The fastest racing series in Europe brings the fun of racing back to the Red Bull Ring. The start grid for both races was already set up yesterday due to the bad weather conditions today.
Saturday started as predicted very wet. Even in difficult conditions the brute BOSS GP bolides were on the track. For safety reasons the race control decided to run the timed practice as 3rd free practice and to set up the starting grid from the combined times of FP1 and FP2.
Ingo Gerstl (AUT, Top Speed, Toro Rosso STR1) took first position in qualifying for the seventh time in the seventh race meeting of the season. From the first to the second practice he improved by more than three and a half seconds. With 1:12.082 min yesterday he was still far behind the times of May, when the local hero had already scratched the 1:10 mark. In the rain, dominator Gerstl was only fifth in the Formula 1 car, which surprised him: “Maybe there’s something wrong with the timing,” smiled Gerstl, who had already been confirmed BOSS GP Champion 2018 before the final races this weekend.
Phil Stratford (USA, Penn Elcom, Benetton B197) complained about technical problems in the first practice session and a reduced driving time for him. But in the 2nd practice he easily finished second overall. He used the rain this morning for training kilometers. Stratford, who lives in California, has hardly any rain experience, but announced for the races: “Should it rain, I’ll drive”.
Luca Martucci (ITA, MM International, Dallara GP2) surprised everyone: The Italian with Formula 3 experience is the fastest FORMULA driver of Friday and will lead this class into the race. In the rain practice Martucci set the best time, so he is the favourite this afternoon (starting time: 16:00, also in the Live stream).
Salvatore De Plano (ITA, Top Speed, Dallara GP2) starts from row 2. The Italian this weekend has to switch from his regular team MM International to Top Speed. At MM International all cars were rented this time. At Top Speed they offered the fast Italian an alternative home, he thanked it with a successful Friday.
Florian Schnitzenbaumer (DEU, Top Speed, Dallara GP2) starts from row 3 and thus directly ahead of his only remaining competitor for the championship: Andreas Fiedler (DEU, Fiedler Racing, Dallara GP2). Schnitzenbaumer has set himself the goal to enter today’s race attentively and ideally to make the title clear today.
Between Schnitzenbaumer and Fiedler stands Marco Ghiotto (ITA, MRC Sport, Dallara GP2), who won the brother duel with Sergio (ITA, MM International, Dallara GP2). Sergio Ghiotto starts from 10th place, but in Saturday’s rain he showed with second place that he still has potential for the front. Gianluca Ripoli (ITA, MM International, Dallara GP2) starts from 8th place, newcomer Alain Valente (SUI, Speed Center, Dallara GP2) from 9th place.
Peter Göllner (SUI, Speed Center, Dallara GP2), who has been on the podium twice in the last three races, will start from row 6 together with his team mate Christian Eicke (DEU, Dallara GP2). Hans Laub starts with his Formula 1 Forti in the middle of the FORMULA field from 13th position. Walter Steding (DEU, Inter Europol, Dallara GP2) starts from 14th. Eicke, Steding and Armando Mangini (ITA, MM International, Lola F3000) are still fighting for 3rd place in the championship. Mangini starts the race with a disadvantage, because he is the only one to start in a Formula 3000 and was far behind his immediate opponents yesterday.
For Thomas Jakoubek (AUT, Top Speed, Dallara GP2) it was already over yesterday after a gearbox damage. Unfortunately, we also have to miss out on the second Toro Rosso from Top Speed. Frits van Eerd had to cancel at short notice, substitute driver Markus Lehmann was only on the track in the first practice session.
Pictures: Michael Jurtin/BOSS GP