Well-known Ukrainian sportsmen-racing drivers have created and funded a team at their own expense to compete in the stages of one of the leading rally championships – World Rally Championship 2 (WRC 2). The team, called Drive For Ukraine , is designed to promote Ukraine through sports and Ukrainian victories. The initiative was initiated by a well-known Ukrainian racing driver and public figure Yevhen Chervonenko (winner of the 2013 European Cup, vice-champion of the 2014 European Trophy).
The team includes world-class motorsports stars and former Russian athlete Alexey Lukyanuk.
The involvement of Lukianiuk in the team is of particular importance. He is a two-time winner of the European Rally Championship in 2018 and 2020. Also in 2016 and 2019, Lukianiuk became the vice-champion of the series. He has repeatedly received the Colin McRae Award for the most spectacular performance at the ERC stage. With the onset of full-scale aggression, the athlete condemned the invasion and decided to continue to compete under the Ukrainian flag.
Lukianiuk has now openly condemned the Russian invasion and applied for Ukrainian citizenship.
In the 20023 season, Ukraine will be represented by four athletes in two crews. The Ukrainian crews will compete in a Skoda fabia WRC 2. The tires are Pirelli and Hankook.
At the first speed stage, the Lukianiuk-Chervonenko crew took 2nd place out of 91 participants.
The team will participate in three stages of the competition in 2023 and six stages in 2024.
The Ukrainian crews have a real opportunity to at least make the top five. The maximum task is to fight for prizes.
Following Lukyanuk, other Russian athletes are expected to renounce their Russian citizenship in order to oppose the Putin regime, which we will report on later (primarily due to the safety of the athletes’ families)
In connection with the creation of the Drive For Ukraine team, its initiator, Yevhen Chervonenko, released an appeal, below is its full text:
16.07.2023 To the one who understands and who really cares
from the Honored Master of Sports of international class
Instead of a preface…
Since the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion, Ukraine has been heroically resisting the invaders for more than 500 days and nights. Every day, on all fronts, our compatriots are fighting, volunteering, treating the wounded, restoring damaged infrastructure, and using various international platforms to inform the world about the horror that is happening on our land. The main message of this address is devoted to this last point.
Despite all the titanic efforts of our people, army, and officials, unfortunately, the world is not providing Ukraine with the assistance it needs. At the same time, any delay in our desire to speed up the victory is unacceptable, because even if it is important for Western countries, it still remains only a news item, and for us it means the lives and destinies of our compatriots lost every day!
That is why the relevant special services gladly responded to the initiative proposed by well-known sports figures of Ukraine to promote and inform the world about Ukraine through the creation of professional sports teams that will be united by one idea – the promotion of Ukraine and its future in the field that has always united the world – in sports!!!
I believe that such performances will help to prevent the formation of “fatigue” from Ukraine in the world, and will provide an opportunity to inform the world that the Ukrainian issue is not only a difficult problem for everyone, but is also a source of outstanding sports achievements and victories.
The situation in our country will be communicated not only through the prism of refugees, social assistance and benefits, but also from the perspective that our country can give the world outstanding victories, teams of high sports and intellectual level. Information presented not through the problem, but through positive emotions (in this case, from sports events) will be perceived even by those who are afraid or distanced from the events in Ukraine. Through the fates of the athletes, they will definitely see Bucha, Kherson, Izyum, Bakhmut and other cities, some of which have ceased to exist physically, but have gained fame and existence in the centuries of history and memory.‘yati!!!
Given the state support and the inclusion of this program in the information strategy of the fight against the aggressor, I am confident that colleagues from other sports and our team will be able to support Ukraine at an appropriate and worthy level.
From my life path, I understood that my focus in this program was motor sports.
What has been done and what is planned:
- The name of the team is Drive For Ukraine.
- За власні кошти створено професійну спортивну команду для виступу на етапах чемпіонаті World Rally Championship 2 (далі WRC 2) під українськими прапорами та в українській символіці. Саме ці змагання є одними з найвищих в світовій ралійній першості, є найдоступнішими для глядачів, найдинамічнішими з погляду перемог та поразок.
