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Spring Prize of Brno 2004

1st - 2nd May 2004

Jarni cena Brna - event report

Inaugural meeting of 2004 season at Brno hosted the first round of newly formed Super Sprint Challenge, Czech International Championship in divisions 2, 3 and 4, Austrian Championship for touring cars and historic cars. The main race of the weekend was Superfund Euro 3000, which is a second league for Formula 3000 cars. While in International Formula 3000 Championship there race latest generation cars (Lola B2/50), in this Euro 3000 series we could see earlier cars from 1999 (Lola B99/50). Among drivers there were two names worth to mention: Mathias Lauda and Sven Heidfeld, son and brother of two famous formula 1 drivers. But none of them was able to keep the pace with fastest pilots. But we would like to concentrate on sportscar part of the meeting.

Friday - 30th June

Super Sprint Challenge was created by a fusion of Interserie Super Sprint Challenge and Sports Car Challenge, former Euroserie organised by Walter Pedrazza. As a result of this fusion we got some form of 'formula libre' racing with sportscars and racing cars running together. Interserie's main effort for 2004 should have been Endurance Trophy for sportscar that should return Interserie to its roots that were sports prototypes but according to latest information it seems that the new series will not happen due to lack of interest of possible entrants and both races at Most were cancelled.

Despite the joint forces of SCC and Interserie the entry was a bit disappointing and was far from more than thirty expected participants. The field is divided into four divisions. Division 1 is for 3 litre sportscars running usually to group CN specifications, but these cars can be fitted with F3000 engines. Division 2 consists of two litre sportscars but 3 litre two valves Alfa Romeo engines are also allowed to participate in this division. Last two divisions are for F3000 cars (div.3) and various two litre formulas (division 4). Theoretically division 3 cars should be fastest by far, but from two cars present only Peter Milavec with Lola Audi Turbo F3000 was keeping the pace with 3 litre sportscars. He set fastest time in both qualifying sessions. Henry Büttner in another F3000 was only a mid-field runner. In the main sportscar division 1 only four of ten entered cars appeared during official practice session. During Thursday unofficial test session before the meeting there was also Zajeslnik running a ex-Konrad Lola-Chevrolet SR1 prototype in division 1 but after engine problems he packed the car up and went home even before the event started. Another division 1 sports prototype that was out of race before Saturday's qualifying session was Michal Pavlik's PRC-BMW. The problem was a broken differential. Altogether 12 cars formed the division 2. Most of them were private PRC entries but there was present also rather quick Argo JM21 driven by Wolfgang Dietmann and another local and very unusual car Baghira with Skoda 1800cc engine. Not only it was the first time it entered Pedrazza's series but the car was exceptional by a fact that it was built in late 70s (!) and ran in Czech National Group 6 Championship 1978÷1980. This one-off built car was driven by Edita Praskova. One of the 2-litre cars, PRC (driven by Burkhard Stricker) was packed due to broken engine after the first qualifying session and went home.

After the start of Saturday's race the pole sitter Peter Milavec in Lola Turbo F3000 lost two places and ran third behind quick PRC-BMW of Wolfgang Payr and PRC-Mugen of Gerd Beisel. However during the first lap Milavec managed to overtake both PRCs and led the first five laps of the race. Before the end of lap 6 he spun and lost some time. By that time Beisel was leading Payr and it looked that Milavec would finish third. However after PRC of woman Kamila Stara stopped on track a safety car appeared on track. It was just for a single lap but it was enough for Milavec to reduce the gap behind two PRCs and with two laps to go, Milavec had not problems to overtake both, Payr in lap 9 and Beisel in the final 10th lap. The only Osella in the field driven by Swiss woman Sabrina Hungerbuhler originally ran fourth but retired in lap 4 and never appeared on track during the meeting again. In that situation remaining division 1 car driven by best local driver Michal Dolak took the challenge and finished on division 1 podium. Dolak was also a winner of newly and very unofficially established Proto-Cup, which is a cup for Czech drivers with sports prototypes. After these type of cars had been excluded from Czech National Endurance Championship, a web server www.vrchy.com decided to announce this cup that would be run within Czech races of Euroserie and Interserie. There is planned an own race later in the season and if three or more Czech drivers would start in any sportscar race abroad, vrchy.com would add it to the series. Second position in that cup belonged to Martin Vondrak and the third finished Edita Praskova, a women that drove Baghira.

Back to the official Challenge. Division 2 for sportscar was won by "Tesitore" from Austria but racing with Slovenian driving licence. He finished 5th overall and led his division almost whole race. The exception was lap 1 when Dietmann in Argo JM21 was leading. Division 4 consisted of five rather slow formula cars. It was easily won by Manfred Kuhn in aging Reynard F3 from 1987.

