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Australian co-driver, Rebecca van der Marel (formerly Rebecca Smart) will contest rounds of the European and World Rally Championships in 2017 in the factory Opel Netherlands team.

Rebecca van der Marel (nee Smart).Rebecca and husband Timo van der Marel (son of nine-time Dutch Rally Champion Jan van der Marel) will begin their season in May’s ERC round in the Canary Islands, at the wheel of a new Opel Adam built to FIA R2 specifications.

Their season will also include the German round of the WRC in August.

“Over the past two years Timo and I have been competing in an Opel Adam R2, built in Germany by Holtzer Group, who supply all works cars to the Opel Germany team,” Rebecca told RallySport Magazine.

“We have competed in the Dutch Championship in 2015 and 2016, and both times became runners-up against Lancer Evo 10s and many R5 cars.”

They also contested selected WRC events, competing against German factory teams, with top five results in the R2 class.

“2016 was a fully-funded year for us from Opel Netherlands,” Rebecca added.

“Again for 2017 we will be fully supported by Opel Netherlands. A new Opel Adam R2 tarmac spec is currently being built for us in Germany, and we will receive a Opel Adam slam recce car and Opel Movano service van.”

The van der Marel’s 2017 program will include:

May: ERC, Canary Islands

May: Rally Riihimaki Finland (Rebecca will co-drive in a Skoda R5 for another Dutch guy, and they may also do Rally Australia together)

May: ELE, Dutch Rally Championship

June: Vechtdal, Dutch Rally championship

June: Ypres Rally

August: WRC Germany

August: ERC Rome

November: WRC Australia, TBC

Rebecca has recently moved back to Australia with husband Timo, and will commute to Europe throughout the season.

She made her name as a co-driver calling the pacenotes for brother, Ryan, in rounds of the Australian Rally Championship. They contested the ARC from 2008 to 2010 in a Mitsubishi Lancer and a Toyota Corolla.

- Peter Whitten

van der MarelTimo and Rebecca van der Marel with their factory Opel Adam R2.

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