Opel could return to the World Rally Championship with a new programme for 2020, provided the company can stabilise its financial future by then.
The PSA Group, which owns Peugeot and Citroen, paid £1.9 billion for Vauxhall-Opel back in November, with PSA CEO Carlos Tavares targeting a rapid financial turnaround – from the firm losing £200m last year to being back in profit in 2020.
Once that turnaround is complete, Opel will get a board-level green light to build a World Rally Car, according to Tavares.
Tavares told Motorsport News: “Opel, as much as any brand of the PSA Group, will have the opportunity to have its motorsport programme as soon as we turn around the company. This is very clear.
“Currently the motorsport for Opel is very thin. There is the Adam R2, but this is a limited one-make championship and it doesn’t cost much to the company. The priority to Opel is to survive. That’s the key point. I don’t want them to lose focus.
“I want to tell you the truth. I consider my DNA is to tell you the truth and not what you would like to hear. As soon as Opel is turned around and our commitment is 2020, we can talk about it again and I will be eager to have German engineers working in motorsport as much as I have French, Spanish and English engineers – everything possible as long as [the] revival is not at stake.”
Opel hasn’t run a significant World Rally Championship programme since the Kadett GSI, used by Sepp Haider to win the 1988 Rally New Zealand and Louise Aitken-Walker to take the 1990 FIA Ladies’ Cup.
Private German team Holzer revealed an Opel Corsa R5 last year, but the car doesn’t have official backing from Opel.