Ahlin-Kottulinsky first woman to win in Scirocco R-Cup‏

Triumph at the legendary Norisring

Swede is first female winner in one-make racing series since its inception in 2010VIP guest entrant Hannawald in 20th placeEhrlacher not seriously injured after nasty accident

There were tears of joy streaming down the face of Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky (S) after she became the first woman to win a race in the Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup. The 21-year-old Swede triumphed at the legendary Norisring in a turbulent race dominated by rain. The environmentally sound one-make racing series featuring vehicles powered by natural gas has been running since 2010, and Åhlin-Kottulinsky is the first woman to make it to the top of the winners’ rostrum. And to top it all, she achieved this during the highlight of the season in the ‘Franconian Monaco’.

At the end of the race on the tight street circuit, Åhlin-Kottulinsky was 1.3 seconds ahead of the German Moritz Oberheim and was congratulated with a hug by, among others, the VIP guest entrant Sven Hannawald during the presentation ceremony. Talent lies in the victorious Swede’s genes: her grandfather Freddy Kottulinsky (S) scored the first win of Volkswagen in the Dakar Rally in an Iltis in 1980. Among those who were beaten today was the current overall leader Jordan Lee Pepper (ZA), who finished in third place.

Heavy rain set in a good half an hour before the start of the race and resulted in some hectic action in the pit lane. As was also the case in the last race in Oschersleben, all 24 Cup Scirocco cars had to be fitted with wets in next to no time – with the Abt Sportsline mechanics and their head Hans Top once again delivering a perfect service. There was then something of an early decider in the race when Åhlin-Kottulinsky, who started second on the grid, nipped past pole position Pepper in a spectacular move on the first corner.

The race had to be interrupted at the end of the second lap due to a nasty accident – after coming into contact with the Dane Frederik Schandorff, Yann Ehrlacher of France went careering into the crash barriers at the start of the home straight. Fortunately, the 17-year-old Frenchman was able to get out of his demolished Cup Scirocco without needing assistance. He then underwent a routine check at the hospital and was found to have only suffered minor bruising.

There was a break of around an hour and a half while the crash barriers were repaired, after which the race was restarted behind the safety car – with a good 17 minutes of race time left. Åhlin-Kottulinsky managed to defend her lead in the restart, comfortably holding off Oberheim who had moved up from his sixth place starting position, and thus secured this historic win.

In total, there were two women in the top ten, with the Frenchwoman Lucile Cypriano finishing in eighth place. The Olympic ski jumping champion Sven Hannawald (D) also achieved a strong comeback in the race, and finished in 20th place. This was his first time back in the cockpit after a foot operation – and he succeeded in shaking off four regular drivers in spite of his cautious driving style and the challenging track conditions.

Jordan Lee Pepper has extended his lead in the overall rankings and, with five out of ten events completed, he is now the ‘half-time’ champion on 155 points, ahead of Jason Kremer of Germany on 127. Having had a tricky season so far, Åhlin-Kottulinsky has now moved up to ninth place (on 84 points) thanks to her win. She will have the opportunity to move further up the ranks over the fourth weekend of racing in Spielberg on 1 to 3 August. The event’s guest appearance outside of Germany on Austria’s Formula 1 track will once again consist of two races.

Quotes on the fifth race of the season on the Norisring

#19 Mikaela Åhlin-KottulinskyQualifying session: 2 – race: 1: “I never thought I would win the race here. I’m still asking myself whether that really just happened! I did manage to come second in one of the Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup races last year, and I knew a woman had never won a race in this one-make racing series. So now I have achieved this historic win. And it feels fantastic. The track conditions were very difficult and you had to keep adjusting to them – that was especially the case after the long interruption. I’m absolutely delighted to have won, but I also really hope that Yann Ehrlacher will be back behind the wheel in the next race, after his accident.”

Manuel Reuter, DTM legend and Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup mentor: “We really have to take our hats off to Mikaela and her performance! She really thumbed her nose at the lads in the cup, and she did it in difficult conditions too. Mikaela has shown that she has a real feel for driving. She kept everything under control after the restart behind the safety car, held Moritz Oberheim at a distance and didn’t make any mistakes. In all, it was a day full of action.”

#27 Sven HannawaldQualifying session: 18 – race: 20: “First of all, I’d like to take my hat off to Mikaela for her amazing performance. She really deserves to be congratulated for what she achieved. With the conditions being very difficult, I preferred to err on the side of caution today. I would much rather have been driving in dry conditions. It was difficult to see much with all the water on the track, and it was only towards the end that I had a little more confidence and even did some overtaking. Even so, having just recently had a foot operation, it was a good experience. Driving out there today was fun, I learned a lot and I would love to take part in the Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup again – it’s a fantastic racing series.”

#7 Moritz OberheimQualifying session: 6 – race: 2: “I’m really happy with second place, this podium position feels great. I was always good at karting in the rain, and I was able to prove that here. I made good a few positions at the start of the race, then gradually moved up into second place. But I was unable to catch up with Mikaela by then – she was simply too fast. It was also a particular honour for me to compete alongside Sven Hannawald today – he’s a true sporting legend.”

#17 Jordan Lee PepperQualifying session: 1 – race: 3: “I got off to a bad start in these slippery conditions and fell back to fourth place right away. I did then manage to make good one position, but Mikaela and Moritz were simply too fast for me. So I’m happy with third place today – especially as I finished in front of Jason Kremer, which means I have extended my overall lead in the championship.”