Alexey Lukyanuk is showing no signs of slowing down on ORLEN 77th Rally Poland, the opening round of the 2021 FIA European Rally Championship.
The defending ERC champion has been on the pace on the opening two stages of the high-speed gravel event’s deciding leg aboard his Pirelli-equipped, Saintéloc Junior Team-run Citroën C3 Rally2.

After completing SS10, Gmina Mragowo, one of three stages being streamed live onFacebookandYouTubetoday Lukyanuk said: “Actually the beginning is strange, it’s so hard to get into the rhythm, unbelievable. You feel like a rookie in the car and it doesn’t go in your hand and the road is slippery and everything is closed I thought we lost a lot but it looks like everybody is struggling. It’s a good morning loop, good wake-up and I hope we will improve on the second one.”

Lukyanuk, who is co-driven by Alexey Arnautov, beat Andreas Mikkelsen to the SS9 win by 2.0s to increase his overall lead ahead of the Norwegian Toksport WRT Škoda Fabia Rally2 driver to 31.7s. Craig Breen was third quickest ahead of Miko Marczyk, Simone Tempestini and Norbert Herczig.

Like Tempestini, Breen has restarted on day two following his leg one exit and capitalised on his lower starting position to edge Lukyanuk on SS10 by 1.2s and claim a first stage win of 2021 for Team MRF Tyres. However, with Lukyanuk beating Mikkelsen by 2.3s, the Russian’s advantage out front increases to 34.0s with Mikkelsen reporting that he’s “not trying maximum but keeping up the pressure”.

ERC rookie Adrian Chwietczuk impressed with the fourth fastest time on SS10 alongside three-time ERC champion Jarek Baran. Marczyk was fifth quickest with Grégoire Munster, who stalled at a junction on SS9, sixth fastest.

The early morning runs through Mikołajki Max and Gmina Mragowo will be repeated following a service halt in Mikołajki, with the rerun of Gmina Mragowo also being streamed live onFacebookandYouTube. Mikołajki Max is up next from 10h25 local time followed by Gmina Mragowo from 11h10.
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