Rally in the Czech Republic: Kopecky leads, Lukyanuk retires because of tyre puncture

The first full day of the Barum Rally, the sixth round of the European Rally Championship, turned out to be difficult for the crew of Alexey Lukyanuk and Alexey Arnautov in the Citroen C3 R5.
While the crew fought for seconds on the track, the judges decided to give a fine of 10,000 euros to the team. During a technical commission on Thursday it turned out that there was no sign or engraving with a VIN number on the new Lukyanuk’s Citroen C3 R5 (the team presented a new chassis). During the trial, it became clear that it was the fault of Citroen Racing, who handed over to the customer (the Saintéloc Racing team) a car without this marking. Since this violation does not affect the safety level of rally vehicles, a decision was made to allow the crew to start – a Citroen Racing representative will apply a VIN in the presence of technical delegates; the Saintéloc Racing team, as a declared participant, received a fine of 10 thousand euros (for inattention when accepting the equipment) that must be paid within two days. In case of non-payment, the crew will be disqualified.

But if this incident did not apply the fans attention, the fact that Lukyanuk “caught” a slow puncture at the eighth special stage and later completely abandoned the fight upset them much.
Alexey Lukyanuk, “We “caught” a slow puncture and continued moving. However, the tyre gradually got off the disc completely, although you can drive like this. We lost one and a half minutes in the end, but if we stopped at a special stage, then we would lose about two or more minutes for replacement. But, unfortunately, there was a suspension failure, the bolts cracked, as it happened at the Canary Race. We tried to fix it, but without success”.

If we discard this incident, the day was challenging: the leader changed several times – Jan Kopecky, Gryazin, and Lukyanuk won the special stages. The latter was in the lead after the first section, but lost ground to Kopecky before the penultimate special stage. Despite the excellent weather in Zlin, unlike last year’s conditions, when it rained and the road was slippery, this year the number of retirements and accidents among the leaders remains high. Nikolay Gryazin “rolled” down the standings after a tyre puncture; Lukasz Habaj, hitting a tree, rushed after Gryazin, and 39 crews retired for completely different reasons – escapes from the track, double tyre punctures, broken suspensions and other technical problems.
Petersburgers are not discouraged, and tomorrow they plan to continue to participate in the race, even if without the hope of getting points, but as a competitive training.