Second SSC race was rather similar as race 1. After the start both PRCs of Payr and Beisel took the lead ahead of Milavec. With Osella already out of competition, Dolak ran fourth ahead of "Tesitore". Milavec now needed four laps to take the lead but after that, he was unchallenged until the end. Payr ran second but was strongly challenged by Beisel. That duel culminated in the final 10th lap when Beisel tried to overtake Payr but both cars touched and Beisel went off. Payr with damaged front part of the bodywork crossed the finished line second still safely ahead Dolak's PRC that was handicaped by using CN engine prepared for endurance races instead of F3000 engine. "Tesitore" wan his division ahead of Gerhard Müch and Argo of Dietmann. Division 3 obviously belonged again to Milavec who almost lapped his only division competitor Henry Büttner in Reynard-Mader. Smallest division 4 was once again won by Manfred Kuhn.

Saturday - 31st June

The field of Czech National Endurance Championship was hit hard by forbiddance of sports-prototypes and thus DTM Mercedes owned by Charouz and raced by himself and well known Tomas Enge was almost by 10 seconds quicker than any other car in the field. The only sportscars in the field were two Porsche 996 GT3s. There were also several well developped touring cars that were decorated by large spoilers and wings, among them Tatra Ecorra of team Hajdusek, VW New Beattle from Poland and several BMW M3s. A single Skoda Octavia of Krenek Motorsport and Maderyc's Audi A4 ST were another challengers for overall honours.

Charouz's co-driver in Mercedes, local star Tomas Enge, took the lead after the start and with the fastest car in the field he had no problem to lap all cars but two Porsches 996 GT3 from Slovakia within 20 minutes into the race. Five minutes later Enge was already the only driver in the lead lap. Honzik in Machanek's Porsche ran 2nd ahead of Bezak/Studenic/Jurena Porsche. Audi of Maderyc/Zbozinek was 4th in the early stages of the race ahead of European Hillclimb driver Otakar Kramsky in newly prepared BMW M3 GTR. The only Skoda Octavia in the field ran 6th followed by another BMW M3 trio but retired soon after. A special called Tatra Ecorra ran 10th.

After 35 minutes Machanek's Porsche had two unscheduled pitstops due to some wheel problem. When returned it ran 18th behind one of Peugeots 306. Only five minutes later another of top 6 cars suffered mechanical problems. It was BMW of Kramsky that fall down to 30th position out of 44 starters. By the middle of the race Libal/Kramsky improved to 17th position but then failed to finish the race.

Enge pitted after 75 minutes and gave the car to Charouz with full 3 laps lead ahead of Audi A4 of Maderyc. Audi ran just for one pitstop while Studenic's Porsche used two pitstop strategy and that was why Audi ran 2nd since 68th minute of the race and stayed there for almost half hour before its own pitstop. Later the positions stabilised as follows: Charouz (Mercedes), who added another lap to the lead during his stint, Studenic/Bezak/Jurena (Porsche), Maderyc/Zbozinek (Audi), Kacirek (BMW M3), Konopka (BMW M3) and Machanek (Porsche) who improved his position after earlier problems very much. There happened nothing important until the end of the race. Only Enge returned to Mercedes and lapped all cars twice or more and won with 6 lap lead, and Machanek's Porsche overtook BMW of Konopka/Princ and finished 5th. Remaining positions among top 10 belonged to another BMW of Senkyr/Rosina, Vankat's specially bodied Seat Leon, VW New Beatle from Poland and Alfa Romeo 147 of Lucak/Duda.

Sunday - 1st August

This year division 4 sprint races were divided into two separate races: over 1600cc and under 1600cc. While there are no interesting cars in the 1600cc class, in the larger class altogether five Porsche 911 GT3 appeared. However non of them was able to keep the pace with Antonin Charouz in DTM Mercedes. However Sudenic in his Cup Porsche 996 was in official practice session only 3.5 slower than Charouz in Mercedes, who was by 3 or 4 seconds slower than Enge who however didn't participate in the sprint. Unfortunately after the start there was a big accident. Safety car was called but the race was red-flagged very soon during unfinished lap 2. Instead of racing, spectators could see ambulance and helicopter. Peter Princ spun one of Machanek's Porsches and while staying across the track he was hit by Kusin (BMW) in a full speed. Both cars were crashed very heavily and Princ was injured, probably very seriously. The race was postponed to late evening after we left the meeting. We would inform about the race and healthy situation of Princ later.

Update 4/5/2004: According to our latest information injured driver Peter Princ is still in coma and his injuries are very serious.

The race was won by Charouz (Mercedes) ahead Studenic (Porsche), Maderyc (Audi), Konopka (Porsche), Liedl (Audi), Machanek (Porsche), Bezák (Porsche) and Hajdušek (Tatra Ecorra). Otakar Kramsky with the fasted BMW M3 decided not to start the second part of the race.

Update 13/9/2005: We are happy to send this update that we hoped for: During our weekend at Prerov we have learnt that injured Peter Princ is now healed and recovered but as a former hobby driver he is not likely to return to racing.

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