Lukyanuk leads as volcano stage bites Kajetanowicz on Azores Rally
Alexey Lukyanuk roared into the lead of Azores Rally on Friday's Day 2, after erstwhile leader Kajetan Kajetanowicz hit a bank on the famous Sete Cidades volcano stage.
The day started wet and foggy in the mountains of the mid-Atlantic island. Lukyanuk, who was lucky to be still in this rally after clobbering a stone wall on Day 1, grabbed the lead on the opening stage of the day, the 7.42km Pico da Perda Golfe test.
But his 2.6s advantage was reversed to a 6.3s deficit on the next stage, Feteiras Meo.
Then, on the first run through the famous ‘volcano stage’ – located above the town of Sete Cidades – Kajetanowicz stretched his lead by another 5.9s to 12.2s by lunchtime service.
Local hero Ricardo Moura was a solid third, but almost 30s off the pace of the leaders by lunchtime. Ralfs Sirmacis slipped well back in his Skoda, blaming “very bad pacenotes” for a poor run through Sete Cidades.
The afternoon’s repeat of the morning’s stages was run in much better weather conditions. Lukyanuk trimmed Kajetanowicz’s lead down to 6.7s by winning the first two stages of the loop.
Under the pressure of his assault, Kajetanowicz hit a bank on the re-run of Sete Cidades, incurring suspension geometry damage and losing over 16s to Lukyanuk, who now leads by 9.8s.
Moura is third, 40s behind the leader, with Acropolis winner Sirmacis in fourth over a minute in arrears.
Kajetanowicz leads Azores Rally by a second after Day 1
Local hero Moura hangs on for famous maiden ERC victory