In 2020 Alexey Lukyanuk will continue performing in the FIA European Rally Championship after re-signing a contract with the Saintéloc Junior Team at the wheel of the Citroën C3 R5 branded Total – Citroën racing together with a new co-driver Dmitriy Eremeev, who was chosen to replace Alexey Arnautov in the right seat.
The second season in the Citroën C3 R5 from the Saintéloc Junior Team, with the support of Citroën Racing and Total.
The offseason negotiations were intense for Lukyanuk, who will finally once again trust the Citroën C3 R5 to continue his performances in the FIA ERC. The Russian has entrusted the operation of its C3 R5 to the Saintéloc team, which knows the ERC routes well, accompanied by a very well know experienced engineer who re-join Sainteloc after having worked with them in the past. Thanks to the support of the Saintéloc, Citroën, Total and its engineer, the Lukyanuk will have all the cards in hand to set a great performance in the 2020 ERC campaign.
Alexey Lukyanuk, driver, “It seems like every year we dream of rising to a higher level and driving at the World Rally Championship events, but our funds don’t allow us to take this decisive, bold and long-awaited step, so we remain in Europe. I’m so used to European rallies that they became like home to me. The atmosphere in the series is very good, easy and friendly; I feel great pleasure from driving the car at every race. Therefore, I believe we have no reasons to be sad and discouraged”.
A number of partners supporting Alexey Lukyanuk’s outstanding performances in the FIA European Rally Championships remained unchanged, and signing of a partnership agreement with Pirelli Tyres brand became one of the important things. The driver’s cooperation with this brand has a long history, tracing back to the time of participation in the Baltic championships, and Lukyanuk was also an ambassador (brand value messenger) of Pirelli for some time. Last year, the partnership turned out to be suspended, because Citroen is connected very closely with another tire manufacturer, and in 2020 finally an agreement was reached.
Dmitriy Eremeev is a new co-driver of the crew
Evidently, a close acquaintance with the car and the sports team simplifies the participation in the new season, but Dmitriy Eremeev, the new co-driver, is a “dark horse” for admirers of Lukyanuk’s talent. Earlier Alexey Arnautov, who had been the co-driver of Alexey Lukyanuk for more than 10 years, made a statement that he wanted to take a break from the rallies and devote more time to his family, as well as improve his performance at his main job.
Alexey Lukyanuk, driver, “Of course, I was upset, because we had such a road in life and in the rally with Alexey – we’ve been together for more than 10 years and won everything that was possible except the World Rally Championship, probably, but I respect his decisions. He is so close to me and he helped so much with solving all sorts of issues – logistics, communication with teams, communication with organizers and planning – now I have to do it myself, and I finally understand how much he worked in addition to reading the notes. I’m immensely grateful to him; I really appreciate our success and time spent together”.
The search for a new co-driver that would meet Lukyanuk’s requirements, requests and expectations was not easy. On the one hand, there was a very high standard set by Arnautov, and on the other hand, there were rather high demands from the driver, because it was a whole program for the season.
Dmitriy Eremeev is known for being the co-driver of some really fast drivers and has good experience in Europe and on the WRC performances. Over the past few years, he has not participated in the rally so actively, but his serious approach and high motivation for development, and in fact for future results, found a response in Lukyanuk’s soul. The newly formed crew is now engaged in developing the necessary interaction skills.
Dmitriy Eremeev, co-driver, “Now I’m preparing for the manner in which I need to read the pacenotes for Alexey, and we’re actively working on it. Based on my previous experience of work with other drivers, I can say that Alexey is the most scrupulous and demanding person. But this pays off by the fact that he can clearly and logically explain what he needs – reading with certain blocks of information. That is, such a requirement is not emotions or a “wish list”; it allows him to go and not be distracted by anything other than driving. He has a certain system and I’m working on it so that I have it in my skills”.
The FIA European Rally Championship calendar has not changed much compared to last season. The FIA ERC consists of eight rounds – about a race once a month; the first event starts at the end of March in the Azores and the series finishes on the routes of Hungary in November. There is less than three weeks before the first start of the crew in the Azores. Lukyanuk and Eremeev will go to the first round in advance, planning to devote several days to acclimatization, getting used to the specifics of local routes and working on the notes on roads that will not be used in the race route.
The first round of the FIA European Rally Championship will traditionally be held on the island of São Miguel, the largest in territory and population of the Azores archipelago belonging to Portugal. Broadcasts from the stages can be watched daily on the Eurosport 1 and 2 TV channels. You can also follow the live broadcasts in the official accounts of the series promoter on Facebook and YouTube.