Astra OPC Cup & ADAM Rally Cup | Opel returns to Motorsports

Opel has made an official media release on their interests back into the world of motorsports with great ambitions in both Circuit Racing & on Rally Stages. Their immediate attack plan is with their new compact car Opel ADAM with R2 specs for the rally & new Opel Astra OPC for circuit racing.

Opel had a strong presence in their early years of rallying, initial years dating back to the 1970's with their winning driver being none other than Walter Roehrl in Opel Ascona 400. The new generations rally & racing cars will definitely open up a new chapter into the world of Motorsport. The future of Motorsport is definitely looking good.

The official media release is as below [media release link here].

Opel is returning to motor racing in the form of an internationally oriented rally program with the new Opel ADAM and a circuit for the new Astra OPC that focusses on Germany. "These new motorsports activities play an important role in the strategic re-alignment of the company; they are a fundamental element of our brand profile," says Dr. Thomas Sedran, Opel’s Deputy CEO. Especially in grassroots, popular sports, the Ruesselsheim carmaker can look back on a long and successful tradition. The aim of the company is to create a new competition that appeals to customers which is both technically sophisticated and reasonably priced, while at the same time providing a platform for young ambitious drivers to continuously develop their talent.

Rally: Professional talent development in cooperation with the ADAC

With its commitment to rally sports, Opel has the European stage now in its sights. After all, beyond the core market of Germany, there is a strong interest in rallying in all of the key European markets of the brand. Moreover, the World Motor Sport Authority FIA also has fixed regulations that provide entry points and advancement opportunities for young drivers. A rally cup version of the new Opel ADAM, which has been closely specified to FIA R2 standards, will be used in the 2013 season. As part of the "ADAC Rally Masters” race series these customer cars will compete in a branded cup (" ADAC Opel Rally Cup "). The allure of the competition is also increased by the fact that the most successful drivers can expect to win cash prizes. In addition, there is a special "junior rally" points system for drivers younger than 27 years. The overall winner of a set of final trials will get special coaching in the next season.

As a strong partner Opel was able to gain an ally in the ADAC that shares an almost identical vision for new talent development. Above all, the ADAC uses its organizational and motorsport infrastructure for the common project. Opel's strategy has been devised to last initially until 2016. After that a modular development program has been envisaged where talented rally drivers can graduate from the “ADAC Opel Rally Cup” to an international level. In the first two of four stages, the ADAM will be employed. In stages three and four the next generation Opel Corsa is expected to be the rally vehicle.

Circuit: “Astra OPC Cup” part of the VLN endurance championships

The automotive element of Opel’s involvement on the circuit is the new Astra OPC. It is being made available from the 2013 season onwards as a racing version for customer sports. The Cup cars are engineered to match the "VLN Endurance Championship" standards which are the most popular grass roots racing series in Europe. The cars will also compete in a brand trophy in their own class ("Astra OPC Cup"). The highlight of the season is expected to be a 24-hour race on the Nuerburgring race track.

An especially attractive benefits package is being offered for private competitors, which is not limited to top performance and affordable cutting edge racing technology. In addition to the rally project, there is a pot of money with attractive cash prizes. Additionally, customers benefit from competitively priced spare parts as well as technical and organizational support on and off the race track.

Motor sports history: Opel creates milestones

The most succesful era of the company’s rally history began in the mid-seventies. It was quite literally “driven” by the German driver, Walter Roehrl, one of the all-time top rally pilots. During his time with Opel, he and his Ascona A won the European championship title in 1974 and again in with the Ascona B in 1979. The crowning glory of the Regensburg man’s era was his world championship title in 1982. He achieved this with his legendary Ascona 400. Opel is just as at home on the racing circuit. In grass root touring cars competitions, the brand with the famous lightening logo achieved countless successes on its home turf, the northern loop of the Nuerburgring race track. From 1993 onwards Manuel Reuter became a favorite with the fan community thanks to his Calibra V6 that competed professionally. He first drove it in the DTM competition and eventually won a title in the subsequent ITC series. Further highlights included the car makers’ championship of the DTM/ITC in 1998 in the STW series with the help of his Vectra. Overall victory in the 24-hour Nuerburgring race 2003 was achieved with an Astra V8 coupe.

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Grand Prix Of The Americas - Austin, Texas

After the much waited arena of the American battlefield on the Formula 1 - Grand Prix, Austin has gone the cowboy way to make it a winning success for the Brit's Lewis Hamilton. The track was really a pleasant to watch it from the earlier video of the under construction with the F1 car still managed to scorch the dusty tracks with style, the end result was nothing short but overwhelming (video featured here below).

