Emil Bergkvist became 2015 ERC Junior champion in emphatic style, with three wins and a second place in his ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team Adam R2. His prize was a drive on the final round of the series in an R5 car, and through a collaboration between Eurosport Events, Opel Motorsport and Saintéloc Racing, the 21-year old Swede will, together with navigator Joakim Sjöberg, contest the Rallye International du Valais in a 208 T16. Fiaerc.com caught up with Bergkvist ahead of his R5 debut.
What have you been doing since the final ERC Junior round back in August? “I have done a lot of physical training. I will continue to do so the whole winter to be as fit as I can be for next year. My co-driver Joakim and I also competed in the final round of the Swedish rally championship in an Opel Astra Kit Car. We won our class and finished sixth overall, which was great. In addition we joined some events with Opel Motorsport. But I took some time off with my girlfriend as well!”
How much are you looking forward to making your R5 debut in Valais? “I am really looking forward to it of course, as it will be a great experience and a big chance for us. I am so thankful to Opel Motorsport for making this happen by releasing us for this rally. After a season that couldn’t have been more successful with the ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team and our fantastic Adam R2 this title-winning prize drive is like the cherry on the cream.”
The R5 car will be a lot different to your Opel Adam R2 – what have you been doing to get yourself as best prepared as you can be for this prize drive? “Not too much, to be honest. As by now I totalled exactly zero kilometres in a four-wheel-driven car. We will get a test before the rally on similar roads. It will be a good opportunity to try to get a comfortable feeling in the car. Apart from that we will just trust in ourselves, do the best we can and see what happens.”
You’re very fast on Tarmac, and even though you have never contested the event before, do you think the Valais roads will suit your driving style? “I honestly don’t know. It seems to me like the roads at Valais will be a mixture between Rally Barum and Rallye Deutschland. If it is like that they could suit me, I hope.”
What are you aiming for in Valais, in terms of stage and overall result? “First of all, our main and actually only aim is to finish the rally and gain as many kilometres in the car as we can. The competition is so high in the ERC with so many talented and experienced drivers that it would be a big success to enter the top ten. And top six would be a dream.”