This weekend, Swede Mille Johansson will make his debut in the World Rally Championship (WRC) as he competes his the home event, Rally Sweden, in Umeå. Together with co-driver Johan Grönvall, they will compete in the Junior WRC.
Rally Sweden marks the first WRC event for 18-year-old Mille Johansson, who competed in the Junior European Rally Championship last year. It will also be Mille’s first time driving a four-wheel-drive car, as all Junior WRC participants compete in identical Ford Fiesta Rally3 cars from M-Sport Poland. A record-breaking field of 19 cars awaits in this weekend’s Rally Sweden.
”I’m excited to start the season with my WRC debut, especially on home turf. Winter conditions are what I like the most, and I feel that I can perform at my best. We’ve conducted our first test with the Rally3 car in Norway, which felt good, and we have a good feeling going into Rally Sweden. It’s up to me and getting the pace notes right during the recce. If we succeed in that, it feels like we have good chances for a strong finish,” says Mille.
Ahead of Rally Sweden, Mille and Johan have conducted extensive testing in a similar four-wheel-drive car to be as well-prepared as possible.
Rally Sweden is the first of five events in this year’s Junior WRC (JWRC). Mille and Johan face tough competition in the class, including Romania’s Norbert Maior, who won the ERC Junior last year.
”This is going to be really exciting. The WRC has always been a dream, and now it’s finally time. The feeling is really good, and I’ve put in incredibly much preparation, so now we’ll do everything to show that we have the speed in the car. The goal is to go through all stages with a good feeling and speed and gain a lot of experience for the future,” says Johan.
Rally Sweden, Sweden’s largest annual recurring event, attracts tens of thousands of visitors and over 100 million TV viewers worldwide. With Umeå as the base, the competition starts on Thursday evening with a spectacular stage in central Umeå with nearly 40,000 people in the audience. The competition consists of 18 stages with the finish on Sunday.