European Rally Championship points leader Alexey Lukyanuk’s hopes of a second title are at risk at the halfway point of the season, as the 2018 champion has run out of money to compete after this weekend’s Rally Fafe Montelongo.
Lukyanuk is in his second season with Saintéloc Junior Team driving a Citroën C3 R5, and started the year with a win on Rally di Roma.
The points for second place on Rally Liepaja, where he finished third but Citroën’s Mads Østberg was ineligible to score, has put him four points ahead of Oliver Solberg in the title race.
But Lukyanuk now faces the prospect of missing the rest of the season through budget issues, effectively putting him out of a title race he currently leads.
“This is the last event for which we have enough budget,” Lukyanuk posted in a statement to social media.
“Now we have a second round of searching for partners – Hungary is about a month away, during which we need to close the financial hole.
“So, if this doesn’t happen, there is a great chance of not going anywhere else.”
Should Lukyanuk run out of money to continue further it would put Solberg in pole position to win the title, who already holds a 26 points advantage over Team MRF’s Craig Breen heading to Fafe.
Solberg and Breen are Lukyanuk’s only serious title contenders thus far, as ERC1 Junior trio Grégoire Munster, Emil Lindholm and Efrén Llarena are all more than 40 points off the lead after only two events.
Giandomenico Basso is fourth in the points after finishing second to Lukyanuk in Rome, but is not expected to return for further ERC events in 2020 as he’s focusing on his Italian championship campaign.