Saturday saw two new European Champions crowned here in Alcarras at the Large Scale Off Road Euros – but in very different circumstances!
In the inaugural 4WD European Champions victory went to Alexander Schmitt, which to be honest surprised no-one! The Young German had dominated qualifying with his MCD 4WD buggy, with only a blip in the Semi final giving any hope to his rivals, getting into the lead at the end of the first lap he never looked back and built up a huge lead by the time the chequered flag fell!
Starting on pole Dario Veseli must have been hoping to capture a second European title to go with the 2WD crown he won in England last year but despite setting off in the lead he was soon down to 4th before a wheel failure at 20 minutes ended his challenge and saw his exit from the drivers stand. As it was Second went to German Marc Kreisig, who had been very impressive in qualifying before a poor semi final meant he started way back, but a steady drive whilst others floundered saw the MCD driver onto the second step of the podium. Completing the podium was Dutch driver Kristiaan La Gasse who was delighted with the result as he insisted, “4wd wasn’t going so well”!
If 4WD was a little dull 2WD was the complete opposite providing us with a race that will live long in the memory, just for sheer unpredictability!!
Just half an hour after winning the 4WD championship it was Alexander Schmitt who started on pole with relatively unknown French youngster Valentin Peuziat alongside him, but behind were two heavyweights of the Large Scale Off Road world in Belgian Elcon team leader Ken Walckiers and reigning champion from Croatia Dario Veseli.
Schmitt got away well but a combination of misfortune and misjudgement left him back in 7th place at the end of lap 2 with Ken already enjoying a healthy lead. Over the next 10 laps Alexander fought his way up to 2nd and began a pursuit of Ken that ebbed and flowed for 15 minutes until ken got caught in traffic and the German was all over him! Just as the Hormann driver seemed poised to make a decisive move for the lead his wheel collapsed resulting in the insert of his tyre rolling in the opposite direction to the car! Ken now had a 15 second lead but amazingly just one lap later he two suffered a tyre failure (we checked these tyres aren’t made by Pirelli!!)
This left Peuziat in the lead from Veseli who’s car had never seemed on the pace and the young Frenchman cruised round the final laps to take an emotional and surprising win!!