Two double winners at the season’s opener in sunny Mugello/Italy / Klaus Angerhofer wins twice from Önder Erdem in GT4- & Overall / Event organizer Georg Silbermayr takes both Elite Class victories / Italy’s SIM Racing Star Enzo Bonito dominates Rookies Challenge race one / Second Rookies Race goes to Austria’s Mathias Pelzmann.
The X-BOW BATTLE started its tenth season in Italy’s Mugello as part of the program for the 12-Hour Race of the Creventic “24 H Series”. There was a great atmosphere for the race thanks to the combination of perfect spring weather, and the beautiful Tuscan landscape, even though some starters had to cancel at short notice due to the unusually early start to the season. Nothing distracted from the tension, however, and there was a hard fight for victory in all classes.
That Klaus Angerhofter was the fastest qualifier with the best overall time, and in the GT4 class, came as no surprise. But the fact that Önder Erdem was relatively close behind him in another KTM X-BOW GT4 was quite remarkable. Holger Baumgartner completed the top three on the grid after he had exchanged his elite class vehicle (which won last season's championship) for a GT4. "BOB BAU", the best elite driver, started the race from fourth on the grid. It was, however, the young Italian Enzo Bonito who created the biggest surprise when he put one of the 12 brand new Rookies Challenge racing cars into the seventh place on the grid for the race. The battle for positions began after a spectacular, but problem-free start. Event organizer Georg Silbermayr, who was once again at the wheel of his own KTM X-BOW, immediately overtook Baumgartner and "BAU" and then engaged in a spirited three-way fight for the lead. It was some time later that Önder Erdem emerged as a serious threat to leader Klaus Angerhofer. It was not until the last laps that Angerhofer established the pecking order, pulled away by some seconds to take a clear victory in both the GT4 class and the overall. Silbermayr's attack on Erdem in the final lap was unsuccessful, allowing the Turkish driver to celebrate second place, while Silbermayr was third overall and took the Elite Class victory. Holger Baumgartner completed the GT4 podium in overall fourth after fending off vigorous challenges by Thomas Westarp, a newcomer to the GT4 class, at the end of the race. "BOB BAU” (P7 overall) and local hero Dario Gambino joined Silbermayr on the Elite podium.
The most spectacular racing action, however, came from the Rookies Challenge participants. One driver managed to distance himself from the hard-fought two, three and multi-driver battles right from the start of the race. Italian Enzo Bonito, a professional SIM Racer, who was successful in a ‘real’ car for the first time in this year’s “Race of Champions” when he won, among others, direct duels with Formula E champion Luca di Grassi and Indy500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay, was able to show his real talent in Mugello. He put in a brilliant start to take victory in the Rookies Class and finish overall sixth. Behind him were drivers with experience from last season. Marcel Marchiewicz, who emerged from the screening program “Super Racer” to win a start place in the Rookies Challenge, just managed to hold off his German countryman Patrick Sing. It was easy to see that the two drivers were pleased with their podium places because the newcomer had really hit the gas. Behind them were Matthias Pelzmann, also driving with some experience from the 2018 season, in front of the best newcomer Daniel Haffa in fifth, followed by other rookies Niclas Stumpp and Leon Wassertheurer. The duel between the two Austrian Rally aces in the opening race went to Kris Rosenberger, who beat Gerwald Grössing by 0.320 seconds.
The result of the first race also decided the starting grid for race two, and in the end it saw no changes to the top three places. Klaus Angerhofer won again from Önder Erdem and Georg Silbermayr, the latter again shared the Elite podium with “BOB BAU”. There was a change in the GT4 classification when Thomas Westarp displaced Holger Baumgartner from the podium and in doing so celebrated his first podium in only his second race in the GT4 class. Once again the Rookies Challenge drivers put in a sensational race, but there was a little chaos among the field after a Code 60 phase, following a small mishap by Rookies starter Tassilo von Bayern. The marshals’ flag posts were in parts of the track a long way from each other, so when some drivers saw ‘green', others were still driving according to the Code 60 rule. One consolation, albeit a tiny one for those affected by the situation is that there are no more races this season with the Code 60 rule. Immediately affected by this incident was Enzo Bonito, winner of the first race. He had an unfortunate ‘encounter' with an Elite driver, which certainly cost him another comfortable victory. Another unlucky fellow was Niclas Stumpp. After showing his great potential with the second best laptime of the Rookies and fighting for the podium throughout the majority of the race, he was also a victim of the failed Code60 phase. This allowed Matthias Pelzmann to celebrate the win after he just managed to beat Patrick Sing and Marcel Marchiewicz. Daniel Haffa was again impressive, and without the Code 60 mishap, he would have been able to fight for a podium place. Behind him, the two youngest drivers, the 16- respectivly 17-year-olds Leon Wassertheurer and Jan Rihs, showed their talent to finish the race in fifth and sixth place. Daniel Haffa’s brother Felix was seventh in the Rookies race, followed by the two rally veterans Gerwald Grössing and Kris Rosenberger. Grössing was able to turn the screw in the second race to dispense with his rival, even though their backgrounds in rally flushed out something curious. When it came to the challenges of the circuit, both rally drivers, apparently missed having a co-driver by their side, failed to enter the track to line up at the correct time and had to start the race from the pits…
Fotos: Joel Kernasenko
>> All Results
>> All Results
>> Championship Standings
>> Championship Standings