ERC Junior Preview: Can Anyone Stop Bergkvist?


Swedish driver Emil Bergkvist comes to round three of the 2015 FIA European Junior Rally Championship, the SATA Rallye Azores, looking for a hat-trick of wins in the series. The ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team driver won the opening two rounds of the series in Latvia and Northern Ireland but Bergkvist has never competed in the Azores.

“Our Opel Adam R2 has proved to be a fantastic rally car on all surfaces and after a good gravel test in Austria and our start in the South Swedish Rally we feel very well prepared for the Azores.”said the Opel Adam driver, “But the level of competition in the FIA ERC Junior is incredibly high, so the highest aim is to do a clean rally with as few mistakes as possible.”

The Swede will have to contend with Briton Chris Ingram who finished second here last year and has an impressive history on gravel events. The Manchester born driver has had a good pre-event testing programme and comes into the event full of confidence.

Ralfs Sirmacis’s pace on snow and asphalt has put him third in the series, and the Latvian will surely fly in his 208 R2 as indeed will his Sport Racing Technologies team-mate Vasily Gryazin, who came close to an overall podium in the Azores last year.

Steve Rokland is currently fourth in the series and will be competing on his favourite surface when he crosses the start line on the Azores. The Norwegian finished second in Latvia and crashed out on the Circuit of Ireland but will be hoping for better luck on round four.

Jon Armstrong comes to the Azores after picking up the Colin McRae ERC Flat Out Trophy on his home event last time out but will be looking for a turn in fortunes following his retirement in Northern Ireland. This will be his first experience of the Azores while Mattias Adielsson will be tackling the event for the first time also.

Diogo Gago comes to his home event hoping for a good result while Romanian Florin Tincescu will be looking to improve on eight on the Circuit of Ireland.

Gino Bux finished on the podium in the Azores last year, on what was his first gravel rally. That will give Marijan Griebel some optimism, as the German ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team driver will land in the Azores with one previous gravel rally under his belt.

The SATA Rallye Azores will be contested over 17 stages over three days. The event kicks off on June 4.