The 40-year-old was in great shape from the start. After taking the lead in the opening round of Visit Estonia Tartu on Thursday night, he set the fastest time on each stage on Friday and Saturday.
As the final round approached with more than a three-minute lead, everyone expected Lukyanuk to slow down. But that did not happen.
As the clean sheet of stage wins ended when Egon Kaur beat him in SS20, he picked up another pair of fastest times before a spectacular roll in the Tartu vald blast putting end of the rally does not put his hopes in jeopardy.
Fortunately for Lukyanuk, his Škoda Fabia Rally2 came back on its wheels, allowing him to stay ahead of the closest challenger Kajetan Kajetanowicz by 3 min 15.9 sec. The result also placed the European champion eighth overall.
“Stupid ruts have caught me behind the ridge, but luckily here we are. It was a fantastic weekend despite that. I hope the team will forgive me, ”he added.
With Yohan Rossel absent this weekend, Kajetanowicz’s second place allowed the Pole to return to 16 points from the championship lead.
Mikko Heikkilä clinched his second podium in as many events with a third place. Driving a Škoda, he finished 58.5 seconds behind Kajetanowicz but still comfortably 43.5 seconds ahead of young Spaniard Pepe López.
Local hero Raul Jeets completed the top five. He was fined 20 seconds for a late check-in and outstripped the leaders by 7 minutes 17.7 seconds at the final check. Lithuanian Vladas Jurkevičius is still 2 minutes 19.8 seconds behind in sixth position.
Early favorite Emil Lindholm took an early dip when he crashed his Škoda in Raanitsa’s test, while Egon Kaur restarted after suspension dramas ruled out his Polo on Saturday. Other retirements included Priit Koik and Radik Shaymiev.