New line-up, same objective for Opel ERC squad

New line-up, same objective for Opel ERC squad

06/03/2018 18:00

The ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team might have changed its driver line-up for 2018 but the objective remains unchanged: to continue its winning streak in ERC Junior.

Tom Kristensson and Mārtiņš Sesks are the two drivers charged with flying the ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team flag in the FIA ERC Junior Under 27 Championship this season and both have the potential to shine in the six-event series, the ultimate training ground for young hopefuls aiming for the top.

Kristensson, from Sweden, steps up from the ADAC Opel Rallye Cup in Germany as champion, while Latvian Sesks is a product of the ERC Junior Experience driver training programme and came close to winning ERC Junior U27 on his home event, Rally Liepāja, last October.

They will begin their campaigns on the Azores Airlines Rallye from 22-24 March and will also include Germany’s round of the world championship in August on their schedules for the year ahead.

“The title in the ADAC Opel Rallye Cup and advancement into the ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team are still a dream come true for me,” said 26-year-old Kristensson, who will be co-driven by Henrik Appelskog. “With three European championships in a row, our predecessors have set the bar incredibly high. So the desire and motivation to follow in their footsteps is tremendous.”

Eighteen-year-old Sesks, who will link up with new co-driver Renārs Francis for 2018, said: “One of my biggest goals in rallying was to be able to drive in a professional team like the ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team. Now it’s up to us to make the best of this huge opportunity.”

Jean-Baptiste Ley, the ERC Co-ordinator, said: “The ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team has consistently set the standard in ERC Junior for others to beat. In Tom Kristensson and Mārtiņš Sesks it has two drivers capable of continuing that tradition in what will be a very competitive field. Kristensson is one of a number of drivers who is moving up to ERC Junior having gained experience and proved his talent at national level. Sesks has been enrolled in the ERC Junior Experience training programme and we look forward to watching him utilise all the skills he’s learned and the knowledge that’s been given to him.”

The ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team’s run of success in ERC Junior makes highly impressive reading with Emil Bergkvist starting the sequence in 2015. Marijan Griebel followed his lead in 2016 with Chris Ingram taking the crown for the German squad last season. Jari Huttunen finished runner-up to team-mate Ingram having graduated to the ERC as the winner of the 2016 ADAC Opel Rallye Cup.

Mārtiņš Sesks has regained first place in the FIA European Rally Championship’s Under 27 category on Azores Airlines Rallye, following adjustments to stage times awarded in SS8 and SS9 related to incidents causing delays for multiple drivers.

Tamara Molinaro continues to head the ERC Ladies’ Trophy category on the Azores Airlines Rallye, while Emma Falcón retired with back pain before midday service.

Sergei Remennik has resumed his lead of Azores Airlines Rallye’s FIA European Rally Championship ERC2 category, following an unfortunate retirement for nearest challenger Zelindo Melegari with clutch failure.

Diogo Gago took on the might of ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team’s pair of FIA ERC Junior Under 27 factory drivers on the Azores Airlines Rallye’s Friday stages and succeeded aboard his PEUGEOT 208 R2, moving from third to first over the course of a dramatic multi-way battle.

Chris Ingram and Martin Koči traded places throughout Friday’s Azores Airlines Rallye stages in a tight battle for FIA ERC Junior Under 28 victory.

The Azores Airlines Rallye once again showed why it is such a formidable opening round of the FIA European Rally Championship, but as others hit trouble, Russian Performance Motorsport’s Alexey Lukyanuk held steady out front.