Podium place for the ADAC Opel Rally Junior Team on the Azores

Saturday, March 23, 2019
  • Exciting start to the fiercely contested European Junior Rally Championship 2019
  • The Swede Elias Lundberg will be third at his debut in the factory Opel ADAM R2.
  • Bad luck for team-mate Grégoire Munster at his first big gravel rally



Rüsselsheim/Munich/Ponta Delgada. The ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team on the Azores started into the European Rally Junior Championship (FIA ERC3 Junior) 2019 with a podium place for European Championship rookie Elias Lundberg. Although weakened by a feverish head flu, the 20-year-old Swede in the factory ADAM R2 on the difficult gravel tracks mixed from the outset in the fight for the front positions and achieved his first special stage best time in the FIA ERC3 Junior Championship on the first run of the legendary Sete Cidades special stage around the caldera of the volcano of the same name. 
Despite a puncture on Friday, which cost them a lot of time, Lundberg and his co-driver David Arhusiander clinched third place in the Junior standings and, in adverse weather conditions with heavy rain and gusts of wind, brought the podium finish safely to the finish on the final day. "I'm happy to be here," confessed last year's ADAC Opel Rally Cup Champion. "The conditions today were extreme, in some cases it was just a matter of keeping the car on the track. Given the circumstances, I'm very happy with the podium position. The ADAM R2 worked perfectly and already after the first day it was clear to me why the ADAC Opel Rally Junior Team won the European Junior Championship four times in a row. Everyone works extremely professionally and we feel we are in perfect hands. I'm already looking forward to the next rally."


Team mate Grégoire Munster didn't get through the 15 highly demanding special stages on the Azores main island São Miguel without any problems. In view of his limited gravel experience, the 20-year-old Luxembourger had started his first rally in the ADAC Opel Rally Junior Team prudently and had continuously increased his pace. Unfortunately a defective alternator regulator stopped the ADAM R2 of Munster and co-driver Louis Louka during the first passage of Sete Cidades (SS5), whereupon they had to end the first stage prematurely. In view of the huge 42-minute gap (7 minutes for each special stage not completed), the restart on Saturday served less to improve the result than to uncoil valuable gravel kilometres.
"It wasn't an easy debut in the ADAC Opel Rally Junior Team, but it was a very instructive one," Munster summarised. "It was clear to us that in this strong field we would have to pay tribute to our inexperience on gravel. Against this background I was very satisfied with our performance improvement during the rally. Technical problems can occur in rally racing, even with such a reliable vehicle as the Opel ADAM R2. Of course, the gearbox problems on the final day didn't make the task any easier for us. But in these bad weather conditions the finish was the most important thing."


Opel Motorsport Director Jörg Schrott commented positively on the appearance of his young newcomers: "Some would not even have got out of bed with such a bad flu, but Elias is also such a tough Scandinavian fighter. He did his job calmly and concentrated and showed several times that he can keep up with the speed of the fastest. Grégoire sold very well at his first big gravel rally. The level in the ERC3 Junior is enormously high this year. Compliments to Efrén Llarena and Sara Fernandez, who were very strong here. And regarding the external conditions I can only say: We're used to a lot of things here in the Azores. But I've never experienced such weather before..."
The next FIA ERC3 Junior Championship race will take place on Gran Canaria from 2 to 4 May.
Stand FIA ERC3 Junior after 1 of 6 runs:
1st Llarena 39 points. 2. Furuseth 29. 3. Lundberg 24. 4. Antunes 21. 5. Cais 16. 6. Talas 10. 11. Rokland 8. 12. Wagner 3.


Reproduced by courtesy of Opel Motorsport.

Picture Copyright: Opel Motorsport www.opel-motorsport.com


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