European Rally Championship: Victory for Lukyanuk at Azores
The Russian driver Alexey Lukyanuk clinched the victory in the 53rd Azores Rallye, the opening round of the 2018 FIA European Rally Championship.
The 37-year-old driver of the #2 Ford Fiesta R5, who is sharing a car with navigator Alexey Arnautov, took his fifth ERC victory in a career ahead of two Portuguese drivers Ricardo Moura and Bruno Magalhaes. Both were driving Škoda Fabia R5.
In the 3-day 15-stage event, Lukyanuk took the lead after the second stage and stayed in front until the end. His maximum advantage was 47.9 seconds but he slowed down on the last stage, not wanting to risk anything, winning the rally with 16.4sec gap ahead of Moura.
Chris Ingram (Škoda Fabia R5) finished fourth overall and the winner of ERC Junior U28 class. The best in the ERC Junior E27 class was Diogo Gago (Peugeot 208 R2). He was also the winner of the ERC3 class. In the ERC2 standings, Juan Carlos Alonso won in a Mitsubishi Evo X.
Three female drivers participated in the event. Tamara Molinaro (Ford Fiesta R5) was 14th overall and took the ERC Ladies Trophy while Catie Munnings finished 32nd overall in a Peugeot 208 R2. Emma Falcon retired in a Citroen DS3 R3T.
The second round of the 2018 FIA ERC is the Rally Islas Canarias, scheduled for May -7.