Jan van der Marel competed in Germany extensively in the 1970s and 1980s and was partnered on several occasions by co-driver Jan Berkhof.
“They drove together for a lot of years in the 1970s and 1980s,” said Timo van der Marel. “Erwin’s dad is giving him advice about co-driving, and my dad is giving me advice about the driving. There used to be three rallies in Germany in the past, which are now one. Of course, Panzerplatte is a very particular stage; we got some very useful advice for that.”
Van der Marel Jr, 21, starts the asphalt event on a high following a podium finish on last month’s Neste Oil Rally Finland, which propelled him to 11th in the title standings with 16 points.
“We are officially Tarmac drivers [in the Netherlands], we did only three gravel events this year, which were the only three in my whole life, so we are very much looking forward to our first Tarmac event we are doing for the Academy,” said van der Marel. “Nobody knows the speed of the others as we haven’t raced each other, but I hope our speed will be good and we can get a good result here.”
Asked about his strategy of Germany, van der Marel said: “It seems that the best strategy this year is to drive consistently and stay out of trouble. We tried it in Finland and it seemed to work, so that is our aim for Germany as well. We will try to keep up the speed on Friday, see what happens and then hopefully some other guys will have troubles and we can go in front.”
Van der Marel competes under the KNAF Talent First banner, the Dutch motorsport federation’s initiative to support promising young drivers.
After three rounds Egon Kaur tops the WRC Academy Cup table. The Estonian holds a commanding 52-point lead over Irishman Craig Breen and Aussie Brendan Reeves, who are tied for second.