Rally driver Mille Johansson from Sweden drove his first rally in Junior European Rally Championship this past weekend, when he and co-driver Johan Grönvall attended Rally Poland. Mille and Johan got off to a successful start when they won the first stage of the rally, and were fifth when they had to retire with technical problems on Sunday.

– The weekend has been fun, educational and tough. The pace in the class was as we had expected, which was fast. We did the best we could to keep up in terms of speed, which I think we managed just fine, says Mille.

– The goal for Sunday was to drive on maximum attack to try to climb to fourth place, but we went too fast on stage ten and hit a hay bale quite hard. After that we slowed down to maintain fifth place and secure important points in the championship. But it didn’t happen that way, instead a drive shaft broke 100 meters after the start on stage 13.

The competition was the first for Mille and Johan together, and also the first of a total of five competitions in ERC Junior, where they compete for the Slovenian team IKsport in a Ford Fiesta Rally4.

– I think everything has worked well throughout the week. Johan and I get along well, and we learn a lot all the time. Our tire strategy now means that we have two more tires than the others for the next round in Latvia. The driving has also worked well all weekend, with a stage win directly on stage one, and several top times, Mille sums up.

– It has been a tough and intense weekend with hard work and long days. But a terribly fun and educational weekend, says Johan. In my opinion, it was a very good ERC-debut for both me and Mille. We have shown that the speed is there, and set good times on several of the stages.

One competition may be counted out of the points tally, which means that all future rallies will be incredibly important for Mille and Johan. The next event will be held in Latvia on June 17-18, also on gravel. 

– We will sit down and analyze the rally, and after that can we see what we have to do to come back even stronger in Latvia, concludes Johan.