Ready for the first electric one-make rally cup: Opel is the first manufacturer to develop a battery-electric rally vehicle with the Corsa-e Rally. At the track test in Pferdsfeld, journalists were able to race the result of this pioneering achievement around the course.  


And what if I do change my mind? The question gets lost in the depths of my helmet. In any case, it is as superfluous as trying to look back over my shoulder. The harness straps have my shoulders in a vice and make that impossible. A mechanic appears in front of the windscreen, gives the routine hand signals: “TURN IN”, “ROLL BACK”, “STOP”. An encouraging nod.

My right hand reaches for the automatic gear shift lever. Then everything happens very quickly: a swelling electric sound mixes with the roaring in my ears. 260 Newton metres from a standstill and the inside of the bucket seat and the back of my body merge. Relations blur, crash barriers and trees on the left and right become one, just like the snippets of words that my brain scantily generates: “Is this really happening-unbelievable-wild-awesome!”

“Drive like you’re making a quick trip to the store and there’s no oncoming traffic.” 

– Tip from professional rally driver Marijan Griebel – 

Rally debut: Into the overalls and out onto the track. 

A strong partnership: Marijan Griebel and Opel have been closely linked since 2013. The 2016 European Rally Champion contributed valuable input to the development of the Opel Corsa-e Rally. 
Zero emissions, 100 per cent emotion: With its low centre of gravity due to the 50 kWh battery in the floor, the Corsa-e Rally maintains perfect balance. 260 Newton metres of torque is available from the first millisecond.    

The reason for the temporary speed rush: the team around Opel Motorsport Director Jörg Schrott extended an invitation to come to the former military airfield in Pferdsfeld, Rhineland-Palatinate. To a media track test the likes of which have never been seen before: Opel is electrifying rallying and has launched the ADAC Opel e-Rally Cup, the world’s first fully electric one-make rally cup. A motorsport version of the Opel Corsa-e is ready and waiting. And after an extensive briefing, motorsport journalists are the first non-rally drivers who have the chance to put the battery-electric vehicle to the test. Or in the case of the Opel POST: what a normal driver is capable of in a rally vehicle.

No stress,
just yee-haw!

When the first cones appear in front of the windscreen, Opel Rally driver Marijan Griebel’s encouraging words help: “Don’t stress yourself out, drive like you’re making a quick trip to the store and there’s no oncoming traffic.” So into the curve, around the cones, a quick pull on the „fly off“ handbrake, the rear end shoots around – and full power. A puzzled look out of the balaclava. That really worked. So, time for another trip to the store. And another. Yee-haw! 

VIDEO (in German): “Mr. Strycek, would you take a spin with a camera on board for the readers of the Opel POST?” – “Sure thing!” Experience how the Corsa-e Rally tackles the track when an Opel racing legend is behind the wheel.

“The Corsa-e Rally sets new standards in terms of dynamics and emotion.”

– Volker Strycek –

The speed cells detected in the brain by Norwegian researchers continue to fire adrenalin and endorphins long after the Corsa-e Rally is parked again at the starting point and Opel racing legend Volker Strycek and Jörg Schrott explain the innovations in the unique concept. The road to the ADAC Opel e-Rally Cup is paved with pioneering work, “which has made it extremely exciting, but also highly demanding,” says Jörg Schrott.

The road to the Cup – paved with pioneering work

An electric sound was tailored onto the body of the Corsa-e Rally, a sustainable mobile charging infrastructure was created, the high-voltage system – safety is paramount – was equipped with a sophisticated sensor system, and completely new rules and regulations were developed together with the ADAC as series operator and the German Motor Sports Federation (DMSB). Even sports officials were trained, from the marshals on the special stages to the staff in the service park.

Powerful: The innovative charging concept uses the public grid and renewable green electricity. An infrastructure specially designed for rally use ensures that the batteries are 80 per cent charged in 30 minutes.

“We show that an electric rally vehicle can be sustainable and efficient.”

– Jörg Schrott –

The finest racing technology: Roll cage, seats and other components come from the Opel Corsa Rally4, which has been homologated for international works and customer racing.  
Safety is a top priority: The strict guidelines are exceeded in a number of areas.

Whether rear seat or door trim: The technicians have removed everything that is superfluous for racing from the production car. In return, they have installed what makes the Opel Corsa-e Rally even safer, more stable and sharper.

To get around a bend quickly: One pull on the “fly-off” handbrake locks the rear wheels and initiates the drift.

All this for the one goal: to get people excited about e-mobility and to offer an ideal introduction to rally sport with the Corsa-e Rally. “We demonstrate that an electric rally vehicle is sustainable and efficient,” explains Jörg Schrott. “And at the same time can set new standards in terms of dynamics and emotionalisation,” seconds Volker Strycek. Marijan Griebel joins us: “I have time for a ride – up for one?” Sorry, Mr. Schrott, Mr. Strycek, the speed cells still have the upper hand and demand another “Is this really happening-unbelievable-wild-awesome!” round. 

Rich electric sound
for a dance around the pylons

The three laps feel like time lapse: rich electric sound, a dance around the pylons, grit and gravel pattering in the wheel arches, a tug on the lever, the vehicle skidding, the tyres squealing, where exactly is up and where is down again? After the ride with the European Rally Champion, it is finally clear why no one pulled out the registration form earlier for the comprehensive young talent promotion programme that the ADAC Opel e-Rally Cup includes. But the Opel Motorsport team has definitely gained a new fan of electric rally sport today.

13 teams from five nations: Successful premiere of the world’s first electric one-make rally cup

A stage of speed: Opel racing legend Volker Strycek acted as taxi driver for actor Roman Knižka in a VIP vehicle. “Those were the fastest kilometres of my life,” laughed Knižka after completing a special stage at racing speed.
“I’ve definitely caught the rally bug”: The field included Timo Scheider, two-time DTM champion and former Opel works driver.

On June 11-12, the world’s first electric one-make rally cup, the ADAC Opel e-Rally Cup, celebrated its premiere at the ADAC Rally Stemweder Berg. “It was a strong start,” said Opel Motorsport Director Jörg Schrott. The 13 teams from five nations showed electrifying rally sport on the demanding asphalt stages around Lübbecke. The Opel Corsa-e Rally will be on the grid seven times this summer. The next event is the second round on August 7 at the ADAC Holsten Rally on the Baltic coast of Holstein.

A ride in the Corse-e Rally: “Germany’s Next Topmodel” Opel ambassador Ashley was also taken with the fast ride. “I really let myself go, I just trusted Volker Strycek: It couldn’t have been better,” beamed the 23-year-old.

June 2021

Text: Tina Henze; Photos: Gudrun Muschalla, Andreas Liebschner; Video: Alexander Bonn