"Awesome" opening stages for Johnston on first ERC R5 outing
Saintéloc Junior Team driver Sean Johnston says he has enjoyed his first FIA European Rally Championship outing in an R5 car so far, despite suffering a puncture on the opening stage of Rally Hungary.
The American, who is partnered in his Citroën C3 R5 by co-driver and compatriot Alex Kihurani, has made the step from ERC3 to the top class this weekend and is currently 12th in the standings after three stages
A front-left left puncture on SS2 limited his progress early on, but Johnston admits that this setback had lifted any pre-event pressure he may have been under.
“At this point we get to cruise, not trying to prove anything to anybody,” Johnston told ERC Radio’s Julian Porter.
“We’re just out here to have some fun. The roads were covered in leaves and there was some concrete rock hidden in there so the puncture was unfortunate. We’re carrying two spares so it’s alright.”
Johnston is focused on getting the most out of what he calls “a learning curve” this weekend, exemplified by a beaming smile at the end of SS3 as he wrestled his R5 amid tricky road conditions.
“I’m just loving being in this equipment, it’s so much fun.
“The result was never the intention this weekend, I think our pace in the shakedown and the first stage was promising but we are here to learn and that is our objective.”