Sat 17 Feb 2024

Johansson three stages away from WRC3 glory

Mille Johansson edged closer to a debut FIA WRC3 Championship victory with a performance that belied his 18 years on Rally Sweden’s second leg.

The teenager, who also tops the FIA Junior WRC Championship order, began leg two today (Saturday) with a reduced margin of 26.8s over Romet Jürgenson after the FIA Rally Star driver’s time on SS4 was adjusted due to an on-stage delay.


Johansson’s advantage was trimmed further to 25.3 sec when Jürgenson set the fastest time on the day-opening SS9. But the Swede hit back on SS11 with the quickest run to move 37.5sec ahead of his Estonian rival, who made a small mistake during the 28.06km stage. 


After SS10 winner Diego Domínguez went quickest again on SS12, Junior ERC graduate Johansson proved the driver to beat on SS13 to move 55.3sec clear of Jürgenson.

Jürgenson set the SS14 benchmark but will head into Sunday’s final trio of stages with a deficit of 55.0sec to overcome after Johansson was fastest through SS15.


Ireland’s Eamonn Kelly is third overnight followed by Spaniard Raúl Hernández, Belgian Tom Rensonnet and Fabio Schwarz.


German teenager Schwarz was in third place when he stopped 13.9km into SS14 with coolant leaking from his Ford Fiesta Rally3. Although he was able to continue, the delay dropped him to seventh place before he took sixth when Roberto Blach retired on SS15 with a damaged steering rod.

Jan Černý, who began his Rally Sweden debut on top of the WRC3 standings after he won the Rally3-based category on Rallye Monte-Carlo last month, was leading by 13.5sec after four stages. But an off two kilometres from the start of SS5 left his Fiesta with significant front-end damage. The Czech returned to action on Saturday morning but after setting a succession of top six stage times, a mechanical failure forced his exit on SS13.


Like Černý, Jakub Matulka restarted on leg two after crashing on Friday. The Polish ERC3 graduated served notice of his intent with a brace of top-three stage times in the afternoon.


Rally Sweden concludes on Sunday with a three-stage route covering 61.08 timed kilometres. The 25.50km Västervik test from 07:27 local time is up first.

Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM