Opel Astra (F) Profile

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Opel Astra (F) General Information

We report in the Opel Calibra file, that it was GM Belgium and MSD to be extremely active with Opel in rallying at the time.

The Opel Astra covered here is actually already the 3rd generation Astra for Vauxhall and the UK. But previous Astra models were at Opel still called Kadett. It was this Vauxhall Astra "Mk3", that for Opel turned the very 1st Astra. This as well explains a curiosity for Opel fans: If Vectra replaced Ascona, if Omega replaced Rekord, they obviously would always start with generation tag "A". Not so on the Astra, the first Opel Astra was the "F" and we went all the way through to "K" by now when it would really be the 5th "E" generation Astra for Germans, being launched less than a year after the Corsa E. But why? To be in line with generation identities both sides of the English Channel and since it would have been strange for Vauxhall to have their 3rd Astra marked "1" or "A", GM simply carried on from Kadett generations and this 1st (Opel) or 3rd (Vauxhall) Astra was on all markets identified as "Astra F".

Dare I say in this context, the 1st/3rd Astra "F" was not a great car. Actually it won an F2 World title, so it wasn't that bad. I - personally maybe - just think the timing for a name change was wrong. Technically you could hardly fault it, as i.e. the Astra F GSI was technically developed from the famous Kadett E GSI 16v. But Vauxhall invented the Astra name plate when a RWD saloon (Kadett C/Chevette) was replaced by a FWD hatchback (Kadett D/Astra Mk1), a very different and modern car. The Astra F however, technically it was good for being a fine tuned Kadett E, but is that a reason for a name change? I am sorry, despite sympathies to GM/Vauxhall/Opel, you find me making jokes about the Astra F in the Astra G F2 Kit Car story. In the looks department Opel did not even seem to try. I say in the G/Kit Car story the Astra F could be batched a Nissan, a Mazda or a Hyundai. But maybe I am unfair to the Asians for a change, GM started a cooperation with Korean Daewoo and Daewoo sold the Kadett E/Astra Mk2 as the Daewoo Nexia, but not even Daewoo wanted the Astra F! Especially the front really had no design feature whatsoever, it had no character and nothing bar the badge told you this is an Opel. But the rear gets it even more to the point. My cousin once had a very rare Citroën ZX 16v, a wonderful sleeper's car, faster than you ever expected. I was to follow him, and following it turned out my problem was not my Peugeot 405 T16, it was I ended up following a black Astra F! Neither car was really ugly, but on the Astra F the tailgate handle was on the right rather than the middle, asymetric, the small, characterless rear lights seemed exactly the same, only the ZX had edges where the Opel didn't, making the ZX look much sharper and crispier and full stop better than the Astra. (Can that be a lesson to modern car designers? Everything more and more roundy, more cluttered, sorry the ZX looked sharper and crispier and more recognizable and more exciting for exactly these straight edges!) And that was about the most meaningless looking car Citroën ever made! OK, Citroën has a name for imaginative cars, but sorry, even Opel could do better, much better, with family face and design features. In fact this complaint is strange: I do like Opel and I really hate cluttered 'trying too hard' designs, but the Astra F design certainly wasn't waking any emotions whatsoever! It wasn't ugly, and technically it was good, but looking at it was just boring. Trying too hard to be a Golf I guess and losing all identity in the process. But if it was technically good, here the rallying:

GM Belgium were the people behind the Astra's rally World debut. They had at that time an extensive program with Bruno Thiry and the Opel Kadett E and Opel Calibra in F2, before switching to the new Astra. GM Belgium therefore wanted to make sure the car is reliable. All this led to the Astra having a most unusual rally debut: While Bruno Thiry was sent to the unforgiving Bandama Rallye 1992 in the old, trusted Kadett E, it was this event choosen to test the Astra F's ability to survive. And as Bruno was driving the known car, the Astra F was driven on its debut by a navigator! Alain Lopes was usually the passenger of Guy Colsoul or Marc Duez.

More famous may be the Astra F debut by MSD. However that was on the RAC 92, so GM Belgium was first. MSD was playing with the Calibra Turbo 4x4 program and had two Calibra registered A15 MSD & A17 MSD. The A16 MSD plate was reserved for the F2 Astra GSI 16v in a hint to the 16v tag in its model name. In the preceeding years a super wild Dave Metcalfe set the World alight with spectacular rides in underpowered Vauxhall Nova. Many people were dying to see Dave in a more powerful machine. This dream came true on the RAC 1992 in the brand new Astra. Unfortunately early problems were followed by a retirement with a broken driveshaft on the first forest stage. Never mind, spectacular Dave Metcalfe was signed for a full Astra 16v BRC program - little did we know at the time that RAC 1992 debut was the last time we would see undoubted super talent Dave Metcalfe in public, he died just before Christmas 1992 in a road accident when somebody took his right of way :-(

The Astra F meanwhile made it to stardom. GM Belgium and Bruno Thiry won the F2 World title in 1993 - and please note at this point that in 1992/1993 the category was already known as F2, but kit cars only came later, so even if we say F2, the Astra F is a proper groupA car. That program was carried on, however without titles, with Gregoire de Mevius in 1994 and Freddy Loix in 1995. Meanwhile David Llewellin dominated the F2 class in the BRC in 1993 and 1994. This would have been Dave Metcalfe's drive! And interesting maybe that Metcalfe's debuting A16 MSD was sold to Opel Spain for Mia Bardolet after only this one start, with Llewellin getting a new car for '93 & '94. Then however GM suddenly decided rallying doesn't suit their image. Maybe a timely move as the French introduced some serious F2 kit cars at the time.

Opel Astra (F) Related Content

Opel Astra (F) Evolutions

Model & Evo. (Activity)
Opel Astra (F) GSI 16v (92-96) 225/7500 235/5500 4086.1688.1410 1000 (4.4) FWD (2517)

Random Opel Astra (F) Photos

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Opel Astra (F) Results

This is an unofficial Car Results list and may be incomplete.

Pos Event Driver Co-Driver # Rego hh:mm:ss
24th. 1999 WRC Swedish Rally A. Nilsson M. Kangas #32 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
35th. 1998 WRC Swedish Rally J. Valimäki J. Kalliolepo #65 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
15th. 1997 WRC Swedish Rally P. Svan J. Olsson #23 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
23rd. 1997 WRC Rally of Great Britain P. Svan J. Olsson #25 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
19th. 1996 WRC Rallye San Remo K. Rosenberger P. Diekmann #43 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
12th. 1995 WRC Swedish Rally P. Svan J. Olsson #18 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
14th. 1995 WRC Swedish Rally J. Kytölehto A. Kapanen #19 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
21st. 1995 WRC Rallye de Portugal R. Sperrer P. Diekmann #34 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
14th. 1995 WRC Tour de Corse F. Loix S. Smeets #23 [UNKNOWN] 5:32:58
16th. 1994 WRC Rallye Monte Carlo N. Burkart R. Rausch #28 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
14th. 1994 WRC Rally of Finland G. de Mevius W. Lux #18 [UNKNOWN] 5:07:15
21st. 1994 WRC Rally of Finland F. Loix A. Malais #23 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
14th. 1994 WRC Rallye San Remo F. Loix A. Malais #33 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
10th. 1994 WRC Rally of Great Britain G. de Mevius W. Lux #17 [UNKNOWN] 5:53:54
11th. 1994 WRC Rally of Great Britain D. Llewellin I. Grindrod #15 [UNKNOWN] 5:54:31
8th. 1993 WRC Rallye Monte Carlo B. Thiry S. Prevot #10 [UNKNOWN] 6:54:08
10th. 1993 WRC Swedish Rally P. Svan J. Olsson #28 [UNKNOWN] 5:12:05
10th. 1993 WRC Rallye de Portugal B. Thiry S. Prevot #10 [UNKNOWN] 7:12:18
23rd. 1993 WRC Acropolis Rally H. Kaltsounis C. Exarhos #59 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
18th. 1993 WRC Rally of Finland B. Thiry S. Prevot #10 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
5th. 1993 WRC Rallye San Remo B. Thiry S. Prevot #8 [UNKNOWN] 6:46:27
9th. 1993 WRC Rallye San Remo F. Loix J. Vranken #33 [UNKNOWN] 7:04:55
7th. 1993 WRC Rallye Catalunya B. Thiry S. Prevot #8 [UNKNOWN] 6:03:47
8th. 1993 WRC Rallye Catalunya L. Climent J. Munoz #20 [UNKNOWN] 6:07:37
9th. 1993 WRC Rallye Catalunya M. Bardolet . UNKNOWN #17 [UNKNOWN] 6:08:02
12th. 1993 WRC Rally of Great Britain D. Llewellin I. Grindrod #15 [UNKNOWN] 7:26:42
19th. 1993 WRC Rally of Great Britain M. Higgins M. Corner #42 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00

Opel Astra (F) Retirements

This is an unofficial Car Model Retirements list and may be incomplete.

Pos Event Driver Co-Driver # Rego Reason
Ret. 1998 WRC Swedish Rally P. Svan J. Olsson #18 [UNKNOWN] SS11 suspension
Ret. 1997 WRC Rally of Finland P. Svan J. Olsson #26 [UNKNOWN] SS1 engine
Ret. 1996 WRC Rally of Finland T. Gardemeister P. Lukander #38 [UNKNOWN] SS23 ?
Ret. 1996 WRC Rally of Finland J. Tuohino R. Pietiläinen #49 [UNKNOWN] SS4 ?
Ret. 1996 WRC Rally of Finland J. Pykälistö E. Mertsalmi #53 [UNKNOWN] SS3 gearbox
Ret. 1996 WRC Rally Argentina K. Rosenberger P. Diekmann #30 [UNKNOWN] SS99 ?
Ret. 1996 WRC Swedish Rally M. Jonsson J. Johannsson #32 [UNKNOWN] SS3 crash
Ret. 1995 WRC Rallye de Portugal F. Loix S. Smeets #27 [UNKNOWN] SS99 gearbox
Ret. 1994 WRC Rallye San Remo G. de Mevius W. Lux #28 [UNKNOWN] SS3 suspension
Ret. 1994 WRC Acropolis Rally G. de Mevius W. Lux #21 [UNKNOWN] SS10 engine
Ret. 1994 WRC Acropolis Rally H. Kaltsounis C. Exarhos #62 [UNKNOWN] SS30 ?
Ret. 1994 WRC Tour de Corse Y. Loubet D. Savignoni #19 [UNKNOWN] SS10 electrics
Ret. 1994 WRC Rallye de Portugal G. de Mevius W. Lux #14 [UNKNOWN] SS20 clutch
Ret. 1993 WRC Acropolis Rally B. Thiry S. Prevot #16 [UNKNOWN] SS8 crash
Ret. 1993 WRC Tour de Corse B. Thiry S. Prevot #11 [UNKNOWN] SS7 brakes
Ret. 1992 WRC Rally of Great Britain D. Metcalfe N. Grist #27 [UNKNOWN] SS10 driveshaft
Ret. 1992 WRC Bandama Rallye A. Lopes J. Delvaux #17 [UNKNOWN] SS21 engine