The dust is thick in the air, the grit splashes meters high in every curve, and in the middle of it turns a small car that Opel has previously sold to the world as a clean man.
The dirt thrower is the Corsa E, which is warming up for its use in the ADAC Opel e-Rally Cup.
While others like Volkswagen or BMW are increasingly saying goodbye to the race track, the Hessians are at least loyal to popular sport and are therefore sending their electric debut eight times over the starting ramp of a rally this summer.
To do this, they developed a serious racing version of the little Corsa within two years and built around two dozen cars at the start of the season, which they sell for just under 60,000 euros. On the outside, apart from the additional headlights, the two occupants are strapped into a cave made of bare sheet metal, into which the motorsport team has welded two narrow bucket seats and a roll cage. A handbrake lever rises almost a meter between the seats. It doesn't lock into place and, after a bit of practice, pulls the Corsa around as if a rabbit on the run is hooking its hooks.
Only under the sheet metal reinforced from below with impact-resistant aluminum does everything stay the same: The rally Corsa also runs with the standard drive, which is why an electric machine with 136 hp and 260 Nm pulls the front wheels, and a battery with 50 kWh is in the bottom. But the driver rarely feels slowed down by this in rallies. Especially when its own sound module makes a lot of noise, so that the audience gets something out of the frenzy. The Corsa may no longer have any emissions, but at least when it comes to rallies, at least the emotions are there again.
However, the rally Corsa has to be plugged in after 60 kilometers at the latest. And that only works if the eco mode is activated on the connection stages, which throttles the performance. This is one of the reasons why the co-driver is of crucial importance in a rally car: He not only has to warn of bends and crests, but also has to keep an eye on the route guidance. Because there is no procedure.