First victory of the season for Joest Racing
31.08.2017 Eldert Hedden won an exciting Schaeffler Outdoor Rally at the Hamburg del mar Beachclub. The two-time RCCO champion celebrated his first win since 2014, giving Joest Racing its first win of the season. It was the second victory for Lamborghini in the “big small” racing series. Record champion Thomas Voigt (Audi) finished runner-up and Robert Müller (ABT) finished third. The top trio were in a class of their own. The fourth-placed Wolfgang Warnecke (KTM) finished almost half a minute behind the leaders.
Going twice: Lamborghini
For nearly three and a half years, Hedden-Motors had remained without a victory in the “big small” racing series, but now two successive victories have been achieved: After Jan Hedden surprised everyone with the first RCCO victory for the Lamborghini Centenario at the Volkswagen Slotcar Festival, his younger brother Eldert Hedden won the Schaeffler Outdoor Rally. “It was about time for that,” said Hedden, after the second victory for the famous Joest Racing sports car team in the “big small” racing series. The Lamborghini driver used his good starting position and was at the top of the results after the first leg, with an advantage of four seconds. He was able to defend his lead during the second stage, despite being the first driver on the track each time, a downside in the 1:24 scale rally, as it is in “real” rallying. All in all, Lamborghini had a strong performance at the Beachclub: All four cars finished within the top eight.
Three-way battle for the win
Three drivers were in a class of their own in the 27th edition of the rally: Eldert Hedden, Thomas Voigt and Robert Müller. The trio delivered an exciting three-way battle for the overall victory during whole evening, and in the end, they had a lead of almost half a minute over the rest of the field. Eldert Hedden drove most of the stages and had the nose of his Lamborghini Centenario RCCO in the lead for almost the entire evening. At the beginning of the second stage, the leaders were very close together: First it was Voigt to apply pressure, and then Robert Müller at the trigger of his ABT Vision RCCO was equal on time with Hedden. The preliminary decision happened during the 15th and penultimate stage, when Müller made a mistake. Hedden went into the decisive final scoring stage with a three-second advantage ahead of Voigt, before he clinched his first RCCO victory since February 2014 with another best stage time.
Rally with many perils
The 27th edition of the Schaeffler Outdoor Rally will be remembered for a long time: The Hamburg del mar Beachclub was once again a perfect rally location. Hamburg presented its best side with temperatures of almost 30 degrees Celsius. Despite bad forecasts, the sky opened up for the evening and the rain only returned after the final stage of the event. The RCCO’s decision to have each of the four rally stages built by the teams, for the first time in the history of the RCCO, also proved its worth. “This was again a rally that was very much about survival and remaining on track,” said winner Eldert Hedden. “In the past few years, the stages were much too easy. I would have liked a few more banked corners ...” Jörg Walz, SVP Communication and Marketing Automotive at Schaeffler: “It was a great evening!”
“Skottie” takes the lead of the standings
Daniel Bäumler is not a fan of the rally. Accordingly, the Volkswagen driver had to be content with tenth place and conceded his lead to Björn Skottke in the drivers’ standings, who is one point ahead of Bäumler before the next race at the Nürburgring, despite having taken part in one race less. “Skottie” was only in seventeenth place when the rally was at half-time, but following a sensational catch-up drive, he finished fifth. Bäumler, on the other hand, only advanced from twelfth to tenth position, thereby benefiting from the fact that the two Schaeffler pilots Frank Biela and Jörg Walz, who had been ahead of him before, both made a mistake in the final scoring stage.
Audi on the charge
After a bumpy start to his season in the “big small” racing series, Thomas Voigt continues to make good ground. With two runner-up finishes in a row, the Audi driver moved up from tenth to fifth place in the drivers’ standings, equal on points with the fourth-placed Michael Niemas. At the Nürburgring, Voigt has 20 grams of performance weight, making it the heaviest car on the grid.
Axel Woltmann wins #VisionRCCO Cup
While Rolf Neuhaus from the Scuderia Suedschleife.com team was once again the strongest rookie, experienced optometrist Axel Woltmann secured a clear victory in the #VisionRCCO Cup on his RCCO debut. The brother of Beachclub owner Harry Woltmann and operator of his own slotcar track in Otterndorf on the North Sea, finished fourteenth overall, ahead of some seasoned RCCO pilots. “It was great fun,” said Woltmann. “Thank you for allowing me to be here. The invitation for a RCCO guest race in Otterndorf is also on the cards. I would be happy if it could happen.”
Next destination: Nürburgring
The Nürburgring was the venue for the 24-hour race of the “big small” racing series for many years. As part of the SimRacing EXPO and the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup, the RCCO will host its eighth round on September 17. There is a novelty: For the first time in the RCCO, eight cars will compete against each other at the same time on a digital “Slotfire” track. The RCCO will be presented by Liquid Ice meets SimRacing. The RCCO circuit will already be in use from Friday and also allows visitors to prove themselves at the trigger. Drivers from the GT series will also be taking part on the RCCO circuit.