Jun 1, 2015
Rüsselsheim. Highly motivated and full of confidence, the ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team is eagerly heading to the gravel adventure at the SATA Rallye Acores with its two works ADAM R2 machines. After victories at both previous FIA ERC Junior rounds, Swedish Opel works driver Emil Bergkvist (20, from Torsåker) has a solid lead with 78 points and a 42-point advantage over his closest competitor. After coming in second at the Rallye Circuit of Ireland, his German team colleague Marijan Griebel (26, from Hahnweiler) is now in fifth place in the FIA ERC Junior rankings.
The two drivers supported by ADAC and Opel have meticulously prepared for the third round of the FIA ERC Junior taking place on the Portuguese archipelago around 1,400 kilometers west of the European continent in the mid-Atlantic. Following intensive gravel training in Austria, the teams tackled individual test races. ERC Junior leader Bergkvist, who learned rallye driving on the gravel roads in his home country and feels right at home on this surface, easily won his class at the South Swedish Rallye with his co-driver Joakim Sjöberg in their ADAM R2. One week later, teammates Griebel and his co-driver Stefan Clemens were racing towards a podium finish in the extremely challenging Rallye de Portugal, part of the World Rallye Championship, when tire damage in the last stage led to suspension problems, forcing them to withdraw from the race. On the Monday before the Azores rallye, Bergkvist and Griebel were already on site for another test day in their race cars.
So the ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team drivers are full of optimism going into the third round of the season, which is already the mid-way point of the FIA ERC Junior 2015. “I am really looking forward to the Azores,” says Bergkvist. “I have watched a lot of on-board videos and can hardly wait to tackle this fantastic gravel track in my ADAM R2. Of course the competition is again going to be really tough. But the ADAM R2 has proven that it is a sensational rallye car on all surfaces. We are very well prepared and want to deliver a clean performance with as few mistakes as possible. If we manage that, then I am confident that we’ll again have a good shot at a podium spot.”
Team colleague Griebel adds: “To take part in a rallye in the fascinating countryside of the Azores is a dream come true for me. I’m expecting extremely challenging stages with constantly changing gravel surfaces. The quickly changing weather in the Azores can also play an important role. You have to be ready for everything. I wouldn’t go so far as to use the word routine after having raced in just one gravel rallye, but my two test runs and participation in the Portuguese WRC race were certainly very good preparation for the Azores. My main goal there is to successfully cross the finish line with the ADAM R2 and to score as many points as possible for the FIA ERC Junior.”
Taking part in the entire ERC Junior with a customer ADAM R2, Pole Aleks Zawada and his French co-driver Cathy Derousseaux are also racing under the Opel colors in the Azores.
The Rallye Acores covers a total distance of 725.8 kilometers, including 17 demanding gravel stages covering 216.6 kilometers. The rallye begins in Ponta Delgada on the largest island São Miguel on Thursday (June 4) at 3:45 p.m. local time (CEST minus 2 hours), and will be neutralized from 10:30 p.m. The next day the first leg will continue from 9 a.m. and finish around 9 p.m. The second leg starts on Saturday (June 6) at 8:30 a.m. and the finish line will be crossed around 7 p.m. Opel offers live timing on the website
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