At the end of the Rally Islas Canarias first day, we can say that the changeable weather and strategy games have thoroughly shuffled the order of the finishing crews. Unstable weather conditions turned the rally first section into a tyre lottery, as a result of which several favorites of the race rolled further in the field, away from the top three of the day, and the main contenders for the season title Alexey Lukyanuk and Oliver Solberg took the 10th and 13th places respectively.
After a midday service break, the weather made attempts to improve the situation for the racers, and Lukyanuk managed to guess twice with the tyre characteristics selection – two victories at the special stages became an excellent effect of this choice together with a quick rise to the fourth place in the intermediate classification. But these achievements were quickly neglected at the next special stages – rain that thoroughly wetted the road surface at the remaining special stages was responsible for the eighth position at the end of this day.
Alexey Lukyanuk, driver, “The day was very challenging: we got a weather forecast and… it has never come true! In general, we had right, but… completely different tyre choice; we managed to drive on dry surface at two special stages, as for the rest, we were just wasting time. It was a long day…”
For the day second section Oliver Solberg chose such combination of tyre compositions that worked well and allowed him to climb to the seventh place at the end of the day, thus beating Lukyanuk by 1.8 seconds. Although Solberg is now ahead of the Russian, he is still far from the necessary result (he needs to get to the top three) in order to defeat Alexey Lukyanuk in the fight for the European title.
Alexey Arnautov, co-driver, “The rally is like a rally – read the notes and don’t look at the cliffs. But there are new rules of dealing with the time cards because of the epidemic – you have the whole pack for the race weekend in your purse and you don’t give it to anyone. You carefully fill them in one by one, and then show these numbers to the judge, then communication with gestures begins: thumb up, thumb down, turn, show something better. The judge writes his time with a marker and you happily nod to each other; the car goes on. The only problem is that if something doesn’t match, then you must convince the judge to set the required estimated time with pantomime and gestures”.