New Generation meets Mosler...
Rollcentre Racing returned to the Nürburgring this weekend in a joint venture with Praga Racing to give a broader experience to the Praga New Generation driver Simon Wagner who was on his home circuit, partnering the drive with former championship winner Martin Short in the Rollcentre Mosler GT600 . It was a case of in at the deep end for Wagner, as he was completely new to the car. Unable to get much heat in the tyres during qualifying, and on a steep learning curve for Wagner, the Mosler qualified an unusually low 6th on the grid.
With Short behind the wheel for the start of the first race, he made a good getaway picking up three places in as many laps. Unfortunately, a strange incident then ensued..... there was an interloper in the race! A Spezial Touring Car competitor joining the line-up for the race, but was not actually registered for the event. The competitor repeatedly ignored the black flag, and organisers red flagged the race in the fourth lap. The cars lined up on the main straight waiting for instructions. 3 times they were told to start their engines, only to then see a 5 minute board. The engine temperatures were well over 100 degrees ... at the third time of asking the Mosler refused to fire up again. It had just got too hot. Short unable to restart, had to be pushed back to the pits for assistance. After getting the car going, 4 laps had been lost for the Rollcentre Mosler to make any real impact on the leader times, and it finished well down the timing sheets. Berry van Elk in his Mosler had a terrific race, and despite leading for a good part of the race, was pipped to the post by Van der Hoek in his GT1 Corvette C5.R.
Race two on Sunday saw Martin Short starting the race from 24th on the grid, but on one of his legendary charges through the back markers, was up to fifth position within two laps. Meanwhile, out at the front Berry van Elk was having a battle royal with Alex van 't Hoff, before being forced to call time as technical issues overcame the Blueberry Mosler. Meanwhile Short handed over to Simon Wagner at the pit stop. After the field had sorted itself out after the pit stops, Wagner was in third place. Sijthoff in the Van 't Hoff Corvette GT1 was closing the German down at up to two seconds a lap. His speed was aided by twice cutting the chicane and getting no penalties ... with this illegal aide, Sijthoff found himself diving into a closing gap at the hairpin, and he bounced over the inner curbs and hit Wagner in the door, and spun him around. Simon retired on the spot, and went on to take third place. But fortunately officials took a dim view of his move and handed down a sixty second penalty. Not much solace for Wagner and Short sadly and they nursed the memories of a tough weekend on their respective ways home. Simon is now learning the hard way that GT driving is a lot different to Kart racing. He did very well over the weekend and chalked up a very big learning weekend.
Short said "Simon had a tough weekend in many ways, but he is here to learn, and he certainly has. There is no doubt about his speed and intelligence. The next race he will be more shrewd, canny and wiser. He was a very capable partner and he is going to be a significant force to be reckoned with. I predict great things for this lad."