Picture-Perfect Rally Season for Opel
· Opel wins FIA ERC Junior, first European title in 33 years
· Superb Opel ADAM R2 dominates its class
· ADAC Opel Rally Cup now Europe’s top breeding ground for aspiring young talent
Opel looks back at an extremely successful 2015 rally season. With young Swede Emil Bergkvist’s victory in the FIA ERC Junior Championship, the Rüsselsheim automaker celebrated its first European Championship title in 33 years. Bergkvist and Marijan Griebel, his German team-mate in the ADAC Opel Rally Junior Team, both impressively demonstrated the abilities of the 190 hp Opel ADAM R2. “I have no doubt that the ADAM R2 is currently the best car in its class,” says Bergkvist. It was only an unlucky tire puncture during the final championship event which prevented Griebel taking the runner-up spot in the title standings. He ultimately finished third.
The event at Ypres in Belgium was a memorable season highlight, ending in a three-way victory for Opel. Four of the six rounds in FIA ERC Junior, the world’s toughest rally series for young talent, were won by Opel teams in the ADAM R2. It was the latest chapter in the car’s outstanding success story: since its homologation in January 2014, this compact rally machine has won no less than 62 of the 99 events in which it has been entered, claiming five championship titles along the way. And the national rally championships in France and Spain are still in progress, with ADAM R2 drivers having excellent title chances in both of them.
The ADAC Opel Rally Junior Team’s success is also testimony to the coherence of the driver promotion concept developed jointly by Opel and the ADAC. As winners of the ADAC Opel Rally Cup, Griebel (2013) and Bergkvist (2014) both earned their spot on the works team, underlining the importance of the Cup as Europe’s top breeding ground for today’s aspiring young rally talent. The high quality and enormous depth of competition that’s on offer is also making an impression beyond Germany’s borders, as shown by the international make-up of the 2015 ADAC Opel Rally Cup field. Teams from eight countries competed in the 140 hp ADAM Cup car, often getting close to Top Ten placings in the overall rankings of the German Rally Championship – in many cases up against considerably more powerful cars.
Julius Tannert, 25, had already captured the 2015 ADAC Opel Rally Cup title before the season’s end. And he easily mastered what was perhaps the biggest challenge of the season in coming out on top in a major driver screening session during the season finale at the ADAC 3 City Rally. Tannert beat off the challenge of three competitors when he was chosen as the new driver for the 2016 ADAC Opel Rally Junior Team. “It’s a dream come true,” said an elated Tannert, who can look forward to an attractive and demanding program at the wheel of a works ADAM R2 next year.
Opel Motorsport Director Jörg Schrott looks back on the season with great satisfaction: “At the beginning of the season, it certainly wasn’t obvious that Opel would dominate the tough ERC Junior category with our ADAM R2. But we had the strongest overall package with the vehicle, our drivers and the team, and that’s something to be proud of. Both our works drivers had advanced as champions from the ADAC Opel Rally Cup, which makes our success that much sweeter. In just three years, the Cup has established itself as a real talent pool in motorsport. The best young drivers from all over Europe want to join us in the Cup because they see the quality of the field and excellent opportunities for advancement. And, what is perhaps just as important, the ADAC Opel Rally Cup is simply lots of fun – for participants and spectators alike.”