Russian driver makes a return to the ERC – Finnish star forced to miss the event

Alexey Lukyanuk will be causing trouble for the stars of the European Rally Championship at next week’s Rally Islas Canarias round.
Alexey Lukyanuk
Last year, Alexey Lukyanuk participated in a round of the European Rally Championship in the Czech Republic. Photo by: Andre Lavadinho/@World/Red Bull Content Pool
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Lukyanuk, 43, has won the European Rally Championship twice. The Russian withdrew from the series before the start of the 2022 season after Russia began its invasion of Ukraine.

Now residing in Cyprus, Lukyanuk participated in two rounds of the championship last season but did not achieve significant success. In a week, he will make another comeback to the ERC in the Atlantic setting.

Lukyanuk has won the Rally Islas Canarias three times.

“We’re really excited to compete on my favourite event, we’ve had massive success before, so we hope to deliver a good result again,” Lukyanuk says.

Lukyanuk has not previously driven a Hyundai Rally2-class car. He will also have a new co-driver, Yuriy Kulikov, by his side.

A total of 34 Rally2 car crews have registered for the Rally Islas Canarias tarmac event. The list includes several top names such as Hayden Paddon, Efren Llarena, Mathieu Franceschi, Erik Cais, Martins Sesks, Mads Østberg, and Yoann Bonato.

Finnish driver Mikko Heikkilä’s name is entirely absent from the list of entries. Heikkilä was competing for victory at the season-opening Rally Hungary, but a wheel came off his Toyota on the final day, forcing him to retire.

Heikkilä has announced that he will skip the trip to the Canary Islands after long consideration.

“It was a really uncomfortable decision, but after the huge disappointment in Hungary it felt the smartest one of all the bad options. The beginning of the season has been much more expensive than we budgeted beforehand,” Heikkilä explained.

The Rally Islas Canarias is scheduled for May 2-4. Next year, the Canary Islands will host a round of the World Rally Championship.

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