by the French Saintéloc Junior Team.
Lukyanuk and Arnautov opened and closed the FIA ERC season with victories! From the first kilometers of the competitive distance the crew demonstrated the superiority, winning eight out of nine special stages of the first rally day, leaving the nearest pursuer for half a minute even with a 10-second penalty. On the second day the two-time European Champion did not slow down and won all the remaining special stages of the rally. However, a brilliant performance could not guarantee the podium for Lukyanuk at the end of the season. The Russian has two victories, as well as the second and the third places during the series. But due to the lack of points as a result of failures in Italy and the Azores Lucas qualified only in the fourth position in the individual standings among the drivers, gaining 135 points.
Alexey Lukyanuk, driver, “We dominated this rally from start to finish. I’m super happy and excited about our performance. It was so consistent, so in control. We enjoyed all the stages together with Alexey, he was reading amazingly. Thanks to all our sponsors, to our team for a perfect car, for support and all the things they do for us. Thanks to Eurosport – our fans can feel all these emotions and see them on the TV”.
A real positional struggle was played out between the Pole Miko Marczyk and the Spaniard Efren Llarena – both drivers claimed for the title of 2021 vice-champion. The Spaniard beat the Pole at the finish line with a difference of 0.07 seconds that was equal to two points! Moreover, the outcome of this battle decided who would become the European Champion among co-drivers. Thanks to the fact that rising European Champion Andreas Mikkelsen changed the co-drivers during the season, Llarena’s second position brought his permanent co-driver Sara Fernández to the first one – she is the European Champion! Another good news for the fans of the Russian crew is that Alexey Arnautov became the third in the standings among the co-drivers.
Alexey Arnautov, co-driver, “Of course, the third place at the end of the season was unexpected for me. At the beginning of the year, I promised Alexey to drive five races together and, frankly speaking, chose the ones that I like more. Two victories and two finishes on the podium are not bad, but I didn’t expect that the points gained would be enough for anything… I was lucky that Mikkelsen changed co-drivers too often, dividing the points between them, so the driver’s first place does not mean at all that his co-driver will also get the first place. There was a shift upward and Llarena’s co-driver – Sara Fernández became the European champion in our standings, Szymon Gospodarczyk was the second, and I automatically became the third. In general, I’m satisfied, a good season for me (laughing), I didn’t expect it, but it turned out that way!”
The crew of Alexey Lukyanuk and Alexey Arnautov would like to thank their partners, without whom these outstanding performances simply would not have taken place, and their constant fans from all over the world for their incredible emotional support, which is also very important!