Lukyanuk is leading after the first racing day in Poland. Despite problems with the suspension at the first Saturday section he won three of the four special stages and all of them in the afternoon. At the end of the day the gap from his closest rival Finn Jari Huttunen was as much as 40 seconds.
One of the day special stages, SS Olecko, became a serious test for many drivers – Paulo Nobre did not keep his vehicle on the track and came with serious body damage; the crews of Rokland Steve and Slobodzian Marcin rolled over, and several more crews damaged the suspension and wheels. According to Lukyanuk, this is a very long special stage with a huge number of straight lines, without any retarders – “two kilometers straight, crossroads, and a couple more kilometers straight”.
Rally Poland first racing day track is very exciting, fast, complicated and interesting; the Russians set a kind of average speed record, beating the last year result – 131.91 km/h at the sixth special stage – Paprotki. Last year record of Nikolay Gryazin at SS7 Swiętajno was 120 km/h.
Alexey Lukyanuk, “We won the first special stage and “brought” six seconds to the next crew, and there was a great feeling that everything was all right – the perfect notes, the moving car, the excellent settings, and the cool track provoking the attack. We drove the first section not bad. Although at the fifth special stage we slid off to the edge of the road at the full speed, so that I even looked out for where it was possible to tumble around, but the car was kept. The shock absorber was damaged, the lower adjustment is very sensitive and it was poured with gravel and oil flowed out. The damage was miserable, but at the short spectator special stage, where there were two jumps, we passed them very carefully. After the service the second section was not so perfect – the surface changed and the car didn’t turn so well. As a result at the special stage finish I went too straight into one turn, then I didn’t enter correctly the next right corner after him, and I missed the third one and had to go to the field so as not to roll over. We punched the tyre and damaged the disc; the brake tube was cut. Fortunately, the time standard after the special stage was long enough and we were able to fix everything – the tube and the wheel were replaced, but I became concerned. The car behaved more predictable. It turned out the internal shock absorber settings were different and it was they who upset the balance of the car. But I got used to it and even the subsequent mistakes in the form of a clutch and a tube that flowed out didn’t affect the results”.
Tomorrow the crews will have to drive through three rather long special stages that are repeated twice a day. The longest of them is SS URZANKI, 22.54 kilometers long, can be viewed live on the official FIAERC account on Facebook.
Sunday special stages are the innovation of this year, last season they were not involved in the race. But their characteristics is rather neat – quick and narrow along the fields and forest roads.
Positions after SS9:
1. Lukyanuk/Arnautov (RUS, Citroen C3 R5) 57.53,8
2. Huttunen/Lukka (FIN, Hyundai i20 R5) +40,0
3. Mares/Hlousek (CZ, Skoda Fabia R5) +52,8
4. Marczyk/Gospodarczyk (PL, Skoda Fabia R5) +1.18,0
5. Habaj/Dymurski (PL, Skoda Fabia R5) +1.20,0
6. Arai/Minor-Petrasko (J/A, Citroen C3 R5) +1.38,0
7. Domzala/Baran J. (PL, Skoda Fabia R5) +1.40,7
8. Adielsson M. / Johansson A. (S, Citroen C3 R5) +1.51,3
9. Griebel/Winklhofer (D, Skoda Fabia R5) +2.06,3
10. Herczig/Ferencz (H, Volkswagen Polo GTI R5) +2.17,7