Alexey Arnautov has confirmed that he and co-driver Alexey Lukyanuk are “okay and ready to go again” following their dramatic near-miss on SS3 of the 55th Azores Rallye.
The ace Russians were fighting back from time lost to a damaged tyre on SS1 when they suffered a spectacular moment on Lagoa de São Brás aboard their Saintéloc Junior Team Citroën C3 Rally2.

“It was at the beginning of the stage,” Arnautov said at midday service in Ponta Delgada. “There was a right corner and we were slightly faster than needed. The car did not roll but there were some spins, it tried to roll as well but thank God, there was no roll. We just hit a bank, we’re okay and ready to go again.”

He continued: “It was maybe a slight mistake, was it my mistake or if Alexey just misheard it, I have no idea. There is some damage and hopefully it is not severe and the team will manage, but still we made a good time.”

Of the damaged tyre on SS1, Arnautov explained what happened. “There was a rock right in the trajectory and unfortunately it was not a slow puncture, [the air] was gone immediately and we had to stop and change it. Hopefully we lost not too much time. It was the front-left tyre and closer to the end of the stage.

“We were happy with [our fastest time on] SS2, we don’t like the conditions at all as you can imagine, we were hoping for less fog and rain and the third [stage] was completely foggy.”

After three stages, Lukyanuk and Arnautov are eighth overall, 1m45.0s behind leaders Ricardo Moura/António Costa. ClickHEREto watch their spectacular moment on SS3.
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