Sun 18 Feb 2024

Johansson jumps to debut WRC3 win

Teenage talent Mille Johansson completed his FIA World Rally Championship debut in style as he claimed the WRC3 laurels by almost 50sec aboard his Ford Fiesta Rally3.

A Junior ERC Championship graduate, the 18-year-old overcame his lack of four-wheel-drive experience to lead from Friday’s sixth stage.

 

Apart from a handful of spins, the Swede performed without fault alongside co-driver Johan Grönvall to head a WRC3 podium that included runner-up and FIA Rally Star programme member Romet Jürgenson from Estonia, plus third-placed Irishman Eamonn Kelly.

 

Johansson also topped the Junior WRC classification for a memorable home rally result.

 

“The feeling has been great all weekend, just some small driving mistakes losing some time, but we have taken that back and had a strong pace all weekend,” Johansson said. “I’m just very happy right now.”

Aside from the top three finishers, other strong performances came from Spain’s Raúl Hernández, Belgian Tom Rensonnet and Kazakhstan driver Petr Borodin, who came home fourth, fifth and sixth respectively.

 

Fabio Schwarz was sixth after Saturday’s final stage but the German teenager was unable to go the distance due to damage sustained to his Fiesta Raly3 when he struck a snowbank on SS16.

 

Australian Taylor Gill finished seventh ahead of Romania’s Junior ERC champion Norbert Maior, South African Max Smart and Spain’s Roberto Blach, who restarted on Sunday morning following suspension damage picked up on Saturday’s closing stage.

 

For Jan Černý, it was a case of what might have been on his Rally Sweden debut. The category winner on last month’s Rallye Monte-Carlo 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 gearbox issue forced his exit after SS12.

“I am happy with the speed we have shown, we are not specialists in this terrain and it has been our first experience in Sweden,” said the Tenerife-based driver. “We could have finished on the podium and scored some very important points, but that was not the case.”

 

Černý’s fellow Czech, Filip Kohn, was a double stage winner after earlier delays.

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