It may not be the first track built for the pinnacle of car racing in the American soil, but it did definitely roar in success for the Austin's & the whole of the American Motorsport community to carry home a healthy smile on their faces.

The battle was nothing short of excellent performance by the teams & their star drivers who did leave nothing short of the enthralling experience, what the fans expected. Redbull star driver & two times World Champion driver put up an his skill to his limits, and so did the rest of the competition. The signature blinding crest over a corner was really something that demanded the utmost understanding of the track & it was there the race made the difference from the rest of the following lot.

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WRC - 2012 | Season Finale - Rally RACC | Sebastien Loeb - Wins

WRC 2012 Season Finale, RallyRACC Espana has concluded at Spain a few mins ago, and the unbeatable Sebastien Loeb has triumphed his last full-time outing's WRC event in style. He has proved what it takes to be super consistent and fast at the same time and it definitely yielded him 9 crowns without a glitch since 2004. Jari-Matti Latvala finally seems to have gotten what it takes to win rallies, by trailing with just at 7s to the leader is truly remarkable. Hope he puts it to good use in his new team & car from the coming season onwards, and won the Power Stage and claiming the 3 bonus points. Mikko Hirvonen finished on the third place with his ever consistent driving and taking good care of the car. It was perhaps Mads Ostberg who will be still lingering around to recall what he really needs to learn, and perhaps that is most important for the upcoming season as he pretty much has the stuff in him to make a winner. He finished the event in 4th overall, who was in top position at the end of day 1.

Dani Sordo, the local hero & the lone driver at Prodrive Mini WRT took 2 bonus points for being 2nd fastest through the Power Stage. He had a very bad season this year since after the opening rally at Monte Carlo. Ott Tanak, the young driver from Estonia had a good 4th overall until he went off in SS16, a very unlucky day to him! Another young driver Hans Weijs, from Nederlands had his first every outing in a WRC car and all was going ok, until he too crashed early today and retired. So it was Jarkko Nikara, a young Finn who took to the 5th and the last driver in the top order WRC cars.

Craig Breen finished in 6th overall & also won the SWRC championship along with the event. Mexican, Benito Guerra too clinched his finished ever PWRC title & finishing18th overall in the weekend's event.

Here are some donuts of the event, enjoy & don't forget to comment back to this article! :-)

Overall Top 10 Results

1.1S. LOEBM4:14:
2.3J. LATVALAM4:14:36.1+7.0+7.0
3.2M. HIRVONENM4:16:15.9+1:39.8+1:46.8
4.10M. ØSTBERGM4:16:25.5+9.6+1:56.4
5.23J. NIKARA4:30:37.0+14:11.5+16:07.9
6.32C. BREENS4:32:39.5+2:02.5+18:10.4
7.12C. ATKINSON4:33:43.8+1:04.3+19:14.7
8.33P. ANDERSSONS4:34:45.2+1:01.4+20:16.1
9.37D. SORDO4:40:09.7+5:24.5+25:40.6
10.22E. NOVIKOV4:40:15.7+6.0+25:46.6
_ ______ _ ______ _
Final Day - Highlights Video

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Rally RACC, Spain - 2012 | Day 2 - Update

Loeb took over the top of the mantle after the expected battle over the sealed surface stages that followed from the opening of Day 2. Ostberg who was the leader at the start of the day, went down to 5 position after too many issues with his car and hence losing time in the process. He was complaining of wrong tyre choice & a bad damper setup at the first half of the day, where he had an off on the second stage, the biggest loosing nearly 40s and also a small impact to the armco followed that lost almost the confidence that he had started the day.

Behind the leader, the Ford Ace, Latvala too encashed the opportunity wisely without much drama, and also posted an opening stage win of the day, and making good process later through. Mikko too kept his rhythm to the best and took the third overall after SS12. Ott Tanak had a brilliant drive, and he too bypassed Mads and took to the 4th overall at the final stage, after winning it at the end of the day. If this was the news about the well known regular boys, the newcomers Hans Weijs put up an applaudable in this first outing in a WRC car. He is sitting in overall 6th, though the gap is too big & also it was eventually given to him by the retiree's,.. well thats rally, when he held on the well-known's were falling off!!

