The 2015 ERC Junior champion, Emil Bergkvist, will make his title-winning prize-drive R5 debut on the Rallye International du Valais (29-31 October), when he contests the final round of the 2015 FIA European Rally Championship in a Peugeot 208 T16.
Co-driven by fellow Swede Joakim Sjöberg, the 21-year old driver from Torsåker will drive a Peugeot 208 T16 on the Swiss event, prepared and run by Saintéloc Racing. As members of the ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team, Bergkvist and Sjöberg will wear their Opel Motorsport overalls.
Bergkvist was a worthy winner of this year’s ERC Junior championship, and against very strong international opposition took his Opel Adam R2 to three victories (Rally Liepāja, Circuit of Ireland and Barum Czech Rally Zlín). He secured the title with second place on the penultimate round of the series, auto24 Rally Estonia.
Bergkvist said: “We are thrilled by the big chance to drive an R5 car at Rallye du Valais. I am sure it will be as much of a challenge as big fun. A big ‘thank you’ to Opel for making this happen. It’s a reward for what we achieved together in the ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team. We really appreciate this sign of respect and trust.”
Jörg Schrott, Head of Opel Motorsport, said: “Of course we would prefer seeing our works drivers Emil and Joakim in an Opel R5 car. But as this project is postponed and our European champions deserve this reward so much, we are delighted to release both for this outing at Rallye du Valais. We cross our fingers and are convinced they will perform as impressively as they did in our Opel Adam R2.”
Vincent Ducher, Saintéloc Racing Team Manager, said: “We are very happy that Emil has been given the opportunity by Eurosport Events to join our team and drive a Peugeot 208 T16. Emil did a very great season in ERC Junior this year. We will help him to take that step, and we are quite sure that he will quickly become accustomed with an R5 car.”
Jean-Baptiste Ley, ERC Co-ordinator, said: “We are delighted to organise such a fantastic prize-drive for Emil Bergkvist, our worthy 2015 ERC Junior champion. The collaboration between Eurosport Events, Opel Motorsport and Saintéloc Racing shows the great spirit that is within the ERC, and how organisations can pull together to make something very special happen to promote a young and very talented rally driver. We look forward to seeing Emil and Joakim Sjöberg on the challenging Valais stages, and fans will be able to see how they get on in Switzerland on Eurosport TV and on various channels in 160 countries around the world.”