The final round of the shortened 2020 FIA European Rally Championship finished in the Canary Islands last weekend. Following the results of the island event, Alexey Lukyanuk became a two-time European Champion in three years, and his co-driver Dmitry Eremeev got his first title in his career.
The Rally Islas Canarias took place in a two-day format, with all the usual procedures for the participants: qualifying section, selection of starting positions for the first racing day, but the presence of spectators was prohibited due to antiviral restrictions.
Because of the event postponement to the end of November, the climate of the insular part of Spain “pleased” the participants with a variety of precipitation like various rains, thick fogs and river floods that gave rise to a real “tyre lottery”. Some of the crews were lucky enough, and the weather conditions were quite suitable for the tyre choice that the teams made based on meteorological data; while others, on the contrary, rolled back beyond the top ten.
However, all the attention of experienced fans was focused on the middle of the top ten, where Alexey Lukyanuk and Oliver Solberg continued to fight for the European title. The young Swede was the only participant who was able to struggle until the very last kilometers of the current championship. To get the required number of points to become a champion, Solberg only needed to win the final rally, but he finished the fourth. And the Petersburger, who was assisted in the Canary Islands by Alexey Arnautov – his old friend and familiar co-driver, finished the seventh – it was enough to reappoint the second champion title.
According to the results of the five rounds that took place in 2020, Alexey Lukyanuk (121) was 9 points ahead of Oliver Solberg (112). And Dmitry Eremeev (114), even watching the race from a distance, was able to get ahead of Aaron Johnston (112), who read the notes to Solberg, by 4 points in the co-drivers’ standings. Thus, the French Saintéloc Junior Team, for which the crew of Lukyanuk and Eremeev performed, won the silver in the teams’ classification*.
Alexey Lukyanuk, driver, “Youngsters are coming, you see how young drivers are growing now and change, like two or three years ago the competition was not so intense on every level, but now we see so many bright new stars rising and they work differently. They have different approach, they work mentally, physically, they have a lot of test work, they are developing their cars, driving style and so on and, of course, it’s very hard to fight with them. But still I’m happy that I can deliver a good result and with our five days of tests this year we won the title.
I try to extract maximum from the resources that we have, so the focus moved to my physical and mental training. That’s all we could, it’s not so expensive apart from driving. So, it also improved me a lot. All experience we pick affects us. I try to be better everywhere, I try to be more effective, more consistent, I think, many people see the changes. Sometimes it’s hard, it feels like a very hard work, but it’s behind us, and the result in the end feels quite good to me. I’m happy that we won!”
* – The results will become official after the FIA (International Automobile Federation) approval