Michael Niemas is the triumphant victor of the 2017 Bilster Berg Challenge. After a few podiums and team victories, the KTM driver took the big step to the top on the east terrace of the spectacular race track in Ostwestfalen-Lippe, celebrating his first solo win in the ‘big small’ racing series. In a hard-fought and exciting finale, Niemas prevailed against Norisring-winner Kim Hauschild. Interestingly, the previous two race events have now provided two first-time winners.
Fighting until the last corner
As was the case at the Norisring, KTM and Volkswagen with two cars each were the protagonists of the finale. Two Audis completed the grid, but ultimately they were not able to keep up with the battle for the front places. On the compact circuit, the fights took place on every corner and every chicane. There was mishap after mishap, meaning the lead often changed hands. In the final minute of the race, it appeared that Kim Hauschild was going to repeat his Norisring success, but a chaotic situation resulted in Michael Niemas returning to the front, and the KTM driver brought home the victory. Niemas: “A lucky win – there were accidents and lead-changes again and again. You just had to make sure you made it through safely – and that ultimately worked out for me. I’m over the moon about my first solo victory.”
Start of the final at Bilster Berg: two cars from each Volkswagen, KTM and Audi qualified
Audi scores double
Björn ‘Skottie’ Skottke (KTM) completed the podium in third. The RCCO overall leader Daniel Bäumler had to settle for fourth place. Guest drivers Fola Osu and Andreas Zschorsch both took points for the Audi team tv racing with a fifth and sixth place. For Zschorsch, it was the first time taking part solo in a final round of the RCCO. The Bild editor: “The upward trend is very satisfying. I am really happy to have taken part in my first finale.”
Audi had two cars in the Top 6 for the first time this season
Tighter at the top
Daniel Bäumler was able to defend the overall lead in the RCCO with fourth place, but now he is only four points ahead of Volkswagen teammate Kim Hauschild (111 points) and seven ahead of KTM driver Michael Niemas (108 points). Both chasers have, incidentally, each missed one race. Making up the trio hot on the leader’s heels is Björn ‘Skottie’ Skottke, another KTM driver, with 95 points. There is likely to be much excitement in the second half of the RCCO season.
Perfect location, perfect execution
The race at Bilsterberg, which was the first self-managed event for a long time, shone through a smooth execution. Host Rolf Neuhaus provided a perfect location on the east terrace with a direct view of the ‘big’ race track. The spontaneously built ‘Bäumler chicane’ provided an additional attraction for the planned RCCO track. Norisring winner Kim Hauschild was the pole sitter, whilst in each session – free practice, qualifying, and the three heats – the obstacles of the compact circuit led to tough duels and occasionally spectacular ‘departures’. Especially Joest Racing and Hedden-Motors with their Lamborghini Centenario
RCCO and the Scuderia Südschleife with their Schaeffler Vision RCCO became ‘victims’ of the short track.
Despite all rivalry, it was always fair – also thanks to the confident race leader Ben Warnecke, who had his hot-headed drivers at all times under control. The successful race day was rounded off with a joint dinner, to which Rolf Neuhaus invited the protagonists.
Great backdrop: Bilster Berg
Next stop: Hannover
The next points in the RCCO are up for grabs on 16 August in Hannover. For the traditional Volkswagen Slotcar Festival the ‘big small’ racing series is once again a guest at Volkswagen Motorsport GmbH. The track and the paddock are built in a hall in which the cars from ‘real’ motorsport can be admired – a unique backdrop.
The #VisionRCCO electric racer will visit Volkswagen Motorsport in Hannover next