V8STAR - 5th Heat, 6 July 2002Int. 36. ADAC Westfalen Cup Race - Zolder Circuit Irmscher Motorsport Team takes 3rd place in Zolder in a roller-coaster race Zolder Circuit. This was a race weekend that saw the Irmscher Motorsport team yo-yoing...
V8STAR - 5th Heat, 6 July 2002Int. 36. ADAC Westfalen Cup Race - Zolder Circuit
Irmscher Motorsport Team takes 3rd place in Zolder in a roller-coaster race
Zolder Circuit. This was a race weekend that saw the Irmscher Motorsport team yo-yoing up and down on the placings lists. Already the qualifying was nothing short of a roller-coaster for Johnny Cecotto: after taking a good 5th place in the time training, he was then thrown right back to 11th position on the starting grid after an accident during the top 12 qualifying.
As in the previous event at the Lausitzring, the rankings leader set off on a chase, and thanks to some sensational driving had worked his way up into 4th place by the end of the first section. However, this performance by Cecotto, together with a perfect wheel change by the team that took him another three positions up the field, was then wrecked by the race management because of overrunning the time limit for the compulsory pit stop, and the silver, red and black Omega again found itself right at the back of the field, in position 19.
But as a fighter with 30 years of motor racing experience behind him, even this blow was not enough to dishearten the man from Venezuela. Instead, in the remaining 35 minutes of the race, he pulled out all the stops, outclassed nearly all his competitors, and finally took the flag in 4th place. After the race, through the exclusion of Thiim, the V8STAR champion of 2001 even found himself one place higher. Whether Cecotto will be able to keep this third place is not yet sure, though, because an appeals procedure is still running against him because of an overtaking manoeuvre during the neutralisation phase between the two sections of the race.
Cecotto currently leads the drivers' rankings with 148 points, and after five out of ten races is half-time champion, followed by Lechner (140 points) and Mutsch (139 points).
Voices after the race
Johnny Cecotto: "I was forced off the track by Lechner in the top 12 qualifying, which made me spin and then Asch ran into me from behind. The car was very badly damaged by this accident, and the team had to work really hard to get it ready again in time. In the race, the car went very well, and without that stupid mistake, the second section of the race would have been a lot more relaxed, and I would presumably have come in even further forward."
Klaus Schuppener: "Although we had to start virtually from nowhere twice in the race, we still managed to come in third in the end. We were very well prepared, as our times over the weekend show. The team did an excellent job both after the accident and during the race, and Johnny once again put up a fantastic performance. It will be an enormous pity if we are robbed of the reward for all this hard work by a judges' decision."