Beretta-Schandorff (VSR Lambo) emerge as winners from final storm in red-flagged Race 1

11.09.2021

Michele Beretta and Frederik Schandorff, with the Lamborghini of Vincenzo Sospiri Racing, took their fourth success of the year (and extended their lead in the standings to 20 points) in a Race 1 at the Red Bull Ring which ended a few minutes earlier than expected with a red flag as a violent summer storm broke and several cars got off-track at Turn 3. The TF Sport Aston Martin of Sam De Haan-Charlie Eastwood was classified second and the Inception Racing McLaren of Nick Moss-Joe Osborne (which signed the pole and won in Pro-Am) , while the Olimp Racing Mercedes of Stanislaw Jedlinski-Krystian Korzeniowski won in Am.

Almost all of these cars, though, were trapped in turn 3, but the results were of course frozen the lap before the red flag. The episode ruined the strategic bet of those who had stopped to put on wet tyres, including the Lechner Racing Porsche of Soucek-Al  Zubair, the other top championship challenger (eventually 12th) and to a lesser extent, the other VSR Lambo of Nemoto-Moulin, which finished 5th.  

THE RACE – At the start, Joe Osborne (the 7th different poleman in 9 races) keeps the advantage, but there is action behind him as Soucek is passed by the two VSR Lambos, retaking third soon after and staying sandwiched between Beretta and Nemoto. The Japanese is passed by De Haan and a couple of laps later by Bastian, although he retakes fifth in lap 4.

In the lead, Osborne has a 2.2 gap after 5 laps, ahead of Beretta, now second in front of Soucek, De Haan, Nemoto, Bastian and Tweraser. The fight is between De Haan and Nemoto for fourth, with Bastian also joining. In lap 10, Nemoto passes but he will later receive a 3-second penalty for having gone wide off-track taking an advantage.

Bastian will also pass De Haan in lap 19, exactly when the pit stop window opens, with the De Haan, Balfe, Moller, Beretta, Iribe being the first to stop. Osborne keeps leading with 10 seconds on Soucek and Nemoto and Bastian further away. The Brit will stretch his advantage up to 16 seconds by the time he stops (lap 26) for driver change.

After all stops, Moss leads with 14 seconds on Moulin and 18 on Schandorff, closely  followed by Al Zubair and Eastwood, then Scholze, Millroy, Seyffarth and Carroll. In lap 30, Schandorff passes Moulin to start chasing Moss. And Eastwood takes fifth from Scholze. The rain starts to fall in some points and Al Zubair loses two positions in a slight off-track, but stays in contact with Moulin and Eastwood in full fight, with the Irishman passing in lap 35, seconds after Schandorff passes Moss for the lead.

The rain seems to get stronger in the last 10 minutes, with Schraml and Moulin taking the bet to pit for wets. Also Al-Zubair stops for wets but one of the wheel guns gets stuck and he loses time. Their choice is right, as proven by the drama that unfolds in turn 3, where it is suddenly very wet: Schandorff, Eastwood, Scholze, Moss, Carroll, and Basz are off-track, but with no damage. Still, in lap 41 the race is red-flagged and not resumed, with Beretta-Schandorff declared winners ahead of DeHaan-Eastwood and Moss-Osborne after a few minutes wait and confirmed in their positions after a protest lodged by VSR.