Ost­berg, Ka­je­tanow­icz hit trou­ble. By Peter Allen

Motor Sport News - - Rally News - Re­sults

Alexey Lukyanuk made it backto-back vic­to­ries in the Euro­pean Rally Cham­pi­onship by win­ning the open­ing round of 2016 in the Ca­nary Is­lands af­ter Mads Ost­berg and Ka­je­tan Ka­je­tanow­icz hit trou­ble.

Ost­berg, mak­ing his ERC de­but thanks to a deal struck fol­low­ing a hol­i­day in the Ca­naries, led through much of the first day af­ter beat­ing Lukyanuk by a tenth of a se­cond to win the open­ing stage.

De­fend­ing cham­pion Ka­je­tanow­icz won four con­sec­u­tive stages to chip away at his 10-se­cond deficit to Ost­berg, re­duc­ing the gap to 6.9s prior to the day’s fi­nal stage when the Nor­we­gian crashed on a tight left-han­der af­ter ex­pe­ri­enc­ing brake fade on his Ford Fi­esta R5.

With Ost­berg out, Ka­je­tanow­icz had a 22.7s overnight lead over Lukyanuk, which the Pole ex­tended fur­ther by win­ning SS8 on Satur­day morn­ing.

How­ever, he suf­fered ex­treme tyre wear over the morn­ing loop and dropped over a minute rel­a­tive to Lukyanuk across the next two stages. Ka­je­tanow­icz ini­tially put this down to set­ting his tyre pres­sures too high, but later sus­pected a num­ber of fac­tors were to blame.

Rus­sian driver Lukyanuk, who had lost time on Fri­day when he picked too soft a tyre for the con­di­tions, now in­her­ited the lead with a 36.7s ad­van­tage. Ka­je­tanow­icz won the first of the af­ter­noon’s stages but Lukyanuk replied with two more wins of his own to se­cure vic­tory by 32.7s.

Lukyanuk, who cur­rently lacks the bud­get to con­test the full sea­son ( see above), be­came the first driver to win con­sec­u­tive events span­ning two sea­sons in re­cent ERC his­tory af­ter tri­umph­ing in Valais last Oc­to­ber.

Ost­berg’s demise pro­moted Robert Con­sani into a podium po­si­tion but the French­man only held the place overnight be­fore suf­fer­ing a se­ries of prob­lems on the Peu­geot 208 T16 he was us­ing on this event. Trou­ble get­ting the car started in the morn­ing led to road penal­ties and he also strug­gled with his brakes for much of the day, fin­ish­ing up down in sev­enth.

That al­lowed lo­cal ace Luis Mon­zon to make the podium, just as he did on the ERC’S last visit to his home is­land of Gran Ca­naria three years ago. He ex­pe­ri­enced gear­box grem­lins in his Citroen DS 3 R5 on Fri­day but was up to full speed on Satur­day, break­ing the Fi­esta’s stran­gle­hold with a win on SS10.

The fastest Spa­niard early in the rally had been Ivan Ares, who was mak­ing it a top-four lock­out for Fi­es­tas be­hind Ost­berg, Ka­je­tanow­icz and Lukyanuk, but a bro­ken anti-roll­bar, brake prob­lems and a punc­ture dropped him down the or­der.

Dutch­man Her­men Kobus was in the top five when he crashed his Skoda into a tree on Satur­day’s se­cond stage, while Fed­erico Della Casa and Gi­a­como Coste­naro were halted by me­chan­i­cal fail­ures. Reign­ing ERC2 cham­pion David Botka suf­fered a night­mare step up to an R5 Citroen but did make the fin­ish un­der Rally 2 rules.

An­other ‘lo­cal’ driver, Jonathan Perez, even­tu­ally took fourth place in his Fi­esta ahead of Wo­j­ciech Chuchala, who starred in his Subaru Poland-en­tered Im­preza to dom­i­nate the ERC2 class and beat com­pa­triot Jaroslaw Koltun (Fi­esta) to fifth over­all.

There was a fi­nal-stage switch for se­cond in ERC2 when Hun­gar­ian Peter Ranga over­hauled fel­low Mit­subishi driver Gi­a­como Scat­tolon, but they were over three-and-a-half min­utes down on Chuchala. An­other Pol­ish star Lukasz Habaj led ERC3 from start to fin­ish in his Peu­geot 208 R2.

Ost­berg crashed out Lukyanuk took se­cond ERC vic­tory in a row

Ka­je­tanow­icz had bad tyre wear

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