The leaderboard after the end of Day 2 was as below,

1.1S. LOEBM3:16:
2.3J. LATVALAM3:16:41.1+27.0+27.0
3.2M. HIRVONENM3:17:28.2+47.1+1:14.1
4.5O. TÄNAKM3:17:42.9+14.7+1:28.8
5.10M. ØSTBERGM3:17:45.5+2.6+1:31.4
6.7H. WEIJSM3:25:17.0+7:31.5+9:02.9
7.22E. NOVIKOV3:29:39.2+4:22.2+13:25.1
8.23J. NIKARA3:29:53.2+14.0+13:39.1
9.12C. ATKINSON3:32:55.5+3:02.3+16:41.4
10.21M. PROKOP3:40:51.8+7:56.3+24:37.7

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Rally RACC, Spain - 2012 | Day 1 - Update

After the opening day of the final round of the WRC season, Mads Ostberg leads the rally by a mere margin of 27.2s to Loeb, who is in the second and Jari-Matti Latvala in third with 47s down the leader. It was an exciting rally for the finishers and dreadful for the retiree's as they had to deal with the gremlins of the dual surface rally, topped up with rain, mud & muck apart from the horrifiying rocks unevenly lining the side of the stages. In the second stage itself there were 3 retirements, with Thierry Neuville, Petter Solberg, & Andreas Mikkelsen perfectly clipping the same rock to knock out the wheels off their respective cars. The retirement drama continued till SS5, while SS6 being just 2kms long within the city did give the safe half of the WRC drivers to a safely finishing the day & bringing their cars to the service park in good shape.

Day 2 & 3 is altogether an asphalt rally & needs a complete changeover from the Day 1's gravel spec to asphalt spec, which is also regulated & has to be done in just 75minutes. So it will be a sleepless night for the service crew as they not only have to change the specs of the running cars, but also they have to fix the damages of the retired cars which will be running in Rally2 format coming morning.

As far as the rally is shaping up, Mads Ostberg will have to put up a masterpiece of driving to keep his position, as the all-asphalt attack will be on charge behind him the next stage onwards. It will be an advantage to be first on the road on the tarmac stages as it will have cleaner surface without any mud/gravel drawn by the rally cars & hope the young Norwegian gets the necessary luck & rhythm to do it right. "I'm very happy with how today has gone. Maybe it will be difficult to keep Sebastien Loeb behind me but tomorrow is a new day so we will see," says Ostberg at the end of the stage. 

Day 1 leaderboard after SS6 is as below.
1.10M. ØSTBERGM1:41:
2.1S. LOEBM1:41:59.6+27.2+27.2
3.3J. LATVALAM1:42:19.4+19.8+47.0
4.2M. HIRVONENM1:42:35.0+15.6+1:02.6
5.5O. TÄNAKM1:42:43.2+8.2+1:10.8

Day 1 - Action

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RACCRally Spain - 2012 | WRC - Round 13 | Qualifying

Thursday was the last qualification day of the season finishing event of 2012 as well as for Official Ford World Rally Team. Sebastien Loeb emerged quickest & surprisingly it was the young Russian, Evgeny Novikov who came second fastest with just 1/10th of a second the leader, the 9-times World Rally Champion driver.

  1. Loeb (DS3 WRC) 2’06’1
  2. Novikov (Fiesta WRC) 2’06’2
  3. Hirvonen (DS3 WRC) 2’06’4
  4. Latvala (Fiesta WRC) 2’06’6
  5. Solberg (Fiesta WRC) 2’06’9
  6. Neuville (DS3 WRC) 2’07’4
  7. Sordo (Mini WRC) 2’07’5
  8. Tänak (Fiesta WRC) 2’07’6
  9. Ostberg (Fiesta WRC) 2’07’7
  10. Prokop (Fiesta WRC) 2’09’5
  11. Weijs (DS3 WRC) 2’09’6
  12. Nikara (Mini WRC) 2’10’3
  13. Atkinson (Mini WRC) 2’10’6
  14. Oliveira (Fiesta WRC) 2’11’2
  15. Al-Kuwari (Mini WRC) 2’15’6
  16. Powell (Fiesta WRC) 2’18’4
  17. Nobre (Mini WRC) 2’21’1

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FIA WRC - Season 2013 | S1T is 'OUT' of & SiT is 'IN'

FIA has announced a new timing partner for the coming season from the earlier long time partner to the Spanish, Sistemas Integrales de Telecomunicación. Simon de Banke was the owner of the 'de Banke' group of companies of which Stage1Tech was one of it.

