After a long summer break without racing, GPVWC’s 2017 Formula Challenge season returned with the races at the Nuerburgring, in Spa-Francorchamps and Monza. Here are our race report.
"2017 Formula Challenge Rounds 10 – 12 Race Reports" table of contents
STAX Racing entered the second half of the season trying to defend their second place in the Constructors’ Championship and were eager to improve on Menno Klont’s fifth and Chris Shepherd’ fourth place in the Drivers’ Championship.
Nuerburgring (July 25th, 2017)
Race 1: “At the Nuerburgring, there are only two kinds of weather: either it is raining or it is about to rain.” True to the old saying, the whole race event was dominated by wet weather. Menno started the race from 13th position, while Chris started from P6. Chris lost a couple of places in the beginning of the race and was in 11th position after the first lap. This only motivated the Englishman and in the next couple of laps he was able to gain back P8. Menno, too, was gaining a couple of places in the first few laps, and then closed the gap to his his STAX Racing teammate by lap 8. Two laps later, he unsuccessfully tried to overtake Chris under braking for the NGK – Chicane. Menno went onto the grass and lost a place. Another two laps later and now it was Chris that had an off-track moment: In the last corner, he had a snap oversteer moment, went wide and lost a couple of places. On lap 14, Menno was able to overtake Chris. In the end, Menno finished the first race in P11, while Chris finished in P12.
Race 2: Menno started the second race from P4. He lost one position at the start, but was able to retake it some laps later. Later the race, he lengthy battles for position with Paisler and Grech and ultimately finished in sixth position. Chris started the race from P3. He was able to defend his position in the first few laps, but lost a position to Butcher on the third lap. For most of the race he was able to stay close to the Top 3, but during the later stages he had to defend his position from Paisler. He finished the second race in P4.
In the days after the race, Chris informed the team that he had problems with his pedals and that it looked unlikely that he could take part in the upcoming races. The team therefore signed Liam de Waal as his replacement.
Spa-Francorchamps (August 8th, 2017)
Race 1: Menno qualified sixth for the first race. After passing Eau Rouge for the first time, he was in P4 already. However, his rFactor 2 crashed on the second lap. He later rejoined the server and resumed the race, but of course had no chance of a competitive finishing position. In the end, he was classified as having finished 25th after setting the fastest lap of the race. Liam de Waal had a “Back of the Grid” penalty from when he drove for EJ Engineering earlier in the seaon. After a good start, he was in 18th position already when he made contact with Zimmermann. After a trip through the gravel trap he rejoined the race in 20th position. On lap 4, he made contact with Paul Joseph after the Mighty Forth driver was involved in a mass carambolage at Les Combes. From that moment on, Liam had a damaged car and finished the race in P14.
Race 2: Menno started the second race from P25. After another good start from the Dutchman, he made up 6 places already coming down the Kemmel Straight. However, at Les Combes he had to take to the runoff area to avoid contact. Rejoining the track, he made contact with Wildt, spun and resumed the race in 23rd position. In the following laps, Menno was able to gain a lot of positions. By the end of the third lap, he was in 13th position already. Later that race, he went into Eau Rouge side-by-side with Marquard. In the end, Menno finished the second race in P10. A great result, considering he started from the second-to-last row. Liam had a much quieter race than his Dutch teammate. He started from P2, but lost a position to David Jundt early in the race. Both of them were able to overtake Breslin going into Les Combes. By lap six, Jundt was still leading, followed by Liam and Stefano. The latter made a mistake in Lap 9, handing third place over to Maciej Mlynek. The Polish driver gained time on Liam and, on the last corner of the last lap, was able to pass the STAX Racing driver for second position.
Monza (August 22nd, 2017)
Right before the race, Chris Shepherd had some great news for the team: He got himself a new set of pedals and was able to start in Italy. This meant that the races in Belgium would likely be the only round Liam de Waal would be starting for STAX Racing. However, his performance didn’t go unnoticed and he was immediately signed by the Storm Racing Superleague team.
Race 1: Menno started the first race from P8. After the first start was red-flagged due to a multi-car pilup at the first chicane, Menno made up two positions after the first lap of the restarted race. He had a battle for positions with Roy Verzijl and David Jundt for most of the race and finished in P5 after Vertijl made an error on lap 12 of 13. Chris started the race from P25. On the runup to Turn 1, Steven Platt got squezed into Chris’ car and the Englishman made contact with the barrier. He had some minor damage but soldiered on and even gained some positions in the opening laps. On lap 4, he was in 14th position already. Entering the Curva Parabolica, Paisler lost control of his car. Chris tried to avoid the spinning Holland Racing Team car and made contact with the wall himself and lost his front wing. He pitted, but there was no chance of scoring a point in the first race. In the end, he finished the race in P20.
Race 2: For the second race of the evening, Menno started from P8. Verzijl and Brambilla had a major crash in Curva Parabolica on Lap 1, gifting Menno two places. However, both Butcher and Lindbergh were able to pass Menno on the following Start / Finish straight. Menno lost another place to eventual race winner Maciej Mlynek one lap later. On Lap 4, the two STAX Racing cars made contact. Menno spun and rejoined the race in 17th position. However, in the remaining laps, he was able to fight his way back to finish 12th. Chris started the race from 19th position. After after a magnificent first lap, he was was in 10th position and was gaining ground on his teammate, until they made contact on the fourth lap. Chris didn’t loose too much time and was able to continue his pursuit, this time chasing down Matthew Clipp. On Lap 6, both Clipp and Chris were able to pass Gerber before Curva Parabolica, not unlike Hakkinen’s pass on Schumacher in 2000’s race in Spa. After Chris gained two more places in the following laps, he tried to pass Lindbergh on the outside just before Variante Ascari. However, the Swede shut the door, forcing Chris onto the grass and through Variante Ascari’s gravel trap. Eager not to get stuck, Chris rejoined the track just in front of Lindbergh, who rear ended the STAX Racing driver. Chris spun and lost a lot of positions to finish in eleventh position.
With just six more rounds in this year’s Formula Challenge season, STAX Racing is second in the Constructors’ Championship behind Scuderia Basilea. THUnderdog overtook
On the next page, you can find the broadcast of both the Belgian round. Unfortunately, there were no broadcasts for the German or the Italian round. On the third page, you can find the qualifying and race results of all rounds.