World star Mikkelsen inspires ERC3 competitor Johnston
Sean Johnston used last month’s PZM 76th Rally Poland to try out a new pacenote system inspired by former ERC competitor and world championship event winner Andreas Mikkelsen.
American Johnston, who forms part of the Saintéloc Junior Team line-up in the FIA European Rally Championship’s ERC3 division, had been working with co-driver Alex Kuhurani to improve the accuracy of his pacenotes.
Then a chance meeting with Mikkelsen – a factory driver for Hyundai – while on a flight to Sardinia for Italy’s world championship counter in mid-June accelerated the switch to the new system, as Johnston explained.
“Alex and I have been talking for several weekends about how we need to get a little more resolution, more accuracy with our pacenotes. Flying to Sardinia we were sat across the aisle from Andreas Mikkelsen and I asked him if he had one piece of information he could give to his past self what would it be and he said he wished he had more resolution in his pacenotes. After that experience and after realising Alex was having trouble sometimes if [a corner] was a five-left minus, minus, that’s six syllables for just one corner and it’s just too much. To get away from that, instead of using 1-6 we’re using 1-10 and the change has been positive.”
Johnston, who eventually placed eighth in ERC3 in Poland following a puncture on the final day, said he very much appreciated Mikkelsen’s advice.
“We’d never met before, but we had a wonderful conversation. He’s a great guy and I really appreciated his openness and generosity of his wisdom and perspective. It was a nice encounter.”