Russian team in the European Rally Championship
A new team has appeared in the European Rally Championship – the second most important series after the World Rally Championship.
For a long time Russian teams have not participated in the ERC. This season the only national team Russian Performance Motorsport will be represented by two crews: Petersburgers Alexey Lukyanuk and Alexey Arnautov and Uralians Sergei Remennik and Mark Rozin. They will fight for points in various scoring categories as they drive different vehicles: R5 class (ERC1) and “production” class (ERC2).
The crews will start competing in the team standings with Europeans in Spain at the second ERC round that will pass along the asphalt roads of Gran Canaria.
Alexey Lukyanuk, driver (Ford Fiesta R5), “We like the Canaries, it’s warmer and brighter here than in St. Petersburg. I did my best to prepare for the race: computer, simulator, exercise bike, pace notes training. I hope our experience will help; now we understand better how to set up a car. Of course, tests are the best way to try it. Yesterday we drove almost 50 kilometers along the mountain road. There were lots of corners, ascents, descents, repeated brakings. We had plenty to do: we’ve changed box, front and rear differential, stabilizers. We are satisfied with the alterations done.
ROSGOSSTRAKH insurance company will support us again, the racing Fiesta’s livery will be updated, but during the tests we were driving the “naked” car”.
Sergei Remennik, driver (Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution), “We’ve got a couple of days before the start of the European Championships second round – Rally Islas Canarias. During the break between the rounds we did a lot of preparatory work: there were pace notes trainings, we studied the past years onboard records, and had rather serious asphalt test program, where we overcame more than 300 competitive kilometers and burned an indecent amount of tyres! We also had lengthy tests on the simulator. We had to prepare for this race longer, than for the previous one, because we have minimal experience of asphalt rallies, if not to say that it is completely absent. Until now we have mainly participated in the rallies on slippery surfaces. With Aleksey [Lukyanuk] we tried to develop my asphalt skills, since the driving technique should be different from riding in slides, customary for gravel and snow-ice races.
In addition to this preparatory work, we have announced the Russian Performance Motorsport team. This is logical as we have been a single body for a long time – last season we represented Prospeed-Uralasbest team, where Alexey was a coach. At the moment he is also my coach, friend and mentor. It seems to me it was very logical to combine these efforts in a team with a recognizable title. We did not have time to do this for the first round for certain logistical reasons. But from the second ERC round and for the whole season we will perform under the RPM colours”.
Rally Islas Canarias starts on Thursday, and in the coming days crews have the opportunity to drive through each special stage twice and make notes they will use for three racing days.