Category Archives: European Rallying News

Opel returns to rallying!

Opel is returning to motor racing in the form of an internationally oriented rally program with the new Opel ADAM. “These new motorsports activities play an important role in the strategic re-alignment of the company; they are a fundamental element of our brand profile,” says Dr. Thomas Sedran, Opel’s Deputy CEO. Especially in grassroots, popular sports, the Ruesselsheim carmaker can look back on a long and successful tradition. The aim of the company is to create a new competition that appeals to customers which is both technically sophisticated and reasonably priced, while at the same time providing a platform for young ambitious drivers to continuously develop their talent.

With its commitment to rallying, Opel has the European stage now in its sights. After all, beyond the core market of Germany, there is a strong interest in rallying in all of the key European markets of the brand. Moreover, the World Motor Sport Authority FIA also has fixed regulations that provide entry points and advancement opportunities for young drivers. A rally cup version of the new Opel ADAM, which has been closely specified to FIA R2 standards, will be used in the 2013 season. As part of the “ADAC Rally Masters” race series these customer cars will compete in a branded cup (” ADAC Opel Rally Cup “). The allure of the competition is also increased by the fact that the most successful drivers can expect to win cash prizes. In addition, there is a special “junior rally” points system for drivers younger than 27 years. The overall winner of a set of final trials will get special coaching in the next season.

As a strong partner Opel was able to gain an ally in the ADAC that shares an almost identical vision for new talent development. Above all, the ADAC uses its organisational and motorsport infrastructure for the common project. Opel’s strategy has been devised to last initially until 2016. After that a modular development program has been envisaged where talented rally drivers can graduate from the “ADAC Opel Rally Cup” to an international level. In the first two of four stages, the ADAM will be employed. In stages three and four the next generation Opel Corsa is expected to be the rally vehicle.

The most successful era of the company’s rally history began in the mid-seventies. It was quite literally “driven” by the German driver, Walter Roehrl, one of the all-time top rally pilots. During his time with Opel, he and his Ascona A won the European championship title in 1974 and again in with the Ascona B in 1979. The crowning glory of the Regensburg man’s era was his world championship title in 1982. He achieved this with his legendary Ascona 400.

The new-look European Rally Championship gets a new logo too

To signal the beginning of the new-look FIA European Rally Championship from 2013, the promoter, Eurosport Events, has unveiled a new official logo and launched a new strapline, “Serious Competition Ahead”.

Designed to reflect the modern and fresh approach of the revamped ERC, the striking logo underlines the exciting nature of the all-action ERC, while the inclusion of a star re-enforces the European-centric nature of the championship, which will visit 13 countries across the continent next season. At the same time, Eurosport Events was keen for the logo to be a departure from the existing IRC and ERC designs, while, at the same time different from the current FIA World Rally Championship logo.

François Ribeiro, Motorsport Development Director of Eurosport Events, said: “We wanted a logo that was modern, that creates a strong identity that also promotes the championship’s European roots, while ensuring an appearance that differentiates the ERC from other motorsport series. We believe we have achieved these aims. At the same time, “Serious Competition Ahead” describes the ERC in a nutshell as we prepare to witness some fantastic action on the stages between great drivers and teams. It’s very positive to see the level of interest the ERC has generated since we have announced our agreement with the FIA one month and a half ago. We have no doubt competition will be high in 2013 in the drivers’ and teams’ championships.”

Eurosport Events has also launched a new Twitter page under the @FIAERC domain. The new official ERC Facebook page will be launched with a revamped ERC website due to go live in mid-December.