The clouds over the Red Bull Ring opened their floodgates on Saturday morning and provided an exciting qualifying session. Gerstl on pole position, Schlegelmilch fastest FORMULA driver at BOSS GP debut.
Saturday arrived and the expected weather worsened, which did not dampen the driving in qualifying. The BOSS GP drivers showed their class as 19 drivers out of the 20 entered went out on track in their Big Open Single Seaters even in these poor conditions – with four freshly fitted Pirelli Cinturato rain tyres, of course. Qualifying was not divided into Q1 and Q2 due to the rain, so there was only one 30-minute session in which all cars hit the track.
At the beginning Marco Ghiotto (ITA, Scuderia Palladlo) set top times and was able to take the lead. The lead did not last long, because the sensation of the qualifying, Harald Schlegelmilch (LVA, HS Engineering), promptly took over first place. The Latvian makes his debut in the BOSS GP this weekend and is involved right from the start. The former Formula 3 and Lamborghini Super Trofeo driver is piloting a World Series by Renault bolide of the Austrian team HS Engineering this weekend. Just as all the cars were on fast laps, Phil Stratford (USA, Penn Elcom Racing) in the Benetton B197 slid into the run-off area with a spin at the final corner. Stratford was able to resume driving after returning to the pits, but Andreas Fiedler (DEU, Fiedler Racing) and Riccardo Ponzio (ITA, Adriatica Competition) in the Jaguar suffered a different fate. They found the end of their qualifying in the gravel at the same time. Neither car was damaged, however, and nothing should stand in the way of a start in the race.
After the red flag had been waved, all available drivers went out on the track again. Ingo Gerstl (AUT, Top Speed) put his Toro Rosso STR1 on pole. Schlegelmilch and Ghiotto completed the top 3. Simone Colombo (ITA, MM International), who had already shown a good performance in the rain at the opening round in Mugello, also started the race from row 2. Florian Schnitzenbaumer (GER, Top Speed) and Walter Steding (GER, Scuderia Palladio) were surprisingly strong after a long break from racing, finishing 5th and 6th respectively. But now it is the race pace that counts, the first race starts today at 11:35 am local time.
Photo: Angelo Poletto/BOSS GP