Audi e-tron Vision RCCO wins debut race
20.05.2018 A perfect start for the Audi e-tron Vision RCCO: record champion Thomas Voigt won an RCCO race again for the first time since 2015 at the Schaeffler Lounge during the Formula E race in Berlin. In a thrilling final of the new Audi electric racing car’s debut he kept the two KTM cars of leader of the standings Michael Niemas and title defender Björn Skottke at bay.
Audi ends KTM’s string of victories
With the victory clinched by Thomas Voigt at the ‘RCCO meets Formula E’ event in Berlin the KTM string of victories in the ‘big little’ racing series came to an end. Five races in succession had been won by the Austrian manufacturer, four in a row by Michael Niemas who had to admit defeat in Berlin for the first time this season, but continues to lead of the overall classification with aplomb. For Audi, this was the first RCCO victory since Frank Biela’s success in the 2016 DTM Challenge at Zandvoort. Record champion Thomas Voigt even had to wait 918 days for his 102nd victory in the ‘big little’ racing series. Most recently he had won the one-make cup race in November on the eve of the 24-hour race. Subsequently, he had remained without a victory in 25 races, but had taken second position on eight occasions.
RCCO record champion Thomas Voigt was delighted about his 102nd RCCO success as if it had been his first one. “I was afraid of a déjà vu,” said the Audi driver. “Last year I was leading in Berlin until shortly before the race ended, before the motor came off and I retired. Four weeks ago, at Bilster Berg, victory was within reach, but in the last minute of the race Michael Niemas still overtook me. This time Michael was incredibly strong again. In spite of racing with such high additional weight he pushed extremely hard – especially in the heat. He’s just awesome!“ The duel between Voigt and Niemas in the heat thrilled the spectators at the Schaeffler Lounge: lap after lap the two RCCO cracks, with just centimetres between them, raced around the track, with merely 182 thousandths of a second separating them after ten minutes and 114 laps. “That was fantastic racing,” said Michael Niemas. “Thomas Voigt was simply unbeatable today and deserves this victory.” In the final Voigt again had to make sure not to make any mistakes, but soon achieved a one-lap advantage over Niemas and his KTM brand colleague Björn Skottke which he defended with an impeccable drive up to the finish. “Thank god, it finally worked out,” said Voigt. “After such a long time without victories I finally won again today. Up until the end I was worried that something would interfere again. But the new Audi e-tron Vision RCCO was just running perfectly.”
Picture-perfect debut of the Audi e-tron Vision RCCO
The new Audi e-tron Vision RCCO managed a picture-perfect debut in Berlin. The three electric racing cars had only been finished the night before the race, free practice on Saturday morning, the rollout in which BILD editor Andreas Zschorsch instantly set the best time. Voigt and Zschorsch both won their heats, so securing the two top spots on the grid for the final which Voigt dominated straight from the start. Zschorsch completed the Audi success in fifth position – the best single result in his RCCO career. “Driving for Audi and tv racing is just mega fun,” the BILD man enthused. Now all six manufacturers – ABT, Audi, KTM, Lamborghini, Schaeffler and Volkswagen – have celebrated at least one victory since the new #VisionRCCO-E-sportscar concepts were launched – proving the success of the current regulations once again.
Niemas continues to lead the standings
Three victories, one second place: KTM driver Michael Niemas continued to lead the overall classification of the ‘big little’ racing series after four races and, in the light of his strong performances this year, the model-maker can practically be sure of winning his first RCCO title. Due to his previous successes, Niemas had to compete with the maximum performance weight of 30 grams. “My scales weren’t even strong enough to handle this load,” he said with a grin. Even so, the KTM driver secured pole position in Berlin. “I think the others were simply a little too careful,” he diagnosed. “In the race, things should look differently.” That assessment was only partly true: Niemas shone over the race distance as well, only Thomas Voigt was even stronger that day. There was a simple reason why Niemas was happy about Audi’s victory anyhow: he had prepared the three new Audi e-tron Vision RCCO cars.
‘Skottie’ on podium again
Björn Skottkte clinched his third podium in the current season. On taking third place, the title defender ensured that, like last year, two KTM X-BOW Vision RCCO cars finished on podium. Although he was absent most recently at the Bilster Berg Challenge Skottke is in third position of the table.
Fastest lap for Eldert Hedden
The fastest car in Berlin was the Lamborghini Centenario RCCO of Eldert Hedden and Joest Racing. The ex-champion set the fastest lap in the heat and the final. However, he was lacking a little consistency so that the Lamborghini driver had to settle for fourth position in the end. In the overall classification Hedden is in position four as well. With Volker Paulun in position seven and Jan Jedden in position eight two other Lamborghini finished in the top ten.
Gine Peters with strong season
Gine Peters has been driving a tremendously strong season to date. The ladies record champion who, like Thomas Voigt, has been competing in the ‘big little’ racing series since 1991, again achieved the qualifications for the final in the ABT Vision RCCO. In three events she has made it into the top eight each time this year to date. In the overall classification Peters is in seventh position.
Quick Marco Werner
Last year’s winner Frank Biela had to skip the RCCO’s visit to Formula E due to a commitment as a driver steward in the DTM race at the Lausitzring that took place at the same time. He was represented in Berlin by his former Audi team colleague Marco Werner who caused a sensation on the controller of the Schaeffler Vision RCCO. In qualifying Werner sensationally secured position two on the grid. With second place in his heat the Le Mans winner qualified for the B final in which he was running a little too wild though. Even so, he made it into the top ten, secured the day’s victory in the rookie classification and recommended himself for further commitments in the ‘big little’ racing series.
Rahel Frey has fun on the controller
A third Audi e-tron Vision RCCO in Berlin was piloted by Rahel Frey who drove guests of AUDI AG around the Formula E race track in Berlin in the original full-scale car. In her second race as a guest in the ‘big little’ racing series the Swiss handled the car increasingly well and in the end took a remarkable twelfth position overall and second in the ladies’ classification. “It was tremendous fun and it’s great that the big Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo now has a little brother as well,” said the former DTM driver. “I definitely need more practice with the small car though.”
Disappointment for Volkswagen
For the Volkswagen teams, the race in Berlin ended in disappointment. Kim Hauschild, Jörg Schumacher and Philipp Freitag were unable to participate so that only Daniel Bäumler and RCCO rookie Joanna Wessel were flying the Volkswagen flags. For Bäumler, however, his home round in Berlin was over as early as after the heat. The Volkswagen driver was pitted against three particularly strong rivals -- Michael Niemas, Thomas Voigt and Eldert Hedden – in his heat against whom he was chanceless. The reason was revealed only after the race: the motor allotted to him apparently lost power due to spark formation, so preventing him from doing better than achieving position 13.