Sports Car Challenge Report – Most, August 25-26
The Sports Car Challenge meeting at Most in the Czech Republic saw
action on and off the track: it does not happen every day that a
race has to be postponed for helicopter damage.
The sportscars were a support series for the European
Truck Racing Championship weekend on the Czech circuit, and a healthy
crowd was on hand on a rainy and windy Saturday. It was dry for
the first qualifying session, which established the grid for race
1, to be held later in the day. The season-long confrontation between
Wolfgang Payr and Tony Sinclair continued on the 3.4k long track,
not far from the Czech-German border; some 0.145 seconds decided
the battle for pole position, in favour of the Austrian and his
Cosworth-powered PRC. In third spot on the grid, Pius Truffer again
seemed to have it all his way in division 2 while in the GT class,
with a field of seven cars on hand for this weekend, Klaus Stanek
in his 996 Cup had the upper hand over the GT3-R of Philipp Zumstein.
In his first year of racing, Olympic and World Cup ski champion
Patrick Ortlieb made his series debut, another retired Austrian
wintersports hero to make the transition to four-wheeled competition.
He did all right for himself, with a fourth place in class in each
of the two races.
Shortly before the Saturday race, two things happened:
a) it started to rain, and b) a helicopter took to the skies to
provide aerial shots for the TV coverage of the truck race. The
pilot decided to turn this into air-to-ground combat, with a series
of ultra-low “strafing runs” over the paddock area that
sent tents and equipment flying, and even knocked a few people to
the ground. In the light of the damage caused by this rather irresponsible
behaviour, the SCC race was postponed; the teams managed to clean
up the gravest mess, and still get their cars ready to race within
who put their money on slicks for this 15 lap race lost. It rained
harder as the race progressed, and pole sitter Wolfgang Payr made
full use of his advantageous position. Aided by the fact that his
main rival, Briton Tony Sinclair in the Jade-IES, had to come to
terms with a new car not previously raced in such conditions, the
Austrian put some 16 seconds between himself and the field, and
drove the race win home in solid fashion.
With Sinclair safe in second place, the main battle
of the race was for the lead in Division 2, and third place overall.
Karl-Heinz Matzinger in the Hoffmann Racing PRC, had an excellent
start and took the lead from Pius Truffer, the fastest qualifier
among the “Lights” field. Lap 2 saw Matzinger dropping
down the order following a spin, he then worked his way back up
the leaderboard, and eventually got up to third in class. Truffer
then remained, closely shadowed all the way by sportscar rookie
Jörg Peham in the PRC-Honda. Peham had previously only raced
Porsches but adjusted very well to the sports prototype.
In Division 4, the all-Porsche GT class, Austrians
Klaus Stanek and Martin Sagmeister won from Switzerland’s
Peter Bernhard, all driving 996 Cup Porsches.
