Alexey Lukyanuk has played down the importance of beating home hero and former ERC champion Jan Kopecký on Barum Czech Rally Zlín this week.
Lukyanuk has twice finished second to the ŠKODA Motorsport star on the sealed-surface event and led at the halfway point in 2018.
But with the defence of his FIA European Rally Championship crown at the forefront of his mind, Lukyanuk won’t go all-out to win in Zlín for the Saintéloc Junior Team.
“To beat Kopecký would be really nice but considering our position [in the championship] and the expectations of our sponsors and the team we need to take it a bit more careful,” said Lukyanuk. “If I find a good feeling with the car maybe we can get to a proper speed and be comfortable, but it’s not easy. We are still learning the car and exploring its limits to try to set it up for the best performance. We need more time to be at the top [in Zlín].”
Lukyanuk starts the 15-stage Barum Czech Rally Zlín with a six-point advantage over Łukasz Habaj. He’s more aware of the challenging nature of this ERC mainstay.
“It’s a huge challenge, one of the most exciting Tarmac events in the ERC calendar because it’s really scary with technical roads, which you should take only by relying on your pacenotes, pushing hard in the blind corners with bushes and trees, some gravel and jumps,” said Lukyanuk. “I really enjoy this event but definitely the most thrilling challenge is a wet Barum, but hopefully it will not be like this.”