Midday report: Lukyanuk leads ERC Rally di Roma Capitale
Alexey Lukyanuk tops the Rally di Roma Capitale leaderboard heading to the mid-leg service halt in Fiuggi.
Bryan Bouffier is second, 4.4s behind the Russian with Kajetan Kajetanowicz completing an all-Ford Fiesta R5 top three after four stages of the FIA European Rally Championship counter.
Lukyanuk was quickest on the first stage of the day but was one of a number of drivers delayed when Albert von Thurn und Taxis crashed and blocked stage three, which was ultimately cancelled with notional times awarded to the bulk of the competitors.
“I started with some caution,” said Lukyanuk. “The last stage was really nice. I expected some rain but it was only drops. The last part was fast and flowing and the tyres started to move a bit but we love it.”
Nikolay Gryazin, the overnight leader, has dropped out of contention after a suspected transmission issue struck on stage four. Grzegorz Grzyb, starting his 250thrally, was hit by a pop-off valve issue during the same stage but holds fourth overall ahead of Simone Tempestini and Bruno Magalhães. Portuguese Magalhães, who started the event 23 points behind Kajetanowicz in the title battle, lost time with a spin on SS2.
Jan Černý leads ERC Junior Under 28 in seventh overall with Łukasz Habaj eighth followed by Stéphane Consani, who was slowed by an intermittent power issue on stage two, the Frenchman losing more time when he stopped for a system reset mid-stage. Romain Dumas is P10 in his RGT-specification Porsche with Robert Consani P11 having survived a “big moment” on stage four on his first rally of the year. Pepe López retired his Peugeot Rally Academy entry with a suspected technical issue on stage four.
Tibor Érdi Jr is currently unchallenged in ERC2 after title leader Zelindo Melegari was a non-starter following his father’s sudden passing last night. Sergey Remennik crashed out on stage two. José Suárez also crashed on this morning’s opening 13.65-kilometre test, while Gianandrea Pisani retired his ACI Team Italia Toyota with engine failure.
The battle for the FIA ERC Junior Under 27 Championship was turned on its head when leader Aleks Zawada retired three kilometres from the start of Saturday’s opening run. After four stages Chris Ingram leads Filip Mareš by 1.7s with Jari Huttunen 1.5s further back. A rain shower made for a tough end to the stage for a number of ERC Junior U27 drivers.
Following the 30-minute service halt in Fiuggi, stage five, the repeat of the 13.65-kilometre Turriziani Petroli-sponsored Colle San Magno from 18h03 local time.