Wittenbeck and Koke return from France with another top 10 result

In the second half of June, rally drivers Johannes Wittenbeck and Christian Koke returned from the Rallye Vosges Grand Est. The 25 and 27-year-old pilots had just completed a challenging and difficult race weekend. Last month, two rounds of the championship took place. The first event was the Rallye du Chablais in the French Switzerland during the first weekend of June. In the second half of June, they participated in the third round of the ADAC Opel Electric Rally Cup, where they made further progress with their results. In the end, they secured 7th place out of a total of 13 identical vehicles in the championship. Only one team was missing: the French duo Terrence Callea and Enzo Mahinc had to retire from the Rallye du Chablais due to an accident at the Portes de Culet. The car was not ready in time, with only 10 days between the two championship races. Driver Callea is still recovering from the injuries sustained in the accident.

For Wittenbeck from Emmering and Koke from Regensburg, things were different. Already in their second participation at the Rallye du Chablais in Switzerland, the two drivers achieved their first top 10 finish on the final stage on Saturday evening, securing 10th place. “Our goal was to finish in the top 10 in the first two races. We were able to achieve that exactly as planned at Lake Geneva,” Johannes happily reported to us. The leap from a regional cup in southern Germany to an international professional championship is enormous for them. The average age in the Opel Cup is 23, and everyone has one goal: to secure a factory contract with Opel and thereby gain entry to the European Championship.

At the Rallye Vosges Grand Est in France, they aimed to further establish themselves in the top 10. With a weather forecast promising dry conditions, the chargebyte Wittenbeck e-Rally Team started the first stages on Saturday morning. However, it quickly became clear that new and unfamiliar challenges awaited the duo. “Here in France, it is possible to cut many corners. And with over 100 vehicles starting ahead of you, one can imagine how much gravel is on the roads,” said Wittenbeck. The rough gravel encountered when cutting the corners also put a strain on the tires. Two damaged tires caused difficulties for the Bavarian rally team on the sixth and seventh stages. Fortunately, they were lucky and managed to complete both stages without major tire damage. They gradually gained confidence in the tires with each stage. On Saturday, they were initially outside the top 10, but on Sunday, they managed to secure 8th place twice. “I was not satisfied with our times on Saturday evening,” Johannes honestly shared with us, “But we didn’t let it distract us. We still have a lot to learn! And on Sunday, we felt much better.”

In the end, the team finished a satisfactory 7th overall. The winner was the Swedish driver Calle Carlberg, followed by the German championship leader Max Reiter and the Austrian Luca Pröglhof. There are still five more rounds in the electric championship. “The first three rallies were definitely challenging, but the past two years have given me a lot of confidence in Johannes’ driving skills. And based on the last rally, you can see how much potential there still is. We can build on that,” Koke explains his assessment of the previous results. In mid-July, the team will continue to the Rallye Weiz in Austria.