Report: Race 1 Spielberg
Plenty of action in the starting phase, a home win for Ingo Gerstl, Rookie Alain Valente wins FORMULA and with Florian Schnitzenbaumer the BOSS GP has a new class champion.
Ingo Gerstl (AUT, Top Speed, Toro Rosso STR1) made burnouts on track and delight thousands of fans on the stands. The series winner had reason to be happy after an impeccable drive in the first race of the Spielberg weekend as part of the DTM. Gerstl won for the tenth time in eleven races scored so far in 2018. With 1:13.027 min he also did the fastest lap of the whole DTM weekend.
Second in the OPEN was Hans Laub (DEU, Speed Center, Forti FG-03), who only started from 13. Laub fought the whole race in the midfield of FORMULA, among others with Gianluca Ripoli (ITA, MM International, GP2 Dallara) and Walter Steding (DEU, Inter Europol, Dallara GP2). For Laub it was the first finish and also the first podium at the second appearance this year.
Phil Stratford (USA, Penn Elcom, Benetton B197) was already touched at the right rear wheel during the flying start and had to head for the pits with a puncture in lap 1. With lap loss he returned to the track and fought his way through the field. But in the 20-minute race he was not able to catch up with the others.
Although the track had dried up by noon, the conditions remained cold. This was a disaster for some drivers right at the start: Sergio Ghiotto (ITA, MM International, Dallara GP2) and Gianluca Ripoli (ITA, MM International, Dallara GP2) spun off the track in the warm-up lap. For two favourites the race was over before the actual start. Not much further came Salvatore De Plano (ITA, Top Speed, Dallara GP2) and Marco Ghiotto (ITA, MRC Sport, Dallara GP2). After a good start and some position improvements, the two Italians spun in turn 1 and had to retire from the race early. The consequence of the incidents was a three-lap safety car phase.
Alain Valente (SUI, Speed Center, Dallara GP2) was more considerate despite his first start at a BOSS GP race. The 21-year-old survived the difficulties of the first lap without damage, first overtaking Andreas Fiedler (DEU, Fiedler Racing, Dallara GP2) and then Peter Göllner (SUI, Speed Center, Dallara GP2). This makes Valente the eighth winner (!) in the most varied BOSS GP season in the FORMULA class of all time.
With second place Fiedler had done almost everything to keep the championship battle on. But Florian Schnitzenbaumer (DEU, Top Speed, Dallara GP2) finished sixth in his class for the secure his first championship title. The German seemed to be relieved to have reached his season’s goal.
Before tomorrow’s final race, Fiedler is already set for second place overall in FORMULA, and the second German was correspondingly delighted.
Peter Göllner (SUI, Speed Center, Dallara GP2) probably surprised himself the most once again. With the fourth podium place in the last five races he confirmed the strong performances of the last race weekends in Brno and Assen.
Only one of six Italians crossed the finish line: Gianluca Ripoli (ITA, Speed Center, Dallara GP2) finished fourth. Armando Mangini (ITA, MM International) already had to park his Lola Formula 3000 in the pits in lap 1. Thus, Mangini also lost 3rd place in the championship. With 121 points he is four points behind Walter Steding and 6 points behind Christian Eicke. Steding finished sixth today, Eicke seventh – so nothing has been decided yet with these small point gaps.
Race 2 will take place tomorrow at 15:10 local time directly after the DTM race. The stream on www.bossgp.com/livestream starts already at 14:55.
Quote after the race:
Alain Valente (1st place FORMULA): “I could use the feeling from my sports car experience today. At the beginning I was lucky not to get involved in the accidents, then I stayed cautious with cold tyres and brakes at the beginning. My goal is to become a professional racer, maybe this result will help me.”
Pictures: Michael Jurtin/BOSS GP