- К-ть екіпажів в сезоні 2023 – 2 екіпажі (4 чоловіка). З метою найбільшого охоплення аудиторії, досягнуто домовленості з залучення до екіпажів зірок світового класу (Браян Буф’є, Олексій Лук’янюк ), які виступатимуть під українськими прапорами. Більше того, досягнуто домовленості з спортсменами російського походження, які відкрито засудили вторгнення, стосовно участі в команді під українським прапором та подальшого набуття ними українського громадянства. Даний пункт є надзвичайно важливим для демонстрації народу росії, що навіть найпрогресивніші їхні діячі розуміють всю невідворотність нашої перемоги і готові нас в цьому допомагати, а також, для поширення в їх інформаційному просторі меседжа, що так чи інакше, але «Все буде Україна».
- К-ть етапів – 3 в 2023, 6 в 2024. В 2023 році планується участь в 3 етапах, що залишилися. Відповідно до турнірної таблиці в наших екіпажів є можливість, як план мінімум – ввійти в першу п’ятірку, як план максимум – поборотися за призові місця.
- Cars – Skoda fabia WRC 2.
- Tires – Pirelli, Hankook (subject to sponsorship contract).
- For information.
- A multi-part adventure and documentary series about very different people united by the team and sport is planned. The movie is about their life and everyday life, crew competitions, internal and external struggles. All of this will take place in ONE main stream – the situation in Ukraine, the challenges our country is facing, its struggle and the heroism of its people.
The film will not be an autobiography of any person, it will be about Ukraine. Current news and what’s happening in our country will be online to echo the events within the team and the championship. Different destinies of different people will come together and be consolidated by the emotions of the competition.
It’s quite difficult to make feature films nowadays, and none of the entertainment types are in demand. That is why the creation of such a film will give Ukrainians a breath of cinematic air, and Europe and the world will see another facet of what Ukrainians can be.
- If the first three episodes of the project are successful, in the 2024 season we plan to cooperate with a well-known platform such as Netflix or others to reach the widest possible audience with the Ukrainian issue.
- An agreement was reached to cover the results of the team’s performance by major Ukrainian news agencies.
- Immediately after the performance, a corresponding SMM campaign will be launched on the web resources of Ukraine and the world.
- Перші виступи команд буде профінансовано з власних коштів.
- In no case will public funds be involved in the project.
- В подальшому планується досягнення домовленості зі спонсорами щодо фінансування команди.
- All possible financial awards, grants, profits from the team’s activities, etc. will be immediately directed to charitable purposes in Ukraine. If additional funds can be raised, we will organize visits to the championship stages by children of fallen soldiers, wounded soldiers undergoing rehabilitation, and groups of soldiers who are training in the country of the stage.
- Чому це треба підтримати?
- Спонсорський пакет включатиме МАКСИМАЛЬНО лояльні умови для спонсора.
- Logos and branding of participants’ uniforms, cars, and everything that will help them win.
- Поява логотипу в майбутньому фільмі.
- Активна участь дійових осіб компанії спонсора в зйомках фільму.
- We are open to cooperation and ready for any support, so branding can be carried out at the stage that will take place next weekend, even before the contracts are agreed upon.
Instead of an afterword…
I have lived a difficult and contradictory life, but having faced a huge number of obstacles, struggles and mortal danger, even I did not expect that the main struggle was still ahead, that I would have to once again stand in line, take up arms, and gather numerous teams of like-minded people for a single goal – the Struggle for Ukraine’s Independence.
Just like in the early days of the war, our units, numerous funds, targeted assistance to those in need, and a sports team have already been set up, areas of responsibility have been defined and communicated to everyone, we are already working and we will definitely win.
And yes, I have never asked anyone for anything, but now, realizing that our struggle for freedom continues, and it is only getting more complicated day by day, I am asking everyone who cares to join in and help me implement this project. And I, in turn, will do my best to ensure that no one is left out of our struggle and that as many people in the world as possible see Ukraine from another victorious perspective.
Glory to Ukraine!!!
Sincerely, Yevgeny Chervonenko