ADAC Opel Rally Junior Team comes away empty-handed at the start of the 2024 European Rally Championship. Premature end for Calle Carlberg and Timo Schulz in the Corsa Rally4 at Rally Hungary. Opel works junior Carlberg fights for podium places in the Junior European Championship until retirement.

The season opener of the Junior European Rally Championship (JERC) 2024 in Hungary took an unfortunate course for the ADAC Opel Rally Junior Team. After a strong start, Calle Carlberg (23, Sweden) and Timo Schulz (24, Siersburg) had to retire their Opel Corsa Rally4 prematurely after they each experienced an incident on one of the demanding gravel special stages around Veszprém, not far from Lake Balaton.

Calle Carlberg and his Norwegian co-driver Jørgen Eriksen (30), in particular, had been running well until the retirement. Last year’s champion of the ADAC Opel Electric Rally Cup “powered by GSe” got off to a flying start in the 212 hp customer sports racer from Rüsselsheim, set his first fastest time in the European Championship in the third special stage and settled in second place in the field of 17 strong Rally4 cars in the JERC classification. With a podium finish in sight, the fast Scandinavian had to park his car in SS10 after he had touched a stone on Sunday morning which led to consequential damage to the suspension.

“It was just a small mistake, but unfortunately it had serious consequences,” Carlberg explained. “Unfortunately, we hit a stone on the racing line in SS8, which led to a puncture. We drove three kilometers with the flat tire, which unfortunately damaged a wishbone, which then broke two stages later. It was a shame, because things had been going really well until then. We were able to fight for the podium places without having to take unnecessary risks. Of course, a top position at the start of the season would have been perfect, but sometimes things can go the other way very quickly in rallying. Now it’s on us to keep our heads down and attack again next time.”

The Rally Hungary had already ended for Timo Schulz and co-driver Michael Wenzel (47, Mehlingen) on Saturday morning. The ADAC Opel Electric Rally Cup 2022 champion damaged the radiator of the Corsa Rally4 when he went off the track. The planned restart on Sunday turned out to be impossible after the technical crew of the ADAC Opel Rally Junior Team discovered consequential damage to the three-cylinder turbo engine during service. “We are obviously extremely disappointed,” said Schulz. “This is exactly how we didn’t want to start the season. All the more reason for us to learn from the mistake and do better at the second round in Gran Canaria. I’m really looking forward to this asphalt rally and will do everything I can to make up for the mishap here in Hungary.”

Opel Motorsport Director Jörg Schrott backed his protégés: “Of course, we had imagined a different start to the season. But the stages here in Hungary were very tough on the tires and the vehicle. The fact that mistakes can happen is part of the game. It’s important that Calle and Timo don’t let their heads drop and save the causes of the failures under their personal learning curves. The speed is there with both drivers, and the Corsa Rally4 has once again proven to be fully competitive. I am sure that the ADAC Opel Rally Junior Team will be a force to be reckoned with again at the next round in Gran Canaria.”

The second round of the Junior European Rally Championship will take place from May 2 to 4 as part of the Rally Islas Canarias around Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.