Thu 20 Jun 2024

Hits and misses but big potential on show in Junior ERC

While Mille Johansson, Calle Carlberg and Karl-Markus Sei celebrated finishing on the BAUHAUS Royal Rally of Scandinavia podium, there were plenty of other strong performances for the Hankook-equipped FIA Junior ERC drivers in Sweden. Here’s a reminder.

Raftery keeps on delivering: Aoife Raftery continued her experience-building mission in seventh place. And while Daniel Polášek is now ahead of her in the title standings, the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy driver completes the first half of the Junior ERC season in fifth position in the provisional championship order. “My lack of experience is a major thing but we keep working at it,” said Raftery, who’d never rallied prior to 2021.

Müller takes the positives after rain proves to be a pain: Liam Müller’s pursuit of more Junior ERC points was on track when he sadly went off track in the stage-seven rain. “Three corners before the finish unfortunately we crashed into a tree, went on the side of the car, into another tree and back on the road but the car is finished. It was in fifth gear, so very fast. It was raining on the stage and I think this was the biggest problem because it was a little muddy in the cut and the back of the car slides out of the cut and we slide into the tree. For every stage it was getting better because you learn how to drive here and it was a lot of fun.”

Rookie Lie-Nilsen scores and learns plenty: Norwegian Herman Lie-Nilsen marked his Junior ERC debut, and his first start outside his homeland, by bagging championship points in eighth position. He also has a firm plan in place: “We were learning and trying to push the limits. You need commitment but you need the experience to have the commitment so I will go home and watch the videos and learn. But it doesn’t help to learn if you are off the road.”

Huge promise but zero reward for ACI Team Italia’s talented trio: It was a case of plenty of potential but no points for ACI Team Italia’s line-up of Geronimo NerobuttoDavide Pesavento and Mattia Zanin. Nerobutto failed to get beyond the 5.4-kilometre mark of SS2 after he rolled at high speed. Pesavento took two stage wins but crashed out on the final afternoon, while Zanin was on course for a Junior ERC top five when he went off the road on Saturday morning second stage.

McRae keeps his spirits up with memories of family rallying mishaps: Max McRae completed BAUHAUS Royal Rally of Scandinavia still in second place in the title standings but with stories of not one but two rolls to tell. After rolling into retirement on SS2, the recently-turned 20-year-old was briefly on his roof on SS15. “It was a small soft roll, downhill, a tight-left corner and there were some rocks on the line. I tried to miss them but it understeered on the loose. I pulled the handbrake but super-slow it just tipped over. No extra damage was done but it was just super-frustrating, a weekend to forget. We had good pace coming back from the crash with the two stage wins, but that’s rally, my uncle [Colin] and my dad [Alister] had more than one bad week and brought cars home a lot worse than mine.”  

The chase for Junior ERC glory continues on Delfi Rally Estonia, a high-speed gravel event from 5 -7 July. Keep visiting for more Junior ERC driver news.

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