Bergkvist is the 2015 ERC Junior champion
Emil Bergkvist is the 2015 FIA European Junior Rally Champion, after a truly stunning series campaign in his ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team Adam R2. Co-driven by Joakim Sjöberg, the 21-year old from Torsåker in Sweden won the title after finishing second on the auto24 Rally Estonia. And the skill and speed that Bergkvist has shown all year makes him a future superstar of world rallying for sure! “I’m speechless,” said Bergkvist. “I want to thank everyone who contributed to this success, first and foremost Opel Motorsport and the whole team that always gave us a fantastic car. And of course my co-driver Jocke – without his perfect work this wouldn’t have been possible. The ERC Junior is so incredibly competitive that it takes a perfect team performance every time to get anywhere close to a podium finish. I really still can’t believe it!”
Opel Motorsport boss praises young ERC champion
Opel Motorsport Director Jörg Schrott has praised Emil Bergkvist’s outstanding performance this season. Having won the ADAC Opel Rallye Cup last year, Bergkvist – partnered by fellow Swede, co-driver Joakim Sjöberg – has become ERC Junior champion with one round (Barum Czech Rally Zlín, 28-30 August) still to go. “One can’t applaud Emil’s and Joakim’s outstanding performance over the entire season enough,” said Schrott. “They were at the front of the field in every rally and very cleverly captured the title. A huge compliment also goes to the whole ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team. This passionate dedication and fantastic team spirit were the keys to success. And we are of course extremely proud of our Adam R2 that proved its ability to win under all conditions. To secure the title early in this tough championship in the first full year is much more than we could have expected. It is simply fantastic!” Schrott (left) is pictured with Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann (Chairman of the Board of Adam Opel AG and Chairman of the Management Board of Opel Group GmbH) and Günther Holzer (Opel Motorsport development partner Holzer Motorsport).
Fight for overall ERC title is wide open
The battle for the overall 2015 FIA European Rally Championship title is wide open, following a change of leadership after the auto24 Rally Estonia. Three wins in a row had given Craig Breen a strong lead, and while victory in Latvia, Ireland and Azores had given the Peugeot Rally Academy driver 114 points, he gained just 14 day points after issues in Jännerrallye, Ypres and Estonia. Kajetan Kajetanowicz has retaken the lead in the series, following his victory on the opening round in Austria. It’s the LOTOS Rally Team Ford Fiesta R5 driver’s second places in Ireland, Estonia (which he had never done before) and in the Azores that sees the Pole back in front. However, with four rounds remaining, just five points separate Kajetanowicz (113pts) and Breen (128pts). Game on!
Lukyanuk wins Colin McRae ERC Flat Out Trophy
Alexey Lukyanuk received the Colin McRae ERC Flat Out Trophy for a fourth time, after his victory on the auto24 Rally Estonia. The prestigious award was presented by ERC Sporting Manager Jean-Pierre Nicolas. “It’s amazing to win this great award one more time,” said Lukyanuk. “I will try to push hard on the next events too. In the memory of Colin McRae, I am ready to push flat-out all the way.”
ERC privateer prize money winners in Estonia
Seven privateer ERC European Rally Championship drivers were rewarded with big cash prizes at the finish of the auto24 Rally Estonia, as 20,000 Euros was given out in the form of prize money by series promoter Eurosport Events. Alexey Lukyanuk received €7000 for his first place, while top Estonian finisher, Rainer Aus (pictured) didn’t seem too unhappy with €3000. The cheques were presented by ERC Co-ordinator Jean-Baptiste Ley. The winners in Estonia were:
First position: Alexey Lukyanuk (€7000)
‘Jumping Woman’ wins most stylish ERC flying award
ERC Ladies’ Trophy challenger Inessa Tushkanova won the Most Stylish Jump Award on the auto24 Rally Estonia, after her high-flying exploits in her Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX. The Russian-based glamour model was in feisty form in Estonia, and was unlucky to roll out of leg one after an awkward landing after a high-speed crest. That experience didn’t put her off flying, as her stylish jump on SS13/16 was recognised with a special award. “I just confirmed my second name – ‘Jumping Woman’ – which started in Finland,” said Tushkanova. “I am so happy to win this special prize for most stylish jump in Estonia!”
Q&A with Alexey Lukyanuk
Alexey Lukyanuk won round six of the 2015 FIA European Rally Championship, auto24 Rally Estonia, in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X, despite incurring a 10 second penalty for making a jump start. It was a truly masterful display of speed, coverage and showmanship, as the reigning Russian and Estonian champion waved to the crowd as he powered through the final stage – which was almost his undoing! Fiaerc.com caught up with Lukyanuk at the finish.
In such a close battle, how were you able to increase your 2.4 second lead to 12 seconds on this morning’s loop?
You lost the lead on leg one with a 10 second penalty. Did you think your hopes of winning there over?
It must have been a tense final stage. What happened on the final corner?