First the international qualifying match for the European Football Championship and then the race track – the perennial duel between Germany and Austria will be marked by two highlights this weekend. In addition to the UEFA qualification match, the Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup at the Red-Bull-Ring in Spielberg from 3 to 5 June will see a thrilling meeting.
The spotlight will be on the duel between two ski jump aces. Sven Hannawald (Munich) and Thomas Morgenstern (Austria) will compete in the Legends classification of the Scirocco R-Cup. The off-track tallies of the two high-flyers are impressive: four Olympic gold and two Olympic silver medals and 13 world championship medals. The field of legends will be completed by the Austrian alpine skiing stars Michael Walchhofer (2003 downhill world champion) and Hans Knauß (1998 Olympic super G silver medalist, among other things).
The football fans Morgenstern, the current winner of the Four Hill Tournament, and Hannawald (the 2002 tournament winner) are eager to fight the international duel in the 275-hp bio natural gas Scirocco: Both tested the Cup Scirocco last week and were obviously thrilled with the push-to-pass button that delivers a ten-second power boost of 50 hp. For Morgenstern, this will be the first car race in his career whereas Hannawald switched from his ski racing suit to a car racing overall in 2005 and is currently successfully contesting the ADAC GT Masters.
Irrespective of the outcome of the international football match on Friday, for the race weekend at Spielberg the two skiing eagles are excluding the possibility of a non-aggression pact like the one in Gijon at the 1982 World Football Championship. Hannawald: "On the ski jump I wouldn’t stand a chance against Thomas any more but on the race track I’m eager to see how strong a rival he’ll be." Morgenstern displays a fighting spirit: "Just like our national football team I’ll give everything in a battle against a seemingly superior rival and make life difficult for Sven on the race track."
Thomas Morgenstern, three-time Olympic winner and seven-time world champion: "I’m looking forward to an exciting weekend at the Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg. This will be my first real race and no doubt a big challenge. I’m particularly taken with the push-to-pass button on the steering wheel that allows you to use a power boost of 50 hp 15 times per race. This makes for an additional racing feeling and adrenalin surge. The tests in Germany were very promising but actually I’ve got no aims – except for finishing safely and not being lapped too often. Of course I’ll give my best and try to put up a good fight particularly against the other prominent racers like Sven Hannawald, Michael Walchhofer or Hans Knauß. But the most important thing will be to have fun."
Sven Hannawald, Olympic winner and two-time world champion:
"I’m very much looking forward to the Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup at the new Red Bull Ring. Although the Scirocco does not have as much power as my Corvette in the ADAC GT Masters I did have a lot of fun during the practice sessions at Oschersleben. The push-to-pass button in particular is a great idea that would also fit other racing series. For me running at Spielberg is a perfect opportunity to get to know the track as in mid-August we’ll be racing there in the ADAC GT Masters. And needless to say I also look forward to the match between Germany and Austria, not only on TV on Friday night but also on the track where I’ll be competing against my ski jump colleague Thomas Morgenstern."
Michael Walchhofer, 2003 downhill world champion:
"During the past 25 years I was focused on a single aim: to make it down the hill as fast as possible. In view of this my run at the Scirocco R-Cup is a welcome change for me although having fun is absolutely the most important aspect for me at this event. Certainly, there are parallels between ski and car races. The feeling for the line, which you need on the slope as well as in the car on the race track, is a crucial factor. During the practice sessions in the Scirocco I noticed that I was a few corners too early as the saying goes in skiing. And just like you have to open up and correct your skis on the slope you do that with the steering wheel on the race track."