His domain is the ice channel, she is one of the best-known faces on German television: André Lange and Gesine Cukrowski explored new terrain in a Rallye-Kadett B at the “Bodensee-Klassik”.

A Class Apart

Modern navigation systems are taboo at the “Bodensee-Klassik”. But who needs them? After all, you have a co-pilot at your side for experienced guidance. So which way? “We have to turn right. I think. Or? Wait a minute…” André Lange is calm personified, his hands on the steering wheel of the 1971 rally Kadett B, the model that once chased the driving legend Anders Kulläng over the gravel tracks. Instead, the four-time Olympic champion in two-man and four-man bobsleigh enjoys the view of the Swabian Alb.

The pitfalls of reading cards

His charming co-pilot is Gesine Cukrowski. The Berlin native has already been convincing in many roles since she became known as forensic doctor Dr. Judith Sommer in the series “The Last Witness”. She has not yet been seen as a racing driver, but she also threw herself into this new role with enthusiasm: “The Kadett reminds me of the carefreeness of childhood!” Even if map-reading is tricky. “Does a rally car like this even have reverse gear?” asks André Lange a few bends later. It does. So back to the actually planned route of the “Bodensee-Klassik”, where the likeable duo was at the start in a rally Kadett at the invitation of Opel at the beginning of May.

“The tasks are perfectly divided – Gesine is in charge and I enjoy the rally Kadett.”

– André Lange –

The reliable one: André Lange was amazed at how smoothly the 1.9-litre unit with 100 hp can still be steered, even after more than four decades.
The return: After a two-year break, one of the most beautiful rallies was back on the roads. And Opel sent the compact class including the “Kulläng” Kadett to the start.

After a rather mediocre result on day 1 (105th place out of 120 participants), the two Opel guests prepared especially well for the second stage. And lo and behold, it works. After the first special stage – driving exactly 30 km/h on average for 2 minutes and 35 seconds – they are in third place. “And that’s with the speedometer,” the bob pilot exclaims triumphantly, pointing to the trembling needle. Gesine Cukrowski, who has also shared impressions on her Instagram channel, is happy, because after all, the Berliner „also wants a trophy for once.“ André Lange is in luck: „The tasks are perfectly distributed – you are in command and I steer. And when I think about the fact that rally ace Anders Kulläng was driving in my seat, it’s a very special feeling,“ he enthuses.

“I like the approachable, down-to-earth aspect of Opel. That’s what comes closest to me.”

– Gesine Cukrowski –

In their private lives, the two sympathetic characters, who have been closely associated with the brand for years, drive an Insignia Sports Tourer. Gesine Cukrowski likes the “approachable, down-to-earth” aspect about Opel. “That’s what comes closest to me,” says the Berlin actress, who has been one of the best-known faces on German television since the early 1990s. Airs and graces are alien to the 53-year-old. Even when it becomes clear at the end of Day 3 that no trophy will be won, she beams: “The days were fantastic – great fun and pure nostalgia at the same time!”

Great atmosphere, great stars and Opel led the compact class: At the start of the 9th Bodensee-Klassik were (from left) Kadett A, Rallye-Kadett B, Kadett GT/E and a Kadett GSi. The new Opel Astra was there as an escort vehicle.

The Thuringian bobsleigh legend and the actress, who most recently appeared in the series “Lena Lorenz”, were not the only celebrities who took on the challenges of the three stages across the Swabian Alb and through Ostallgäu. A BMW from 1939, for example, was driven by former Formula 1 driver Nick Heidfeld. And one or two classic cars were also surrounded by celebrity status. A Mercedes that was at the start is said to have once belonged to the Shah of Persia.

The Chancellor’s GSi

Opel also had prominent previous owners: the Kadett GSi, built in 1991, in the starting field once belonged to the former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt. The Opel Classic fleet was completed by an Opel Kadett A, built in 1963, and an Opel Kadett C GT/E, built in 1977. But the latest Opel technology was also on view at the Bodensee-Klassik, because after all, the carmaker from Rüsselsheim sent the stars from 80 years of the compact class on the 555-kilometre route. A new Astra supported the organisers on the individual stages of the most beautiful endurance race in the border triangle.

555 kilometres in three stages: The routes led through the Lake Constance region, the Ostallgäu and across the Swabian Alb.

May 2022

Photos: Opel