ERC champion Alexey Lukyanuk has moved into first place on ORLEN 77th Rally Poland after Nikolay Gryazin retired with a double front puncture at the end of the penultimate stage of leg one.
Gryazin was 40.5s in front on the back of a dominant performance when his hopes of a second victory on Poland’s round of the FIA European Rally Championship ended.

“It seems like the tyre was destroyed,” said Gryazin, who had posted five fastest stage times in his Volkswagen Polo GTI R5. “I thought I hit something but it looks like it just happened from the bolt [of the front suspension. It happens, it seems like. We have only one spare and it’s forbidden to go without one wheel. There’s nothing to do. I was trying. When I saw the difference was quite big in the first pass I start to try to make a big gap in the first pass. This stage we drove in the dust and it was impossible to see the road but I was able to finish [but with two punctured tyres].”

Lukyanuk (Saintéloc Junior Team) completed SS7 with the fastest time in his Citroën C3 Rally2 to move 10.6s ahead of the luckless Gryazin. But that margin meant little when Gryazin was forced to retire, leaving Lukyanuk 29.7s ahead of Andreas Mikkelsen (Toksport WRT Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo) following the leg-closing Mikołajki Arena stage.

“It's a nice feeling, I’m happy with our strategy for the afternoon, thanks for an amazing day to everybody, it was a good day, it's amazing to be back on the gravel, good car, good set-up,” said Lukyanuk, who won Rally Poland in 2019.

Miko Marczyk is third for ORLEN Team with fellow Pole Wojciech Chuchała in fourth followed by Rallye Team Spain’s Nil Solans, Škoda Rally Team Hungaria driver Norbert Herczig and CHL Sport Auto’s Yoann Bonato. Efrén Llarena is eighth for Rallye Team Spain, Erik Cais (Yacco ACCR Team) ninth and Umberto Scandola completing the top 10 for Hyundai Rally Team Italia.

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