The ADAC Opel Rally Junior Team will once again face off against the European elite in the 2023 season.
As defending champions in the Junior European Rally Championship (JERC), the experienced team of Stohl Racing will again field an Opel Corsa Rally4 in 2023 with the driver’s seat going to last year’s ADAC Opel e-Rally Cup champion Timo Schulz. With four wins and five podium finishes, the 23-year-old German left his mark on the second season of the world’s first electric rally one-make cup and secured his promotion to the ADAC Opel Rally Junior Team by winning the title before the final race of the season. In the Junior European Championship, he will now take on the finest rally talents on the continent.
Six challenging competitions await Timo Schulz and his fellow competitors in the JERC 2023. The first half of the season already promises to be extremely challenging with the rounds in Poland, Latvia and Sweden all held on gravel. These will be followed by three rallies on asphalt in Italy, the Czech Republic and Hungary. Schulz will take part in a test rally in Hungary before the start of the JERC season in order to prepare himself for the gravel challenges he is not familiar with so far.
“I am really looking forward to this task but also have a lot of respect,” said Timo Schulz. “Anyone who has followed the JERC in recent years knows about the extremely high level of performance. It would certainly be presumptuous to believe that I am one of the contenders for victory right from the start – especially since the first three rallies take place on gravel. My goal is to catch up with the leaders as quickly as possible and to be able to challenge for podium finishes. The conditions could not be better: The Corsa Rally4 is one of the fastest cars in its category, in the ADAC Opel Rally Junior Team Manfred Stohl and his team will give me the best support, and my co-driver Michael Wenzel will give me confidence with his enormous experience. I can’t wait for the first rally!”
Michael Wenzel is one of the most experienced and competent co-drivers in Germany. The 46-year-old from Mehlingen in Rhineland-Palatinate contested his first rally back in 1996 and since then, he guided numerous top German drivers. Together with Markus Fahrner, Wenzel won the first championship title in the ADAC Opel Rally Cup in 2013.
Opel Motorsport Director Jörg Schrott has high expectations for his protégé Timo Schulz, but also warns against exaggerated expectations: “Timo has proven in the 2022 ADAC Opel e-Rally Cup that he can deliver his performance under a wide range of conditions and high pressure. We are convinced that he is ready to take the next steps in his development. But we also know how high the stakes are in the Junior European Championship. Timo will have to get used to this incredibly high level. The whole team will support him.”
ADAC Opel e-Rally Cup as a stepping stone to the ADAC Opel Rally Junior Team
With the ADAC Opel Rally Junior Team, both partners Opel and ADAC have already written an impressive success story: Five European Championship titles by Emil Bergkvist (Sweden, 2015), Marijan Griebel (Germany, 2016), Chris Ingram (Great Britain, 2017), Mārtiņš Sesks (Latvia, 2018) and Laurent Pellier (France, 2022) prove the effectiveness of the joint talent development. The battery-electric and thus locally emission-free Opel Corsa-e Rally has established itself as the perfect car for the junior rally cup. A sustainable, future-oriented concept and exciting competitions offer young drivers and teams the ideal platform to recommend themselves for higher orders. The champion of the ADAC Opel e-Rally Cup 2021, Laurent Pellier, proved this last year. Promoted to the ADAC Opel Rally Junior Team as the first winner of an electric one-make cup, the Frenchman dominated the 2022 European Junior Championship in the 156 kW/212 hp Corsa Rally4 with five wins in six rounds.
Junior European Rally Championship 2023 Calendar
19.-21.05. Rally Poland, Mikołajki PL
16.-18.06. Rally Latvia, Liepāja LV
06.-08.07. Royal Rally of Scandinavia, Karlstad S
28.-30.07. Rally di Roma Capitale, Fiuggi I
18.-20.08. Barum Czech Rally Zlín, Zlín CZ
06.-08.10. Rally Hungary, Nyíregyháza H