Alexey Lukyanuk is a Russian rally driver who reached the peak of his career in 2018 by winning the FIA European Rally Championship. Earlier in a career, he was Russian and Estonian rally champion in 2014. Until the end of 2018, he recorded just three WRC starts.
Starting a career in 2005, pairing up with Alexey Arnautov in 2009
Born in December 1980 in Moscow, Alexey Lukyanuk started his rally career in 2005. His first rally car was a Zhiguli VAZ 2105. Lukyanuk expanded his rally activities in 2006, switching to Opel Astra GTC. In 2009, Alexey Arnautov became his navigator and they are co-operating still today. That year, Lukyanuk clinched his first victory, still driving an Opel Astra.
In 2010, Lukyanuk spent a season in the Russia Cup, finishing best in the third place at Rally Saint Petersburg, driving an Opel Astra against 4WD cars. In 2011, Lukyanuk was driving Opel Astra in the Russia Cup and Estonian championship, scoring several class victories and winning the Russian Cup in the 2000N category.
Switching to Mitsubishi Lancer Evo in 2012
In October 2011, thanks to businessman Vadim Kuznetsov, Lukyanuk made a debut in a four-wheel-drive car, driving a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VII at Saaremma Rally in Estonia. Then, in 2012, Lukyanuk switched full-time to Mitsubishi, using three different cars during the year, first Evo VII, then Evo IX and finally the Evo X R4.
He participated in Latvian and Estonian rally events. His most notable result was a victory at Saaremaa Rally and he finished fifth in the Estonian championship.
ERC and WRC debut in 2013
In 2013, Lukyanuk continued to compete in Latvian and Estonian championships, driving a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X. He made an ERC debut in the Latvian round at Rally Liepaja Ventspils. He won three times in the Latvian championship.
In August 2013, Lukyanuk made a debut in the World Rally Championship, driving a Lancer Evo X at Rally Finland. He finished 16th overall and the best in Class 3 for production 4WD cars.
Alexey Lukyanuk and Alexey Arnautov in 2014
Two championship titles in 2014
In 2014, Alexey Lukyanuk and Alexey Arnautov claimed two championship titles. In the Russian championship, they won four times using an Evo IX or Evo X. They were also four-time winners in the Estonian championship, claiming the title in a Lancer Evo X.
Outside of those two national championships, Lukyanuk finished second overall and the first in Production Cup class at Rally Estonia, the round of the European Rally Championship.
Alexey Lukyanuk in 2015
2015 – the first full season in the European Rally Championship
In 2015, Lukyanuk continued his career on the international level, spending his first full season in the European Rally Championship. He was driving a Ford Fiesta R5 for Chervonenko Racing. His first ERC victory was at Rally Estonia. He also won the season-closing round, the Rallye International du Valais, finishing the season third in the points.
In November, Lukyanuk made his second WRC start, participating at Wales Rally GB. Sharing a car with Yevgen Chervonenko, retiring on the SS2 with a broken radiator.
Alexey Lukyanuk at 2016 Cyprus Rally
European rally vice-champion in 2016, fourth place in 2017
Lukyanuk continued to drive a Ford Fiesta R5 in the European Rally Championship in 2016. He won the first round at Islas Canarias and the last round at Cyprus, finishing second in the points at the end of the season. The champion was Kajetan Kajetanowicz.
In 2017, his third season in a Ford Fiesta R5, Lukyanuk scored one ERC victory, at Rally Islas Canarias, finishing fourth in the points. Outside ERC, he recorded his third WRC attempt at Rally Sweden. Driving a Ford Fiesta R5, he finished 29th overall and 11th in WRC2 class.
2018 European rally champions
Winning the European rally crown in 2018
In 2018, Alexey Lukyanuk finally reached the top of the European rallying. Sharing a Ford Fiesta R5 with Alexey Arnautov, he won three times and dominantly took the championship title even before the last round. He won Azores Rallye, Rally Islas Canarias and Rally di Roma Capitale.
In other events, he was on a podium at Barum Czech Rally Zlin. He also reached a podium in a guest appearance in the Czech championship, finishing second at Rallye Šumava Klatovy.
Alexey Lukyanuk and Alexey Arnautov at FIA Prize Giving Ceremony
Switching to Citroen C3 R5 in 2019
For the 2019 FIA ERC season, Lukyanuk joined French team Sainteloc Racing to drive a Citroen C3 R5. He was again among the front-runners, winning Rally Poland and adding two more podiums, but several DNFs cost him a lot and he finished second in the championship, behind British driver Chris Ingram.