The race report of the fifth Challenge: Zurich Airport
He has been working towards it for a long time and has finally made it: Sebastian Hirsch has made it onto the podium. He was only beaten by high-flyer Michal Smidl and Enrique Maranon.
"It was an incredible race. Of course I'm a little bit annoyed that I couldn't hold on to second place against Enrique (Maranon), but we had a great, nerve-wracking duel," Hirsch said happily. "At the beginning of the season I just missed out on the podium, so it feels all the more great now to finally be on the podium."
On the way to his first podium in the Racer League, he experienced ups and downs. He was slowed down last season by a serious karting accident. The consequences: Broken legs and being out of action for the entire second half of the season. "It was hard to watch the others always taking home the trophies while you couldn't compete yourself."
While Hirsch lifted the first Racing Unleashed trophy on the third step of the podium in front of his father, who is at his side in the Munich lounge, three-time champion Michal Smidl was able to celebrate the victory. The Czech had to start the race from seventh place, as he received a grid penalty in the knock-out qualifying.
Due to a big turmoil at the start, Max Verstappen's Redline teammate fought his way to the top in just a few corners. "I was quite surprised, especially by the mistake of the leader," he admits. Background: Loris Mistretta lost control of his car and had to let Smidl go.
The winner continued: "From then on it was easy, I just had to keep the gap, not really push. That came in handy because the track doesn't forgive slips and they happen faster when you have to drive every lap with a knife between your teeth." With the victory, he has also taken the lead in the standings.
His championship rival Alejandro Sanchez had to roll up the field from the back, as he did at the last round in Imola. In the end, it was enough for fifth place, so the Madrilenian is now two points behind his long-term rival of the last seasons. The best German in the standings is Angelo Michel in third place, who finished eighth in Zurich.
The top drivers of the Challenger League, who were already at the wheel of the high-tech simulators on Friday evening, also had a change at the top. Janik Pletscher suffered a day to forget with collisions and a false start in the main race. Because of the penalty, he ended up only in tenth place in the standings. Nico Fahland benefited and secured the championship lead with victory ahead of the Heyder brothers Lorenzo and Joshua.
The race weekend at Zurich Airport marked the halfway point of the ten-race season. The season continues on 1 and 2 September. Then the stars of the Racer and Challenger League will be on the road at the traditional Monza circuit. From 18 August, you have the chance to qualify for the Challenger League with a fast lap. You can find the registration form right below the short classifications.
Top 3 Racer League
1st Michal Smidl - 71 points
2nd Alejandro Sanchez - 69 points
3rd Angelo Michel - 45 points
Top 3 Challenger League
1st Nico Fahland - 82 points
2nd Janik Pletscher - 72 points
3rd Marcos Valverde - 61 points