KTM scores one-two at RCCO opener
21.02.2018 KTM’s winning streak in the ‘big little’ RCCO electric racing series continues. Michael Niemas and host Wolfgang Warnecke won the opening event of the 28th RCCO season at the Shell Technology Center Hamburg. Title defender Björn Skottke and Oliver Schmidt perfected a KTM one-two win. Third place in the spectacular 20 Minutes of Hamburg went to Volkswagen Motorsport-Phoenix Racing (Daniel Bäumler/Kim Hauschild).
Home victory for Shell-PROTOTYP
What a way to kick off the season – especially for the two KTM teams, Shell-PROTOTYP and PROTOTYP-Shell, that celebrated a one-two win at the Shell Technology Center Hamburg in the 2018 season opener, which did not appear to be in the cards at all for a long time. Host Wolfgang Warnecke from Shell and his teammate, Michael Niemas, dominated the evening with their red KTM X-BOW Vision RCCO cars from the beginning but reigning champion, Björn Skottke, and Oliver Schmidt had to fight an unexpectedly fierce battle for second place. In free practice the two were trailing the field, in qualifying they only achieved the second from last place on the grid. In the second qualifying race Skottke/Schmidt fought a gripping duel with Thomas Voigt and Andreas Zschorsch’s Audi R8 e-tron which they decided in their favour by just 1.3 seconds after 20 minutes of constant position changes and which earned them a direct move into the final. In the final round, just before the end of the race, the KTM duo managed to bump the Volkswagen Golf GTE Vision RCCO of Team Phoenix Racing-Volkswagen Motorsport from second place, in which the team had been running up until that time, and to perfect the one-two win for KTM. “What a story,” ‘Skottie’ said, shaking his head in disbelief. “Who’d have thought this after the tough beginning tonight?”
Following their victories in the last two rounds of the 2017 season, this marked an amazing third win in succession for KTM. Michael Niemas and Wolfgang Warnecke repeated their 2015 triumph at the Shell Technology Center. “It’s been one of the greatest events to date,” Wolfgang Warnecke beamed. “We had strong competition. Our sister team was very strong in the end, but so were the others. What a way to start the 2018 RCCO season! We’re looking forward to more.” For Michael Niemas this marked the seventh victory in the ‘big little’ racing series. “We were in control of the race straight from the start,” said the pleased title favourite. “But it was tough racing because overtaking was very difficult and grip level wasn’t perfect. However, we managed to handle it.”
Phoenix Racing finishes debut event on podium
On making their debut in the ‘big little’ racing series, Phoenix Racing in position three clinched by Daniel Bäumler and Kim Hauschild instantly achieved a podium result. The Volkswagem team started the race from last position on the grid, but went on to win the qualification race in commanding style in spite of the loss of a rear wing and, as a result, directly qualified for the final. There the squad lost the battle for position two against the second KTM team by only half a second following a nail-biting duel.
tv racing in position four
Record champion Thomas Voigt and Andreas Zschorsch celebrated a fourth place in the season opener. “This means we’ve cut our result from last year in half,” said Andreas Zschorsch, who in the second half of the qualification race fought a spectacular duel with KTM campaigner Oliver Schmidt which he lost by just a narrow margin. The team had lost valuable time during the driver change because Voigt had left his driver position too early. With an impressive drive in the B final Voigt made up for his mistake. In the final the Audi squad was in contention for the lead some of the time before being relegated to fourth position. “After a setup change for the B final our R8 was clearly steadier but it was still not enough for us to prevail against KTM and the Phoenix VW,” Voigt said. “Still, it was a good start to the season for us – and we can hardly wait for our new Audi e-tron to finally be presented at the beginning of April. The car will be spectacular!”
Two ABT Vision RCCO cars in final
A strong start to the 2018 season was achieved by ABT Sportsline. Both ABT teams managed to make into the final of the top six in which KTM, Volkswagen, Audi and ABT were represented. RCCO returnee Alan Fauvel together with Gine Peters clinched second place in the qualification race for NEXGENracing. With that, the team directly qualified for the final. Andreas Göhring and Frank Wilke (standing in for Robert Müller who was suffering from a bout of flu) achieved the final qualification via the B final. In the end the two ABT Vision RCCO cars took positions five and six.
Quick Scuderia Suedschleife.com
Scuderia Suedschleife.com. delivered a strong showing in the season opener as well. RCCO returnee Julius Kragl proved that during his service in the German Armed Forces he had lost none of his speed. With the Schaeffler Vision RCCO that had been newly prepared by Matthias Parke he shone with third place in qualifying after having previously set the fourth-best time in free practice. His teammate, Rolf Neuhaus, was not able to completely keep pace in the races so that Kragl/Neuhaus in the qualification race and in the B final had to settle for third places. The showing delivered at Shell, though, showed that the ‘Billious-Green’ contenders are to be reckoned with in 2018.
Disappointment at Lamborghini
For the two Lamborghini teams, Joest Racing and Hedden-Motors, who had to settle for positions eight and nine, the season opener ended in disappointment. In the first outing of the two brother duos, Eldert Hedden/Volker Paulun and Jan Hedden/Carsten Paulun, only the respective Hedden part delivered a convincing performance. Hedden even achieved the first pole position this year, but over the race distance the Lamborghini Centenario RCCO cars appeared too aggressive and lacking consistency.
Misfortune for Kick ‘n‘ Rush
Team Volkswagen Motorsport-Kick ‘n‘ Rush suffered misfortune in a major way. Just a few minutes into the first qualification race the engine bolt of their Volkswagen Golf GTE Vision RCCO loosened so that Jörg Schumacher and up-and-coming motorcycle rider Philip Freitag were the only team to retire as early as after the qualification race. Their misfortune benefitted tv racing academy which completed the top 10 with Martin Kummerow and Christian Wilke.