The 2017-I Race4Speed GP1 races of round 6 at the Red Bull Ring were indeed impressive as the league administration has promised us – close, action packed racing, racing returnees and surpise winners were all included.
In Qualifying it seemed like it would be the usual dominant show from Marc Stwerka, as he gained another pole position ahead of his team mate Cristian Alvarez and Constantin Grimminger. However, it turned out completely different in Race 1, as Grimminger was taken out early by technical issues and the closest chaser of Stwerka, Brazilian Lucas Murno, was stuck in traffic. Alvarez suprised everyone by matching his team mates pace in the lead and when misfortune struck at Stwerka with a minor lag, Alvarez found himself in the lead. He was able to maintain his advantage of one second over Stwerka to gain his second R4S GP1 career victory at the finish line, ahead of Stwerka and first-time podium finisher Phillip Volland.
The reverse grid in Race two promised close action and wasn’t breaking it’s promise, as minor collisions in turn 1 brought Grimminger up to P2, ahead of Stwerka in P3 and Vazquez in P1. As Vazquez was playing easy games with his team mate, Grimminger found himself in the lead quickly; chased by a ever so desperate Stwerka. From lap three on they fought over victory as so often this season, but again Stwerka emerged victorious to win ahead of Grimminger and Lucas Murno.
As it’s usual, Race three doesn’t know any mercy and fights were harder then ever. Staying ahead of the battles was the way to win it, which Alvarez did perfectly, as Grimminger, Jesús Chirinos, Stwerka and Murno fought hard over P2. An early crash by Murno throwed him out of contention, but the fight wasn’t over, as the remaining three were all willing to do everything they can to gain P2 and attack Alvarez for the lead. We have seen some superb moves in this fight, however in the latter stages of the race, Chirinos engine gave up on him and led to a crash with Stwerka, who had to pit. This gave Grimminger the opportunity to run away, however the advantage of Alvarez, who drove the perfect race without making any errors, was already too big for Grimminger to catch up. Ultimately, Alvarez gained another win ahead of Grimminger and a returning Murno.
Marc Stwerka, despite his struggles, extended his lead of the drivers’ championship to an advantage of 169 points over Murno, who is closely followed by Grimminger and Alvarez in P3 and P4 respectievly.