Josh McErlean will head to Rally Hungary with his Tarmac-driving confidence raised after he was able to “mix it” with some of the leading runners on Barum Czech Rally Zlín last month.
Although a mechanical issued ruled out a top 10 finish on the Tarmac event, the 24-year-old was able to learn plenty ahead of the FIA European Rally Championship season decider next month.
“Overall it was a good weekend from the start to the final morning,” the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy driver said. “And we’ve learned a lot, which was the main reason for doing the rally. It was frustrating, no doubt, that we got the [power] problem [on the final afternoon] but it was still a good learning experience and, coming here for the first time, it was good to mix it with some of the big boys on some of the stages and get our pace up. Hopefully we can go to Hungary and improve more.”
McErlean and co-driver James Fulton were eventually classified in 12th position among the ERC contenders in Zlín aboard their Pirelli-equipped Hyundai i20 N Rally2, while McErlean will take heart from the fact he finished 11th on his Rally Hungary debut in 2021.
“January was actually my last Tarmac event before Zlín,” McErlean said. “It was an hard event to come to and it was hard to get the confidence straight away but it was coming slowly but surely and it showed you how difficult this rally was with unfortunately Hayden [Paddon] going out. Hungary is next and it’s good to keep on Tarmac and keep building the pace.”
Rally Hungary takes place from 6 -8 October as the eighth and final round of the 2023 ERC season.
This article originally appeared on the fiaerc.com website on 05.09.23
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