1. Wolfgang Payr/A, PRC-Cosworth (1. Div.1), 15 Laps in 29:02,550
2. Tony Sinclair/GB, Jade-IES (2. Div.1), -16,363sec.
3. Pius Truffer/CH, PRC-BMW (1. Div.2), -59,866
4. Jörg Peham/A, PRC-Honda (2. Div.2), -1:06,436
5. Klaus Stanek/A, Porsche 996 Cup (1. Div.4), -1:17,339
6. Gerd Beisel/D, PRC-BM (3. Div.1), -1:34,827
7. Karl-Heinz Matzinger/A, PRC-Opel (3. Div.2), -1:35,422
8. Gerhard Münch/D, Norma-Honda, -1:35,822
9. Mirco Schultis/D, PRC-Honda, -1:47,552
10. Martin Sagmeister/A, Porsche 996 Cup (2. Div.4), -1:58,383
11. Peter Bernhard/CH, Porsche 996 Cup (3. div.4), -1 L.
12. Patrick Ortlieb/A, Porsche 996 Cup
13. Paul Pfefferkorn/A, Porsche 996 Cup
14. Gregor Fischer/CH, PRC-BMW, -2 L.
15. Rudi Hämmerle/A, PRC-Honda
16. Henry Uhlig/D, PRC-Opel
17. Philipp Zumstein/CH, Porsche 996 GT3-RSR
18. Thomas Wolfert/D, MRP-Opel
19. Carlo M. Bermes/D, PRC-Opel, -6 L.
20. Adi Gärtner/D, Martini-Alfa, -13 L.
Otto Dragoun/A, PRC-Opel
Peter Kormann/D, PRC-BMW
The skies looked friendlier, and luckily devoid
of any helicopters, for race 2 on Sunday. Qualifying was won by
Tony Sinclair, from Payr and the third main combatant in Division
1, Gerd Beisel with his PRC-BMW. Peham in the little 2l Honda-engined
PRC was right alongside Beisel on row 2, and Zumstein as the fastest
of the GTs, taking advantage of the GT2 car’s extra power
in the dry conditions.
And it stayed dry all afternoon - until minutes
before the SCC race. Again the tyre drama unfolded as some drivers
went for wets or intermediates, others stayed on slicks. The latter
didn’t have a hope of defending their places during the initial
phase of this 12 lap race, as Tony Sinclair found out: while Payr’s
silver PRC sped away in the lead, the green Jade moved down the
order. Beisel and Peham gave chase as the sun came out and the track
started to dry up quite rapidly. Suddenly, those on “wets”
found themselves in trouble.
While the eventual
GT winner, Kurt Peter in his Porsche 996 Cup, hung onto his lead
until the end, Pay’s lead began to melt like ice in the sunshine.
From somewhere in mid-field, Sinclair re-appeared in the top 6,
then the top 3.
Going into the
last lap, he was 10 seconds down on Payr; coming out of the last
corner, he was in the lead. Punching the air in jubilation, the
Briton celebrated a spectacular win in the closest finish of the
With Beisel in third place, the overall podium was
exclusively a Divison 1 affair; Jörg Peham crowned his first
weekend of sports prototype racing with a fine class win in front
of Karl-Heinz Matzinger who had started from pit lane, and Beisel’s
team mate Gerhard Münch in he Norma M20.
Kurt Peter, Martin Sagmeister and Philipp Zumstein
made up the GT podium, with Patrick Ortlieb again in an unrewarded
1. Tony Sinclair/GB, Jade-IES (1. Div.1), 12 Laps in 22:43,800
2. Wolfgang Payr/A, PRC-cosworth (2. Div.1), -2,188sec.
3. Gerd Beisel/D, PRC-BMW (2. Div.1), -8,565sec.
4. Jörg Peham/A, PRC-Honda (1. Div.2), -9,088sec.
5. Karl-Heinz Matzinger/A, PRC-Opel (2. Div.2), -22.500sec.
6. Gerhard Münch/D, Norma-Honda (3. Div.2), -46,519sec.
7. Peter Kormann/D, PRC-BMW, -49,924sec.
8. Mirco Schultis/D,PRC-Honda , -1:09,439sec.
9. Gregor Fischer/CH, PRC-BMW, -1:24,318
10. Kurt Peter/CH, Porsche 996 Cup (1. Div.4), 1:56,004sec.
11. Martin Sagmeister/A, Porsche 996 Cup (2. Div.4), -2:40,471sec.
12. Philipp Zumstein/CH, Porsche 996 GT3-R (3. Div.4), -1L.
13. Patrick Ortlieb/A, Porsche 996 Cup
14. Thomas Wolfert/D, MRP-Opel
15. Klaus Stanek, Porsche 996 Cup
16. Paul Pfefferkorn/A, Porsche 996 Cup
17. Adi Gärtner/CH, Martini-Alfa
18. Henry Uhlig/D, PRC-Opel
19. Rudi Hämmerle/A, PRC-Honda, -3L.
20. Carlo Bermes/D, PRC-Opel, -4L.
Pius Truffer/CH, PRC-BMW
The Sports Car
Challenge returns to the Czech Republic on September 23/24, for
two races at Brno.