Local hero Ingo Gerstl drove in a class of his own in the first of two BOSS GP races at the Red Bull Ring this weekend.
When finally, the first rays of sunshine slightly cut through the cloudy sky, the Austrian started from Pole and immediately pulled away from the field, only shadowed by his main rival Klaas Zwart.
Third-placed Bernd Herndlhofer, whose Benetton had to be worked on at the grid, fell victim to technical failure and had to retire his car already in the opening lap.
Suddenly the Safety Car appeared on the track, after both Klaas Zwart and Gilles Brenier had crashed their cars.
“It was entirely my fault. Our tyre pressure was too high considering that the temperatures had risen rapidly in the past half hour ahead of the start. When I turned the car, I spun off. It’s a pity, because I would have loved to get a podium for the team for all the hard work they have done. But that’s racing. Better luck tomorrow.”
Zwart’s DNF meant Gerstl had lost his last opponent for OPEN Class victory, but it was by no means cruising to Silverware.
“It may look easy from the outside, but believe me, it isn’t. You must keep your concentration up and avoid the slightest mistake. If you reduce the speed too much, errors happen. So I kept pushing.”
German pair Wolfgang Jordan and Hans Laub sensationally completed the podium.
“I can’t believe it. I am pretty shocked to be standing up here on the podium, to be honest. I have of course profited from Henk de Boer’s time penalty, but it’s the rules after all. Maybe I can keep up my good form for tomorrow”,
Laub was all smiles, placing his Forti FG03 on P3 in the car’s first race in twenty years.
Wolfgang Jordan commented,
”I am delighted about the podium. Especially after the hampered qualifying. I feel sorry for Bernd (Herndlhofer) though. Looking ahead, I am pretty confident for tomorrow.”
FORMULA Class victory went to favourite Christopher Brenier, who pocketed his first win of the season.
“Winning here is amazing. It was a very chaotic race and I had troubles to keep tyre temperatures high behind the slow Safety Car. We will certainly party a bit tonight. But not too much, as I want to win again on Sunday.”
Veteran Philippe Haezebrouck came second, ahead of surprise third Peter Göllner of the Team Speed Center Castrol.
„My goal was to finish on the podium and I have achieved it, which is highly satisfying. So let’s see what tomorrow has in store.”