01 Debut of the year
Sarah Rumeau. We already knew beforehand that the two-time French rally champion knows where the throttle pedal, sorry, accelerator is. But her debut in the ADAC Opel Electric Rally Cup as part of the ADAC Rallye Sulingen was particularly impressive: first rally in the Corsa Rally Electric, first special stage – first best time! Just so the men know straight away who they’re dealing with… As the season progressed, the 28-year-old and her co-driver Julie Amblard were always at the forefront and celebrated their long-overdue first podium finish at the Rallye Mont-Blanc Morzine.
02 Trick of the year
Christina Ettel. The 36-year-old Austrian is the perfect rally co-driver. Luca Pröglhöf has also been relying on her delivery of the pace notes since last year. And to take the pressure off her driver on the one hand and to sharpen his focus on the other, “Dina” resorted to a trick: no more special stage times or leaderboards for the 24-year-old – neither from her nor from anyone else. Pröglhöf was happy to go along with the information blackout. Result: First podium finish at the Rallye Vosges Grand-Est, two more in the next four rallies and victory at the season finale as part of the Central European Rally.
03 Duel of the year
Calle Carlberg and Max Reiter. The way these two performed throughout the season deserved the title “first class with distinction”. In the already high-class field of participants in the ADAC Opel Electric Rally Cup, the two 23-year-olds were in a league of their own. After the German had scored three victories in the first four rallies, the Swede turned the tables, climbed to the top step of the podium four times and ultimately brought home the title comfortably. Carlberg and Reiter were the only drivers in the field to finish in the top three in all eight rallies of the 2023 season.
04 Unluckiest driver of the year
Max Reiter. The situation before the final was not rosy anyway. 17 points behind Cup leader Carlberg left Reiter with only one option: flat out, win or ditch. Unfortunately, there was a third one: the tyre damage on the first Saturday special stage cost around a minute and a half. But the statement “give up” doesn’t exist in Reiter’s vocabulary, the young German and his co-driver Conny Nemenich continued to give their all and climbed back to third place. The title was gone, but the drive was worthy of a championl!
05 Charmer of the year
Armiche Mendoza Silva. The names of the driver and co-driver alone – Armiche Mendoza Silva and Alejandro Falcón Caballero – sound like fiesta and flamenco. And when you add a natural charm and a great sense of humour, you have all the ingredients for popularity among spectators and competitors alike. When the 10th place finisher in the Cup receives the loudest applause from his fellow competitors at the annual awards ceremony, all questions are answered. With two sixth places in Weiz and Morzine, the 21-year-old from Gran Canaria also showed great potential.
06 Family affair of the year
Torbjörn and Calle Carlberg. It is not unusual for a rally driver to rely on the announcements the son or daughter as co-driver. After all, rally driving is a matter of trust. The young generation at the wheel and the old generation in the “hot seat”, however, is an exception. Calle and Torbjörn Carlberg formed such a family partnership that they won the championship title in the ADAC Opel Electric Rally Cup. Dad Torbjörn says: “I’ve had so many drivers in my career! Calle is just another – but really fast!”
07 Car-swap of the year
Cindy Gudet. Anyone who has ever seen the six-time French hillclimb champion behind the wheel of her 500 hp prototype (hot tip: YouTube) will quickly avoid asking questions about the 27-year-old’s driving skills. The Frenchwoman quickly realized that rallying in general and the Corsa Rally Electric with its relatively normal 136 series horsepower in particular are a different beast. Two changes in the co-driver’s seat made adapting even more difficult. Still, on the city stage of the Rallye Vosges Grand-Est there was second place. So she’s got the speed. The rest can be learned.
08 Rally-highlights of the year
Mont Blanc and CER. Picking the best from eight great rallies is tricky. But the Mont Blanc Rally was simply a blast. Around 300 rally cars transformed the winter sports resort of Morzine into a gigantic rally service park. The stages at the foot of the highest mountain in the Alps were breathtaking. And so was the Central European Rally. The show started in front of a dream backdrop in Prague, 125,000 spectators along the special stages in the Czech Republic, Austria and Germany. Could there be a better setting for a title decision than a world championship rally??
09 Stars of the year
Mouton, Petit and Klopp. Michèle Mouton, now 72 years old, is a rally legend. Runner-up to the great Walter Röhrl in the 1982 World Rally Championship, nowadays a manager at the FIA, visited the FFSA ladies at the Central European Rally. Likeable and attractive: Miss France 2021, Amandine Petit, dared to get into the cockpit of a Corsa Rally Electric as co-pilot at the Mont Blanc Rally. And the video shoot of some Cup pilots with star football manager Jürgen Klopp in Liverpool was an experience that none of them will ever forget.
10 Actions of the year
Track test, Art Car, DTM Challenge. The communication measures surrounding the ADAC Opel Electric Rally Cup were all a success – the track test by 35 European journalists on a spectacular gravel track in Austria; the Corsa Rally Electric Art Car designed by Berlin artist Elisa Klinkenberg, which represents so many of Opel’s values; or the DTM Gravel Challenge with four DTM stars in the Corsa Rally Electric as part of the DTM at the Lausitzring, live on ProSieben TV. All the activities had one thing in common: the extra-wide grins on the faces of the participants.