A highflyer congratulates the others: The winner’s trophy for the opening round of the Scirocco R-Cup was handed over to motor racing legend Nicola Larini by none other than world record breaker and stratosphere jumper Felix Baumgartner. The Volkswagen brand ambassador, whose 39-kilometre parachute jump made history, congratulated the 1993 DTM Champion on the podium in Hockenheim, as did Volkswagen Board Member for Development Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg. Larini had just managed to become only the second legend-starter in the history of the natural gas-powered one-make series to win a race. The previous such victor had been Markus Winkelhock at the Lausitzring in 2012.
“That was a highly successful season opener for the Scirocco R-Cup,” said Volkswagen Board Member Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg. “The spectators enjoyed a thrilling race with a lot of overtaking.” Record jumper Felix Baumgartner, who attended Hockenheim in the company of his partner and parents, was equally enthusiastic. “A great race, I am in any event a big motorsport fan,” said the Austrian. “Who knows, possibly I will have the opportunity of contesting a guest race this season in the Scirocco.”
The victorious Italian won the first of a total nine races making up the season, having not only set fastest time in practice, but also capturing pole position on a wet track during his dominant weekend. He beat 18 talented drivers plus no fewer than three former DTM and Formula 1 colleagues, namely Eric van de Poele (51), Jan Lammers (56) and Martin Donnelly (49). After two third places in Hockenheim (2011) and the Norisring (2012), Larini finally claimed an overall victory in the Scirocco-R Cup. Second place, 0,9 seconds in arrears, went to Dane Kasper H. Jensen, who valiantly challenged Larini during the 11-lap race. Jensen, rookie winner in 2012, assumed the lead of the championship due to the Legends not being eligible for points.
Rapid Dane Michelle Gatting – the second big story of the day
Danish lady driver Michelle Gatting finished third after a brave fight, thus becoming the first woman in Scirocco R-Cup history to make it on to the podium. The South African driver Kelvin van der Linde, who briefly held the lead during the opening lap, finished fourth, followed by Lukas Schreier.
In the newly instituted DTM-Legends versus Motorsport-Allstars league, the DTM legends took the lead – thanks to Larini’s victory. Team-mate Eric van de Poele, DTM Champion in 1987, lost a few places during the opening lap tussle, ending the race in 21st place. Sandwiched by Larini and the Belgian were the Allstars, this time represented by former Formula 1 drivers Jan Lammers (9th) and Martin Donnelly (17th). The next rounds of the Scirocco R-Cup are scheduled for 01 and 02 June in Spielberg, Austria. Making its debut in the cars powered by Volkswagen was natural gas supplied by new partner GAZPROM. The Scirocco R-Cup is the world’s only one-make series to run race entirely on environmentally fuel.
Quotes to the season opener in Hockenheim
#22 Nicola Larini
Qualifying: 1 – Race 1: “A thrilling race for the spectators with a lot action on the track! To stand on the top step of the podium after two podium places in the Scirocco Cup is a great feeling. It is obvious that in the next race I need to defend my victory. However, my start was not good as I again forgot to press the push-to-pass button. Kelvin van der Linde managed to push his way past very well. After he outbraked himself I was fortunately able to regain the lead. Then, during the second half, I enjoyed a good duel with the young Dane Kasper Jensen; it was a lot of fun and I compliment him on his fair driving. Also compliments to Michelle Gatting, the fastest lady in the race, who impressed me a lot – I believe she will be on the podium a few more times this season.”
# 23 Jan Lammers
Qualifying: 8 – Race 9: “Wow, I really sweated in the cockpit. But it was a good race with a lot of duels. Unfortunately after the start I lost contact with the top six, but they were driving very fast. Compliments to Nicola, who delivered a class show this weekend. However, in the teams’ category Martin and I delivered the best we could for the Motorsport-Allstars. I am looking forward to my next race in the Scirocco-Cup in Oschersleben in the autumn, racing with my good friend and Indy 500 Champion Arie Luyendyk. There I intend making the jump into the top five.”