Ola Nilsson continued his march of triumph in the Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup at the Nürburgring. For the Swede, this was the sixth success in the seventh race. The podium was also mounted by Volkswagen rally junior Kevin Abbring (Netherlands) and Dennis Trebing (USA). The Legends classification, thanks to a sensational recovery, was decided by Volkswagen factory driver Sébastien Ogier (France) in fourth place overall. The Junior classification was surprisingly won by Michelle Gatting (Denmark) in eighth place overall.
Nilsson had underlined his exceptional position as early as in qualifying. Last year’s overall runner-up secured the best time with just one timed lap of 1m 41.173s. In the race, right after the start, he built an advantage over his immediate rivals Abbring and Trebing. A moment of shock on the second lap for rally star Sébastien Ogier: the Frenchman, who will contest the World Rally Championship with the Polo R WRC in 2013, was pushed off the track by the Pole Jakub Litwin after a braking maneuver made much too late by Litwin. In off-road style, Ogier regained control of his car and resumed the race from position ten. Litwin received a drive-through penalty. Moritz Oestreich was responsible for another unfortunate action when causing a collision with Juha Kankkunen, then missing the pit lane entrance with his heavily damaged car and shortly afterwards breaking down on the track.
Rally legends thrill crowd with sensational recovery
The rally aces, spearheaded by Carlos Sainz, managed an impressive comeback in the second half of the race. The two-time world rally champion had started into the race from position 22 and in the final phase overtook one rival after another. His fellow Legends entrant Sébastien Ogier ploughed through the field as well. On the penultimate lap he started his final overtaking maneuver and in a surprising recovery advanced to fourth place, thus securing the Legends classification. At the front of the field, Ola Nilsson after 14 laps was the first to cross the finish line ahead of guest entrant Kevin Abbring and US driver Dennis Trebing. Carlos Sainz in the end had made up eleven positions to finish in eleventh place. The rally legends Markku Alén and Juha Kankkunen (both Finland) finished the spectacular race in positions 19 and 25. The four-time world champion Kankkunen was struck by misfortune when he became entangled in a severe accident through no fault of his own two laps before the end and was unable to save the finish.
In the overall classification, Nilsson is leading with a score of 350 points ahead of Adam Gladysz (218) and can secure the 2012 champion’s title as early as at the next race weekend at Oschersleben (14–16 September). The field of the 27 entrants in the Scirocco R-Cup was led into the formation lap by the Volkswagen Polo R WRC at the Nürburgring. Tomorrow, at 12:05, Sébastien Ogier will be driving a few demo laps in the Polo R WRC for the fans at the Nürburgring.
#23 Ola Nilsson
Qualifying 1st – race 1st: This has been another perfect race weekend for me although I didn’t have my strongest races at the Nürburgring in the past. This time, everything worked out perfectly. After the start, I kept Kevin Abbring and Dennis Trebing at a healthy distance. Especially Kevin, like at the Norisring, showed a strong performance and I’m happy that he didn’t get too close to me. In the end, I could have run even faster because I still had some push-to-pass charges left. Obviously, things are looking very good in the championship three races before the end but it’s not decided yet. That’s why I’ll be travelling to Volkswagen’s home track at Oschersleben with full concentration.”
#49 Kevin Abbring
Qualifying 2nd – race 2nd: “Compared with the Norisring race I significantly improved yet again. In the Scirocco, I felt almost as comfortable as in a rally car. My speed was good across the whole distance. I’m super-happy with second place. Am I going to switch from rally to circuit racing? Not really. Once a rally racer -- always a rally racer.”
#22 Dennis Trebing
Qualifying 4th – race 3rd: “A fantastic race weekend for me at the Nürburgring. I’m super-happy with third place, which I’ve now got in the standings as well. My main aim for the remaining races is to outperform Adam Gladysz as the overall runner-up and to secure the ‘vice champion’s’ title.”
#54 Sébastien Ogier
Qualifying 8th – race 4th: “It was an action-packed race for me. I started into the race from position eight, was heavily hit on lap two and lost two or three places. Afterwards, I attacked again and improved to fourth place. In the end, being involved in so many duels and overtaking manoeuvres was huge fun. Maybe it was even more exciting than doing lonely laps at the front of the field. The drivers delivered a very good show to the crowd and the performance level is really good. For me, it was a nice change and good preparation for Rallye Deutschland next week.”
#50 Carlos Sainz
Qualifying 22nd – race 11th: “After the disaster in qualifying I’m really happy with the result. Ultimately advancing from grid position 22 to eleventh place is not a bad comeback. I really enjoyed the race, particularly because I had the chance to drive against my old rally colleagues Juha and Markku. And even though the Scirocco is great to drive it’s always a change from cars with four-wheel to front-wheel-drive.”
#53 Markku Alén
Qualifying 26th – race 19th: “The level of the young drivers really impressed me. It is extremely good for a junior series. I immensely enjoyed the weekend. Although despite y “personal coach” JJ Lehto I wasn’t among the front runners, driving a race after such a long time does revive one’s racing feelings. My start wasn’t good because I didn’t see the starting lights at the far the rear of the field. This caused me to fall behind the field right at the beginning. But as the race went on I managed to handle the car and the push-to-pass button better and better. With a little more experience in the car, it’s likely that quite a bit more would have been possible – but in any case it was huge fun.”
#52 Juha Kankkunen
Qualifying 27th – race 25th: “The race weekend had ups and downs for me. My qualifying session was poor. In the race then, I advanced and at times was even running in front of Carlos. He probably hadn’t expected that. Shortly before the end of the race I was involved in an accident through no fault of my own. I had no chance to get out of the way. It’s a shame that I wasn’t able to finish in the end. But the excursion to the Scirocco R-Cup was again really good fun.”