Audi wins Schaeffler Outdoor Rally as well
30.08.2018 Fourth appearance, third victory: the new Audi e-tron Vision RCCO continues to cause a sensation in the ‘big little’ racing series. Thomas Voigt in the enormously exciting and entertaining Schaeffler Outdoor Rally scored the third victory with the new electric racing car on the occasion of its fourth appearance. As a result, he advanced to second place in the standings, now trailing front runner Michael Niemas (KTM), who placed third in the rally, by just six points. In a gripping finale, Voigt won against Volker Paulun (Lamborghini) with an advantage of only one second.
Terrific night on the banks of the River Elbe
With a terrific night on the banks of the River Elbe the ‘big little’ racing series returned from its summer break. At Beachclub Hamburg del mar, brilliant sunshine followed by a balmy summer night with a fascinating view of the port, the docks and the MS Europe ocean liner awaited some 40 guests and 19 RCCO entrants. Rain set in only after the podium ceremony. That’s what you’d call perfect timing…
A thriller through to the final special stage
Following a rather quiet rally last year, the extremely selective special stages this year made for a thriller until the end. Not a single driver got through the 16 special stages without slipping and losing time. The lead kept changing and the time gaps could hardly have been smaller. Battling for victory in the event that has traditionally been supported by Schaeffler were record champion Thomas Voigt (Audi), leader of the standings Michael Niemas (KTM), the two Lamborghini drivers Eldert Hedden and Volker Paulun, and Robert Müller (ABT).
Lamborghini with one-two lead at midpoint
After the first eight special stages, two Lamborghini Centenario RCCO contenders, Eldert Hedden and Volker Paulun, were the front runners. Last year’s winner Hedden had a four-second advantage over his Joest teammate halfway through the event. Yet once again the leading position turned out to be a disadvantage in a rally: on the second special stage after the restart, Hedden slid off track on the notorious Tresen stage, lost more than ten seconds and, as a result, all chances for victory. Volker Paulun already dropped behind Thomas Voigt on the first special stage of the second leg, always remained within striking distance, but in the end had to admit a narrow defeat with a one-second deficit.
Third victory for Voigt
Ever since switching to the new Audi e-tron Vision RCCO built by Michael Niemas record champion Thomas Voigt has been on a roll again. Following the first victory at Formula E in Berlin and the triumph during the DTM at Zandvoort, Voigt won out again in the rally in which he has traditionally been strong. For the eighth consecutive time, the Audi driver scored a podium in the Schaeffler rally and, following three third places, in the end was the front runner again for the first time since 2013 – although the record champion, with a weight of 255 grams, had by far the heaviest car in the field. After a slip on SS 2, Voigt initially lost a lot of ground but then managed to make up one position after the other. Halfway through the event, still in fourth with a seven-second deficit, he took the lead after Hedden’s slip on SS 10 and went on to defend it to the finish. “Don’t crack under pressure,” Voigt said with a smile. “Volker and Michael put on a lot of pressure. But the new Audi e-tron Vision RCCO is a fantastic rally car as well.” On claiming his third victory this season, Voigt is now separated by only six points from leader of the standings Michael Niemas who, following his three victories at the beginning of the season, seemed to be on a safe course for the championship win. Now, after seven of eleven rounds, the championship has suddenly become a real thriller again, especially since title defender Björn Skottke (who only placed eighth in the rally that’s not his favourite event) and Eldert Hedden continue to be in the title race.
Müller with strong comeback
With a strong showing Robert Müller returned to the ‘big little’ series. In his first race in the 2018 season, the ABT driver was immediately in contention for victory. Halfway through the event, he was trailing front runner Eldert Hedden in third place by just five seconds. However, on the last special stage, for tactical reasons, he briefly stopped prior to the regrouping shortly before the finish, waited for three seconds and in this way tried to secure a more favourable starting position for the second leg. That did not pan out quite as planned and a few slips during the second leg in the end meant position five.
Ladies’ victory for Gine Peters
Another dominant victory in the ladies’ classification – the 140th one in her RCCO career – was celebrated by Gine Peters. With the ABT Vision RCCO from NEXGENracing the quick lady scored another top-ten result trailing Wolfgang Warnecke, Jan Hedden, Björn Skottke and Daniel Bäumler. Guest driver Jörg Walz finished the rally in position twelve and Joanna Wessel secured victory in the rookie classification.
Next round in just three weeks’ time
Round eight of the ‘big little’ racing series is coming up in just three weeks’ time: on 19 September the RCCO will again be hosted by ADAC Hansa in Hamburg. Following the ADAC Hansa City Cup, the visit to the World Rallycross Championship at the Estering and the 24-hour race including another championship round on the eve of the 24-hour race are still on the agenda.