|SUCCESS FOR INTREPID FORCE ROTAX AT AUSTRIAN MASTERS|
Intrepid drivers literally filled the podium at the Austrian Masters over the weekend at the Speedworld circuit near Vienna, with victories in both the Junior and Senior Max classes.
The vibrant colours of the Italian kart were splashed all over the prize-giving ceremony as Intrepid Force Rotax drivers Daniel Schellnegger and official Intrepid pilot Steel Guiliana stepped-up to take their places for 1st and 2nd respectively, joined by Jack Swinkels (TKP Holland) completing the all-Intrepid podium in Juniors.
In the Senior class, Kevin Reichard was unbeatable on his home track, giving Intrepid Force Rotax yet another win on the day while factory entry in the team Ricardo Romkema (also supported by TKP Holland) finished in 3rd. On the eve of his 15th birthday, Imre Brizido of Hungary (Birel) split the pair for 2nd.
With the Rotax Euro Challenge scheduled for the Pachfurth complex later this month, it gave the Intrepid team a chance to match themselves against the competition whilst maximising the opportunity to do some additional testing before the regulation 10-day driving ban begins this weekend. The hot, breezy conditions were similar to what has been the case at the European event in the previous years.
The Masters was the third straight meeting in the past weeks at the circuit Schellnegger has proved to be too good, dominating the race results completely this time and taking the chequered flag easily in both. He set the best lap in qualifying (44.439) ahead of fellow Intrepid driver Mats van der Brand of the Netherlands (TKP Holland) almost 4/100th off the pace.
Guiliana only 6th quickest managed to fight his way through the front-runners up to 2nd in the opening race, holding onto his position to make it 2nd again in Race 2. Swinkels pushed hard but was unable to wear down the Aussie, taking 3rd in both as van den Brand failed to make any advance on the leaders then unfortunately came in underweight in the final race.
So, Intrepid cleaned-up taking the top 3 places at the Masters. Austrians Thomas Jäger (CRG) and Simon Wagner (CRG) joined in the shuffling for positions but had to settle for 4th and 5th in the 22-kart field. Laura Kraihamer making her return to the seat after over a month out, struggled early on but to her credit came through to finish 8th in combined points for IFR. She’ll spend more time at the Speedworld track this week getting in extra laps.
Clearly happy with the results, Schellnegger explained that his UK mechanic Steve Chapman worked him hard, changing more things on his kart that weekend than many of the other drivers put together.
“We tested a lot; carbies, engines, you name it and at the end it was very helpful for us in getting the best set-up. In the two hour session before timed practice this morning, we made so many adjustments it was crazy. I think I have a good chance now to get into the top 3 at the European and hopefully we’ll only have to make small changes to stay fast.”
Setting a new official lap record (43.657) for Speedworld’s international #2 circuit in Senior Max, Reichard secured pole position for race 1 and although the battle for minor places was close during the two afternoon races, he remained unchallenged and built a strong lead. World #1 Romkema finished with a 5th and 2nd to end up 3rd overall, only to be edged out by Brizido who took a convincing 2nd place. Local driver Franz Kuncic (CRG) was 4th and James Bean (Sodi) of Great Britain also gearing-up for the Euro challenge event, claimed 5th.
For Reichard, the priority was not really about winning the trophy.
“It was most important to complete some good testing this weekend and see what would happen as the grip went down on the track. The day went well for us and even if it was not all about the results, it’s still great to have come away with the win in the Austrian Masters. It’s been good for our team.”
With scheduled testing to continue this week, Intrepid Force Rotax are very serious about getting even better results at the upcoming round of the European Rotax Championship than they did in Germany last May, where four of the team drivers finished in the top 10.
For regular updates about the ‘Intrepid Force Rotax’ team, visit the official homepage at www.racetogetthere.com.