Swedish rally star Mille Johansson secured a sensational podium finish in the opening round of the FIA Junior European Rally Championship in Hungary this weekend. After losing nearly nine minutes due to a double puncture, Mille and co-driver Johan Grönvall from secured seven stage wins and a third place in the Junior ERC.

This podium finish was the first for Mille and Johan in the FIA ERC, where they drive an Opel Corsa Rally4 for IKsport.

”Of course, it feels great to secure a podium in the ERC. It gives us valuable points in the championship and a good start to the season. We had some bad luck on Saturday, which prevented us from fighting for the win, but I still believe we demonstrated that we were the fastest on the stages,” says Mille.

”It feels incredible to finally clinch a podium in the ERC, even though we had hoped to stand a bit higher on the podium, to be honest,” Johan continues.

The rally, held on gravel in Hungary, started well for Mille and Johan, who were in contention for podium positions. However, on stage six, they lost nearly nine minutes due to two punctures and dropped to ninth place in the Junior ERC.

In total, they secured seven out of 13 stage wins, including five consecutive wins on Sunday, to then climb to third place on the final stage with a six-second margin.

”The rally was very tough and challenging. The roads resembled the Safari Rally in Kenya, but I would say even worse. There were large and sharp rocks on the road, which made punctures very likely, something we also experienced,” Mille continues.

After the opening round in Hungary, Mille and Johan are now in third place in the ERC standings, nine points behind Max McRae who leads. Next up is the first asphalt rally of the year on the Canary Islands on the first weekend of May.

”I’m looking forward to the next rally in the Canary Islands. We have a good plan leading up to that event, and I feel confident that we will adapt well to asphalt driving before then,” concludes Mille.