Opel clinches ERC Junior title, but where is our Corsa?

Now, here is a car brand I am still very hopeful about. After all, they did promise us big things, they even set some milestones and named the cars they were going to use over the next couple of years. Somewhere around 2015 or 2016 it was time for them to switch from segment A car to segment B machine, and as we all know, segment B means current WRC and Rx cars. I have no idea what did happen to that project and I don’t recall ever again hearing much about their supposedly very elaborate motor sport programme, but they did bring a valuable new platform to European rally scene. Their R2 car just took the ERC Junior title and their trophy series gave young drivers and co-drivers another option to launch their careers.

I don’t know what will become of Opel’s rallying programme, if such thing even exists. Maybe they do have some major announcements up their sleeve and maybe they are already working on the Corsa. I was hoping for more news and more interaction with motor sport fans and public in general. Nope, not yet. At the moment they’re competing in the European Rally Championship’s Junior category and the following release celebrates their 2015 European Champions title, and that’s about it. We did not learn anything new about their future plans, nor did we get any indication such information could surface anytime soon.

Care to share, Opel?

EDIT: Caught some possible answers on Twitter. Thanks Martin.

Opel is European Champion!

In its first full season of competition, the ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team with the Opel ADAM R2 has already taken the FIA ERC Junior by storm. With their second-place finish at the auto24 Rally Estonia, Emil Bergkvist (21, from Torsåker) and co-driver Joakim Sjöberg (29, from Ösmo) already won the title in the continent’s most fiercely contested Junior Rallye category one round before the season’s end. “I’m speechless,” beamed Bergkvist. “I want to thank everyone who contributed to this success, first and foremost Opel Motorsport and the whole team that always gave us a fantastic car. And of course my co-driver Jocke – without his perfect work this wouldn’t have been possible. The ERC Junior is so incredibly competitive that it takes a perfect team performance every time to get anywhere close to a podium finish. I really still can’t believe it!”

In addition to his high speed at the extremely fast gravel rallye in Estonia, Bergkvist also stole the show with an impressive and clever strategy. The two Swedes maintained a spot in the top 3 during all stages without taking incalculable risks for themselves and their ADAM R2. And they didn’t let a 10-second penalty right at the start of the rallye distract them. Bergkvist said, “We quickly found a good rhythm and were able to attack without going all out. The car once again ran like clockwork. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: the Opel ADAM R2 is the best rallye car in this category today.”

Also taking the two void results into account, Bergkvist/Sjöberg have a total of 128 points, which can no longer be achieved by any of their competitors. So the Barum Rallye season finale in the Czech Republic on the last weekend in August will be a show race for the two champions.

Opel Motorsport Director Jörg Schrott was full of praise: “One can’t applaud Emil’s and Joakim’s outstanding performance over the entire season enough. They were at the front of the field in every rallye and very cleverly captured the title. A huge compliment also goes to the whole ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team. This passionate dedication and fantastic team spirit were the key to success. And we are of course extremely proud of our ADAM R2 that proved its ability to win under all conditions. To secure the title early in this tough championship in the first full year is much more than we could have expected. It is simply fantastic!”

Marijan Griebel (26, from Hahnweiler) and his co-driver Stefan Clemens (29, from Thailen) finished the demanding rallye in the Baltics a strong sixth, giving them a good shot at capturing second place in the FIA ERC Junior at the final rallye in the Czech Republic. “This was one of the hardest rallies I’ve ever driven in,” admitted Griebel. “I am very happy with the result. A lot of teams showed how difficult it was to drive fast here and how easy it was to make a mistake. We got better and better during the rallye and again gathered loads of experience on gravel. And of course I’m thrilled for Emil and Jocke: they and the whole ADAC Opel Rallye Team really deserve this sensational success.”

In contrast, Pole Aleks Zawada and his French co-driver Cathy Derousseaux were plagued by bad luck in their customer ADAM R2. The winners of the Ypres Rallye hit a rock in the fourth stage that one of the cars in front of them catapulted onto the track. On impact a wheel suspension broke and these parts punched through the oil pan. The next day, Zawada/Derousseaux tackled the second leg with their repaired car, but were again prematurely stopped. A clogged radiator caused the ADAM R2 to overheat, dashing all chances of finishing the rallye.