ERC title contender Alexey Lukyanuk took time out of his preparations for Rally Hungary to guide his Saintéloc Racing team-mate Sean Johnston through his R5 initiation in France last month.
Johnston, who is 10 years Lukyanuk’s junior, will step up from ERC3 to ERC1 level on the Nyíregyháza-based event in a Citroën C3 R5, the same type of car Lukyanuk has used for his FIA European Rally Championship title defence this season.
Following the test, American Johnston explained how his Russian colleague – a renowned driver coach – had helped him to adapt and progress.
“The advice was more on braking and corner entry kind of things like downshifting,” said Johnston. “We also did some set-up development and it was good to know we were on the same path. Generally, he was happy, especially at the end of the day on the last few runs when we increased the pace and were committing, getting the car moving and rotating properly.
“He was really happy with my consistency and my pace. When he got behind the wheel, on his second pass of the stage, he matched my stage going up but was a tiny bit slower coming down. Obviously, I had done 16 runs over the stage and he had done two, so I’m not here to say I’m ‘faster than Lukyanuk’ by any means, but it was just good to know the foundation is there and the driving capability was in the ballpark. We just need to keep going and bring that kind of pace into an actual rally environment.”
Rally Hungary takes place from 8-10 November. Lukyanuk is battling Chris Ingram and Łukasz Habaj for the coveted title.