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Autocross Prerov 2005

10th - 11th September 2005

European Championship for Autocross Drivers - report

Report

During second sunny weekend in September we had taken an opportunity to take part at the European autocross championship event and bring to you original RSC report. The race was held in Prerov, Czech Republic, and was penultimate round of the championship. There were four classes, in each between 14 and 20 entered drivers. Three classes were for autocross specials, the last class was destined for autocross adjusted touring cars.

General format and structure of races is quite different from what we know in sportscar racing, which RSC site is devoted to. Autocross races consist of three series of heats (each series consists of two short races). Drivers are given points based on results in each particular heat and those points decide grids positions in next heats as well as qualifying for the final. If there is enough cars in a class then two finals are held. Final B for cars placed 9th to 18th based on three heat results and final A for best ten drivers. If the final B is held then final A is for 1st to 8th best placed cars with other two added based on final B result. So that's enough about the race system, now we can move to the particular classes and races, as well as some photos from the interesting meeting.

Autocross Prerov 2005 (European Championship for Autocross Drivers - report) - picture number 001Autocross Prerov 2005 (European Championship for Autocross Drivers - report) - picture number 002Autocross Prerov 2005 (European Championship for Autocross Drivers - report) - picture number 003Autocross Prerov 2005 (European Championship for Autocross Drivers - report) - picture number 004

Division 3 - specials up to 4000 cc

Class for specials over 1600 cc usually draws the biggest attention at autocross events. For many years Czech drivers are rather dominant in this class but sometimes there appears foreign driver that threats their leading position. This year, it is Mathias Behringer from Germany, second in 2004. He was championship leader and had a good chance to become champions here at Prerov. His nearest oponent was Petr Bartoš followed by other two Czech drivers. Bartoš did very well in all his heats and won them all, while Behringer was twice second.

Autocross Prerov 2005 (European Championship for Autocross Drivers - report) - picture number 005Autocross Prerov 2005 (European Championship for Autocross Drivers - report) - picture number 006

The final A race had to be started three times. On the first start nervous Behringer made very early start and the race was immediately stopped. Unless the start is stopped twice due to same driver's fault, he could take part in the second start. Bartoš again appeared in the lead but after two and half laps the race was stopped because of an accident of Arno Soyke from Austria. Ambulace was called to check the driver and his car was towed off the track. No times from the second start were counted toward the final A and whole race was started from scratch at the third start. Now it was all OK and cars fought all seven laps for European points. While the heat did long not even five minutes, it was very important not to make any mistake. Bartoš was in the lead from the beginning while Behringer had slower start but soon appeared second. He ran visibly quicker than Bartoš, at least in the final corner before the finish line and in the middle of the race, it looks as he could taky win easily. But during an attempt to overtake Bartoš at the beginning of penultimate lap both cars touched. While Bartoš could continue without problems, Behringer's car front suspention had broken and he also lost some time in a spin after the collision. So after that accident the final two laps were just demonstration drive of local driver Petr Bartoš. Way behind finished Frits Duezendstra from Netherland ahead other local drivers Hošek and Smrž. Unhappy Behringer did his best and with broken car managed to finish sixth and keep the championship lead by 8 points. That means that if Bartoš on in the final round, Behringer has to finish fourth. Numerous German fans were disappointed and will have to go to Italy next weekend for the championship decision. Contrary to that local Czech fans could celebrate despite last year Champion Roman Keřka had a bad day and didn't make it even to the final A. Bartoš had now real chance to became a champion.

Autocross Prerov 2005 (European Championship for Autocross Drivers - report) - picture number 007Autocross Prerov 2005 (European Championship for Autocross Drivers - report) - picture number 008

Division 1 - touring cars

Times when the class was quite dominated by Porsche 911 sportscars is far away and today we can see there cars like Ford Focus, Ford Puma, Toyota Corolla, VW Golf or Nissan Sunny. Despite that, it is pleasant change to see these cars on the track among other special. Similarly as the class was dominated by Porsche two decades ago, today it is dominated by Russian drivers. They started in the Porsche-era with Lada Samaras but today they are on the top. Only other driver that could really broke their domination here at Prerov and the whole series, German Helmut Wild, former European Champion who returned this year rather strongly, had collision and his engine was broken. So sad Wild even didn't make it to the third series of qualifying heats.

Autocross Prerov 2005 (European Championship for Autocross Drivers - report) - picture number 009Autocross Prerov 2005 (European Championship for Autocross Drivers - report) - picture number 010

Since we had only 14 cars in total in this class, Wild's retirement would decrease number of competitors in final B to just five cars, so it was decided that only A final would be held in this class. The race itself was a battle between Airat Shaimiev and Rustam Minnihanov. The latter after winning his first heat had some accident in his second heat but the car was repaired in time and results from other two heats claimed him a good start position in the second row of the final. We think, his car (Ford Puma) was probably the best looking car from all racers present in Prerov, so it was nice to see it recovering and finishing second on the podium behind Shaimiev. Behind both drivers from Russia finished Latvian Aldis Zebergs and one of few domestic drivers in this division Ladislav Brožek with Ford Focus.

Autocross Prerov 2005 (European Championship for Autocross Drivers - report) - picture number 011Autocross Prerov 2005 (European Championship for Autocross Drivers - report) - picture number 012

Division 3A - specials up to 1600 cc

Race for the specials under 1600 cc class brought probably the best race of the weekend. The battle between domestic drivers Hanák and Turek was quite exciting, needless to say that top four drivers had better race time than winner Bartoš in highest class.

Autocross Prerov 2005 (European Championship for Autocross Drivers - report) - picture number 013Autocross Prerov 2005 (European Championship for Autocross Drivers - report) - picture number 014

Junior Buggy - specials up to 600 cc for young drivers

According to regulation this class is for drivers 10 to 17 years old. And really some of the drivers were really small boys. Despite the engine size and age of drivers the races were real battles as in all other categories. Those drivers were usually first that appeared on the track after each of several brakes to make the track prepared for next series of races and sprinkled by a water to avoid dustiness, so the drivers had sometime problems to keep their cars running as they wished but generally we can say that this class made a big progress during last few years and it definitely was not boring to follow those small cars on the track during their sessions. From the nationality aspect, it was almost Czech matter: among 20 entered drivers and teams there were only two Austrians and one Slowak from abroad. The main race was won by Švábenský, ahead of Kupec and Kříž.

Autocross Prerov 2005 (European Championship for Autocross Drivers - report) - picture number 015Autocross Prerov 2005 (European Championship for Autocross Drivers - report) - picture number 016

For detailed view on European Autocross Championship we recommend you to visit www.autocross-em.de, where you can find results of past season as well as photos and other interesting information.

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