Oh what a crazy kick off race for the season 2017 this was. With one hour delay in the ambitious scheduled programme of the “Hockenheim Historic” the drivers raced onto the track for the first podium spots of the season. The grid had quite a compact number at this point: Only eigth drivers finally started in the first BOSS GP Championship race of the season, which was overshadowed by freaky weather conditions.
Rain? No rain? Finally it was a decision just by seconds – rain tyres or no rain tyres? Exactly when the BOSS GP grid starts in their warm-up lap for the race all of a sudden rain started out of the thick blanket of clouds for the first time of the day. As a consequence couple of cars dropped out of the race already before the start. Including Wolfgang Jaksch (F-Xtreme, OPEN class) with the Super Aguri, whose car-rescue took quite an amount of time of 15 minutes. Due to permanent delays of the programme-schedule the race management decided, to cut the official race time down from 20 to 12 minutes for the eight drivers left at the grid after the troubled race-intro. When the engines were started, the next safecty car period was just a question of seconds: Already in the first turn (“Ravenol-Kurve”) Klaas Zwart (Team Ascari, OPEN class), one of the favourites for the first podium spots of the season, was out of the race after a crash into the barriers.
When the safety car had left the circuit, the biggest point were the driving capabilities of the drivers during the challenging weather conditions. “After turbulences and exits of a couple of cars already in the beginning of the race, my only goal was, to finish the race without any damage”, explained Andreas Fiedler (Fiedler Racing, FORMULA class). The newcomer not only rolled up the field from behind in his very first race ever at BOSS GP, he also raced the best lap time (1:39.941 min) and secured P1 at the FORMULA class in front of Johann Ledermair (Ledermair Motorsport) on P2 and Mahaveer Raghunathan (Coloni Motorsport) on P3.
The OPEN class was dominated by Ingo Gerstl (TOP Speed) with a start-finish victory, which put the Austrian as the overall winner of the race and meant P1 at the OPEN class podium. He was followed by Phil Stratford (Penn Elcom Racing) on P2. Since Gerstl and Stratford were the only OPEN class driver left in the grid, there finally was no P3 in the first race of the season.
Accordingly Ingo Gerstls reaction after the race: “That was a disastrous race! It started dribbling, when we left the paddock. The outdoor temperatures were way too cold for the slicks. So we had to change the tyres, rain stopped, rain started again, we saw plenty of crashes. The remaining race time I was just holding to my experience and instinct, to finish the race without any trouble and keep the car on the track. Lap time didn’t really matter for me.” At the qualifying in the morning he had impressed with a fabulous time of 1:20.174 min, during the race he put his best lap to 1:40.382 min. “I saw Klaas [Zwart] next to me, hitting the wall. Finally I am really happy, that I finished. But – that was no brilliant performance, one clearly have to point that out.” For the second race on Sunday afternoon (2:15 p.m.) Gerstl is not only hoping for good weather conditions, but for “a real challenge after the disastrous first race”.
Meanwhile, Phil Stratford, P2 of the OPEN class, was totally happy with the podium: “Most of all I am happy, that I made the car crossing the finishing line in one piece. Today was the first time, I raced this car, even under really difficult conditions. The rain tyres gave me some confidence, but my plan was, to manage a position behind another car and take this car as an orientation for my race. Probably a better time would have been possible, but actually I had more to lose than to win. I want to thank my team, which did a brilliant job and is happy with the result of todays race quite a bit.”
Andreas Fielder was overwhelmed by his first P1 in the FORMULA class at the first race of the season: “I didn’t expect this at all. Particularly after having huge trouble at the qualifying with our setup”, he happily resumed. The BOSS GP newcomer was fine with the weather conditions: “I like driving during such weather. In the beginning of the race I held back, just wanted to finish the race without any trouble. That I made P1 finally in my very first race at BOSS GP – that’s really overwhelming and a great experience.”
Fiedler benefited from a penalty for Johann Ledermair (Ledermair Motorsport), who had led the field of the FORMULA class at practice sessions and qualifying. The 25 years old Austrian got an 10-second-time-penalty due to rule-violation, as well as Italian Salvatore de Plano (MM International Motorsport), who finished as fifth at the FORMULA class.
Highly ambitious for the second race on Sunday is Mahaveer Raghunatan, P3 of the FORMULA class: „I want to dedicate this podium to my grandfather, without whom I wouldn’t race here”, the 18 years old Indian says. “The potential of the race was higher than my result, if I wouldn’t have raced with Slicks but with rain tyres. But I am very happy with the podium. I will be much faster in the race on Sunday and want to win then”, the youngest driver of the grid was focusing on Sunday’s race directly after the podium ceremony.
Second race in Hockenheim is schedulded on Sunday (23/04/2017) at 2:15 p.m. Find all informations about BOSS GPs race in Hockenheim here: bossgp.com/race/hockenheim-historic-2017
UPDATE (23.04.2017 @ 13:50h)
Due to a rule breach by the team of Andreas Fiedler (Fiedler Racing), using a wrong tyre make in race 1, and after consultation with the Hockenheim race direction, the BOSS GP Championship board has decided to penalise Andreas Fiedler as follows:
- Full Championship points for P1 will be denied
- Start in race 2 from the last position on the grid
sg. Christian Gaense / BOSS GP Championship Coordinator
Find the report of the qualifying at Hockenheim here: Hockenheim 2017: Report of Qualifying.
See the report of second free practice at Hockenheim here: Hockenheim 2017: Report of second free practice.
See the report of first free practice at Hockenheim here: Hockenheim 2017: Report of first free practice.