The Formula Challenge season is well underway, and the results keep getting better and better for STAX Racing.
"2017 Formula Challenge Rounds 5 & 6 Race Reports" table of contents
After the first four rounds of GPVWC’s 2017 Formula Challenge season, STAX Racing was a credible fourth in the Constructors’ Championship. Finishing every race but one in the points, Menno Klont was sixth in the drivers championship table, while Chris Shepherd was in twelfth position. For the fifth and sixth round of the championship, the league visited Austria and Monaco.
Red Bull Ring (2nd May 2017)
Race 1: For the first race of the Austrian Challenge GP, Menno Klont qualified in twelfth position. After he got tagged from behind in a chain-reaction collision in Turn 2 of the opening lap, he found himself in P27 and without front wing. After pitting for repairs, he rejoined the race in 29th position. From second to last position, he was able to string together some fast laps, picking up places as he fought through the field. In the end, he finished in P18. Chris Shepherd qualified on the front row in P2. He tried to overtake the race leader Roy Schroten going into the third turn, but the Dutchman was able to defend his lead. Behind Chris, Jayden Wright spun in the last corner and Liam de Waal was able to overtake him. There were no more overtaking maneuvers in the Top 3 until the end of the race.
For the start of the second race, both drivers found themselves in the midfield: Chris started in twelfth position while Menno began the race further back in P17. However, after a sensational start and another chain-reaction collision in Turn 2, Menno soon was in eleventh position. Soon, the two STAX Racing drivers were running nose to tail, as Chris was in tenth place by that point. Exiting the Rauch corner, the STAX Racing drivers made slight contact, but thankfully both drivers were able to continue the race without any issues. On lap three, Chris started battling with Sven Schubert, which in turn gave Menno an opportunity to attack Chris into Turn 2. However, this battle was cut short when Chris was able to overtake Schubert in the next corner. Menno was able to overtake the German driver on lap 10, however a driving error meant that he lost that place again two laps later. Menno didn’t cease to push, though, and was able to retake the position after Schubert made a driving error a few laps later. Chris continued to gain positions when he overtook Roy Verzijl on lap 6 and Jayden Wright spun on lap 11. Chris then lost one position when Roy Schroten was able to overtake him after the STAX Racing driver was attacking Bastian Paisler. Shortly after overtaking Paisler on lap 14, Chris gained another spot when Roy Schroten unfortunately suffered from a disconnect. This meant that Chris was in sixth position at the end of the race, while Menno finished in P10.
Circuit de Monaco (16th May 2017)
Race 1: Menno started the prestigious Monaco round from fourth position. The race had to be restarted due to a multi-car pileup in Turn One. After the first lap of the restarted race, the order was Matthew Marquard, Patryk Gerber, Mike Kwint, followed by Menno Klont and Johan Lindberg. On lap 7, lapped Nicholas Demetris lost control of his car in Turn 1. Patryk Gerber was unable to avoid Demetris’ stationary car. Menno, too, made contact, but was able to squeeze through the logjam and was now third. On lap 13, Maciej Mlynek was able to get by Johan Lindberg for fourth position and started making up some ground to Menno. On lap 17, he unsuccessfully tried to overtake the STAX Racing driver in the braking zone for Nouvelle Chicane. For the next few laps, Menno was under immense pressure from Mlynek, but was able to keep the Polish driver behind him. On the last lap, Scuderia Basilea’s Kwint tried to overtake YTF1’s Matthew Marquard on the outside of Mirabeau Bas, but the two made contact which resulted in Marquard facing the wall. Thus Menno gained another spot and finished the race in an impressive second place.
Chris drove the second fastest time in qualifying, but due to a “Back of the Grid” penalty he started from 23rd position. Despite being slightly held up in the first corner, he was in P17 after the first lap. On the fifth lap, while being in 13th place, he rear-ended Klemens Wildt who spun after the Casino corner. Chris had to come into the pits for repairs and a new front wing and rejoined the race in 20th position. However, only four laps later, he was back in a points scoring position. On the twelfth lap, Liam de Waal made contact with Roy Schroten in the tunnel, who in turn crashed into his teammate Rienk Hoekstra whom he was about to lap. Chris had no chance to avoid the carnage and had to pit for a new front wing for the second time that race. He rejoined in 18th place. Near the end of the race, Chris caught up to Bruno Sousa Ferreira and Wesley Stefano. When Souse Ferreira fell back, Thomas Andriamiharisoa joined the fray. As the group came to the final corner of the race, Chris was able to overtake both Andriamiharisoa and Stefano in spectacular fashion and finished 14th. Not only did he score points in a race when he had to pit for a new front wing twice, he also would start the second race of the day from second place.
Race 2: Menno started the race from 14th place. Unfortunately, he was spun around in the first corner and had to wait until most cars passed him before he could continue the race in P27. On lap six, he was back in P13, however was spun around by Jundt and Lindberg made contact with the STAX Racing driver. Menno suffered minor damage to the front wing but decided to stay out of the pits. Two laps later, Terence Grech spun before Casino and Menno crashed into him. This time, he had no choice but to pit for repairs and rejoined the race in 18th position. In the following laps he was able to overtake various drivers and ultimatevly finished the race in P13. He also drove the second fastest lap of the race. The only driver faster than him was his teammate Chris Shepherd.
As previously mentioned, Chris started from second position. He was able to overtake Pole sitter Andriamiharisoa going into Nouvelle Chicane and build a lead of around one second per lap. When Gerber overtook second placed Andriamiharisoa on lap 11, Chris lead by about 15 seconds already. However, Gerber wasn’t able to secure second place: He touched the inside wall in the Pool Chicane on lap 16 and spun around. Bastian Paisler was able to avoid crashing into Gerber, but not without spinning himself. While he was able to hold on to second place for the moment, luck was not on his side as he suffered from a disconnect in the closing laps of the race. This meant that GPVWC Academy driver Thomas Andriamiharisoa scored a sensational second place. Chris Shepherd meanwhile dominated the race, driving the fastest lap of the race and finishing first with a gap of over 37 seconds in a 20 laps race. This means that he scored STAX Racing’s first ever win in commanding fashion.
After the first third of the season, STAX Racing is second in the Constructors’ Championship. Having finished ten out of twelve races in the points, Menno Klont is 7th in the Driver’s Championship table. He has two third-place finishes and one second-place finishes to his name so far. Chris Shepherd is in 5th position in the championship, having been on every step of the podium once this season. The next two rounds of the season will be held in Canada (May 30th, 2017) and Great Britain (June 16th, 2017).
On the next page, you can find the broadcasts of both the Austrian and Monaco rounds. On the third page, you can find the qualifying and race results.