Star drive from ERC Junior champion Bergkvist
One, if not the, star drives of the Rallye International du Valais came from Emil Bergkvist – who finished fourth on his first rally in a four-wheel drive car.
There was little doubt that the 21-year old Swede would take full advantage of his ERC Junior title-winning prize-drive, but his performance exceeded even the very highest expectations.
Co-driven by Joakim Sjöberg, Bergkvist had been released from his Opel Motorsport contract for one week to enable him to take up his ERC Junior prize-drive in a Saintéloc Racing Peugeot 208 T16.
He drove intelligently as well as fast, learning the car and adjusting the pace notes on the first pass of a stage and putting his foot down a little more on the repeat runs. There is no better example of this than on the Nendaz test, when he was 13.2 seconds faster the second time through, setting third fastest time and flying confidently high over the famous jump.
Studying the recce video in the evenings also helped, and he soon looked very much at home in the car – finishing fourth, ahead of vastly more experienced four-wheel drive pilots.
“It was a really good rally, everything went to according to plan,” said Bergkvist with typical modesty. “We improved all the time. It was not so easy to do this rally for the first time, and also in an R5 car. I am really happy.”