In their press release, FIA has only mentioned the merits of the new provider and has not given any reason for the exiting of the proven and consistent existing provider, S1T. Hope the move is for good and nothing has cooked bad, 'behind the scenes'. When 'Stage1Tech' released the video of their involvement in the sports had hinted about the long happening in the inside, but was not conclusive enough. Hope! Hope is all that we can do, as the new company not only boasts of having a larger head-count, but also its own fleet of aircrafts to do the job. And its pretty obvious all of these definitely does not come for free!

Stage 1 was there and had given us what we would have wanted, those live feeds, updates from ground zero and has definitely done it without any drama. Even as recently when the promoters were falling out, it was this team who held on without a single spell or murmur. Atleast FIA should have had given them the credit of what they had managed so far, and not just tell us wonders of what the new team / company is capable of.

The media release from FIA goes as below,
"The FIA has entered into exclusive negotiations with Sistemas Integrales de Telecomunicación to provide the timing and safety tracking services for the FIA World Rally Championship from 2013. The Spanish sports technology group would also be responsible for delivering this all-important data to the Championship Promoter, the content being an integral part of its vision to develop and enhance the television and digital product.

Based in Madrid, Sistemas Integrales de Telecomunicación has 78 employees dedicated to providing high-level technology across a broad range of sports. With its own fleet of seven airplanes and eight helicopters, the company’s experience in delivering rally-related expertise dates back to 1985. Its various telecommunications technology, timing, tracking, results, broadcast transmission and real-time internet services have since been used on the Spanish Rally Championship, Rally Cataluña, Rally de Portugal, Baja España, the Race of Champions and La Vuelta a España, a multi-stage cycling event which is part of the UCI World Tour. The company is also the exclusive Tag Heuer Timing representative for Spain since 1992.

Sistemas Integrales de Telecomunicación will use proven UHF radio wave technology, familiar within the World Rally Championship and frequently used for television broadcast purposes."

So the question is whether the decision is of the new promoter Red Bull to have it changed or of the fed? Again! Hoping it is for the well-being and functioning of the sport & nothing else..

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Global RallyCross | SEMA - Las Vegas | Season 2012 Finale

SEMA Las Vegas round of the Global RallyCross concluded last weekend. Here are the below complete action videos from the event.

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WRC - 2012 | Season Concluding | RACC Rally Catalunya, Spain

In the last round of the season 2012 coming to an end, the excitement doesn't seem to end with nearly 17 WRC cars and the rest of the folks fielding in other categories. Dani Sordo's entry seems to be there, but let it be there and not just on the list/paper. Mini WRC officially is also signing off the mainstream rallying and it is the last drive for the Spaniard, though in a privateer team of Prodrive. The coming season will see a huge shuffle in the driver/codriver's lineup with new VW WRC team entering and Mini WRC exiting from the arena.

Spain's Catalonian round is a special one with the season closing it is even more special. The stages were done in both asphalt and gravel for different days of the event and is the highlight of the event and a challenge to the teams & the drivers together. The drivers have to quickly adapt for the changing road surface, and the technicians teams in preparing the cars from altogether a different specs in a relatively short span of time.
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FIA - IRC | Season - 2012 | Final Round - Cyprus Rally

The final round of the IRC season 2012 is all but 2 stages left to claim the podium spots. Nasser Al-Attiyah, the Qatari driver is leading the rally with a comfortable margin over 2 mins after Andreas suffered a puncture on SS10 and also looks slower in SS11. The Qatar driver has an advantage over the normally aspirated S2000 cars with an RRC, which is almost an WRC spec car, with minute changes in comparison to the older S2000 spec cars which will be taken off from the next season onwards.

Well the season 2013 itself is going to be with ERC and hence this is officially the last season of this wonderful series. Andreas Mikkelsen also makes a little history with winning the series twice consecutively since 2011. With all the drama and competition Mikkelsen still manages to hold on to the second with a comfortable margin of nearly 7mins above the third placed Toshi Arai in his R4 spec Subaru.

The top 3 final results of the rally was the same for the last couple of stages. Mikkelsen's car on the last stage was driven by co-driver Ola Floene, a remembering gift for the concluding & merging IRC series into the ERC.

Driver / Co-driver
Pos.SS time
Total timeDiff.Leader

Al-Attiyah N. / Bernacchini G. 
Ford Fiesta S2000 

Mikkelsen A. / Floene Ola 
Škoda Fabia S2000 

Arai Toshihiro / Moscatt Dale 
Subaru Impreza R4 

Nikara Jarkko / Kalliolepo J. 
Subaru Impreza R4 

Wiegand Sepp / Gottschalk Timo 
Škoda Fabia S2000 
Results Courtesy
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