Wed 12 Jun 2024

Italian job aids Müller’s need for speed but German expects Swedes to lead in Junior ERC

Liam Müller plans to capitalise on his experience gained competing in the Italian Gravel championship when he makes his debut on BAUHAUS Royal Rally of Scandinavia, this week’s third round of the FIA Junior ERC Championship.

Müller, fifth in the Hankook-equipped category standings after two events, is a novice of fast-paced gravel events but isn’t daunted by the prospect of going flat out between the trees.  

“The rally is definitely very quick,” said Müller, who has prepared for the event by watching onboard footage. “But due to my experience with the Škoda Fabia Rally2 in the Italian Gravel championship, I am now used to these high speeds.” 

Müller, 20, has knowledge of driving in Sweden but only on ice and snow when he supports his father Wolfgang Müller at a winter driver training camp each year. He’s tipped Opel-powered Swedes Calle Carlberg (pictured below) and Mille Johansson for big things on their home round of the Junior ERC championship.  

“I expect the two Swedes, Mille Johansson and Calle Carlberg, to lead the field at their home rally,” Müller said. “For us, the third or fourth place would be a very good result. I’m really looking forward to experience Sweden without snow.”

Carlberg, 23, said: “Royal Rally of Scandinavia is the highlight of the year for me. Last year I was close to getting a start, but unfortunately it didn't work out. So I’m all the more looking forward to my debut at this rally. Some of the special stages, especially Colins, have awakened my love for rallying. Even at the age of six, I admired idols like Petter Solberg as a spectator. And now I'm going to drive these legendary stages myself in front of all the passionate Swedish rally fans, especially at Colin's Crest.”  

Johansson (pictured below) starts BAUHAUS Royal Rally of Scandinavia two points ahead of Max McRae with both drivers having taken a Junior ERC win apiece in 2024. He said: “Of course it’s one of the highlights of the season and I’m really looking forward to it.”

Meanwhile, Patrik Hallberg is preparing to swell the Swedish ranks on BAUHAUS Royal Rally of Scandinavia. And after finishing runner-up to Isak Reiersen in 2023, the 20-year-old is one of several young talents expected to challenge for top spot this weekend.   

Herman Lie-Nilsen has travelled from neighbouring Norway to make his Junior ERC debut. He will partner Hungarian Patrik Herczig in a second HRT Racing-run Peugeot 208 Rally4.  

Czech Daniel Polášek, ACI Team Italia trio Geronimo Nerobutto, Davide Pesavaneto and Mattia Zanin, Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy’s Aoife Raftery (pictured bottom) and Estonian Karl-Markus Sei are also in contention for Junior ERC honours.

Schulz hoping to score in Sweden
Germany’s Timo Schulz (pictured above) has accepted a very special challenge on Thursday. The ADAC Opel Junior Team driver, a Junior ERC winner last season, will take part in a penalty shootout with a difference against Scotland’s Max McRae.   

The two nations are playing in the opening match of UEFA Euro 2024 in Munich on Friday evening and Schulz and McRae will take penalties – but behind the wheel of their respective Opel Corsa Rally4 and Peugeot 208 Rally4.   

“It's going to be great fun,” Schulz said. “I'll give it my all and try to show the Scots that German cars are not only fast, but also accurate. I picked up a few tricks last weekend at the European Autoball Championship.”

How to watch?
Fans across the globe can experience the excitement and drama of the ERC with every stage of every rally broadcast platform. In addition, the ERC is broadcast in a number of countries around the world and fans are advised to check local listings for details.   

BAUHAUS Royal Rally of Scandinavia 2024: the key numbers 
Stages: 17
Competitive distance: 191.05 kilometres 
Total distance: 898.13 kilometres

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