Chris Smiley celebrates first Scirocco R-Cup win

Drama in Spielberg: Top three hurtle across finishing line within 0.2 seconds of each otherPlaymate Regatschnig celebrates her successful racing debutGuest entrant Rdest not seriously injured in accident

Chris Smiley of the UK has scored his first victory in what proved to be one of the closest races ever held in the Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup. In a dramatic finish, three Cup Scirocco cars crossed the line together as they battled to clinch the top spot in Spielberg, Austria. Smiley just had the edge, finishing 0.1 seconds ahead of Nicolaj Møller Madsen (DK). Third place in the race held in picturesque Alpine surroundings went to Victor Bouveng (S), who was 0.2 seconds behind.

After her historic first triumph on the Norisring, Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky (S) put in another spectacular performance on the Red Bull Ring – the best of the six female drivers in the field achieved a strong recovery, working her way up from twelfth to fourth place. The current overall leader Jordan Lee Pepper (ZA) finished in fifth place and defended his lead, putting him on 187 points, ahead of Bouveng’s 163.

Local hero Dominique Regatschnig (A) enjoyed a successful debut, finishing 21st in an action-packed event involving plenty of gripping duels. In contrast, the race was already over on the sixth lap for the second guest entrant Gosia Rdest (PL), who was involved in a duel with Lucile Cypriano (F), came into contact with her and careered into a crash barrier. The racing talent Rdest was able to get out of her vehicle and suffered no major injuries, while Cypriano was hit with a drive-through penalty.

The accident was just one of many incidents in a race that remained dry, in spite of the ominous black storm clouds looming on the horizon. The first surprise came right at the start of the race when Nicolaj Møller Madsen, who had clinched pole position in the morning, got off to a very poor start. He fell back to fifth place for a while during the first lap, and had to then work his way back up the field. The German driver Moritz Oberheim and Smiley took the lead and engaged in a thrilling duel for the top spot that lasted many laps.

The decision between the two of them was then made during the safety car phase following Gosia Rdest’s accident: Oberheim, who was in the lead, brushed Smiley on lap nine and went into a spin. Smiley then took the lead and just managed to hold onto it to the finishing line, in spite of a dramatic three-way battle. Behind Smiley, the current Junior Cup leader Møller Madsen succeeded in overtaking Bouveng on the final corner, to clinch second place. Of the local boys from Austria, Marcel Müller (A) was the most successful in this up-and-down event in Styria, crossing the finishing line in eighth place.

Chris Smiley will have the opportunity to score a double victory by winning the second race on Sunday, when he will be in pole position. He is followed by Victor Bouveng of Sweden and Møller Madsen, both of whom are bound to want revenge for Smiley’s very narrow win.

Quotes on the sixth race of the season, in Spielberg

Manuel Reuter, DTM legend and Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup mentor: “It was very high-level motorsport, a very impressive race. It’s rare to see such a thrilling three-way battle right up to the finishing line. By managing to move up through the pack, Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky proved that her win on the Norisring was more than just a flash in the pan. Overall, we can see that the rookies succeeded in largely cancelling out the advantage that the more experienced drivers have. It’s an ongoing learning process. Drivers such as Lucile Cypriano and Moritz Oberheim will learn from the mistakes they made in this race too. Dominique Regatschnig enjoyed a good debut. I’m already looking forward to the second race on Sunday, when at least six drivers will be in with a chance of winning.”

#22 Chris SmileyQualifying session: 3 – race: 1: “I’m absolutely thrilled at having achieved my first win. But it was a dramatic race on this tricky up-and-down circuit. I got off to a good start and waited for Moritz Oberheim to make a mistake. We then found ourselves alongside each other on a corner, it got narrower and narrower, and we briefly came into contact – a perfectly normal race duel. The end of the race was then very tough too, with Nicolaj and Victor both pushing really hard. But I managed to bag the win and I now look forward to being in pole position on Sunday.”

#14 Nicolaj Møller MadsenQualifying session: 1 – race: 2: “Ultimately, I’m happy overall with having got second place. I was less happy with the first ten seconds of the race, when I simply wasn’t paying attention. But I did go on to regain a lot of the ground I lost. On the last corner, I hoped I’d be able to pass the two of them again. And I did at least manage to overtake one of them – but Chris was just that little bit quicker.”

#14 Victor BouvengQualifying session: 7 – race: 3: “I started well and I soon moved up from seventh place. From then on, it was a tough race at a very high level of racing. I’m a bit disappointed that I lost another position on the final corner. But that fires me up even more for the second race, which I absolutely want to win.”

#29 Dominique RegatschnigQualifying session: 24 – race: 21: “This was the first time for me to compete behind the wheel of a racing car, and a thousand things were racing through my head. I’ve never experienced a start like that before, for example. After that, I fell back a bit and then I also spun the car. But it was great fun, and I’m already looking forward to the second race on Sunday, when I hope to be able to keep up with the pack a bit better.”