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Mazda MX5 Open Race 2010 - starting position 7 in qualifying

Jürgen Mainx
Mazda MX5 Open Race 2010
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Team building is the motto. Meet the teams of the Mazda MX-5 Open Race together for the first time on the journey to the Adria Race Way near Venice. Also the team of the racing M X-5 with the start number 23 can be found: Team Germany 1 with the two winners from our competition, Michael Knobel and Rainer Kühlwein. A harmonious duo, as it turns out when you first get to know each other. The chemistry between each other could hardly be better. And the first tactical game options of the race make the rounds during the flight.

On the outward flight to the Mazda MX5 Open Race the tactics were already discussed

Michael Knobel, who, as a co-driver in off-road rallies, can draw on a wealth of experience in planning, is very familiar with the MX-5 regulations; has already played through a calculation example. 'Twenty liters of fuel can be refilled four times during the four-hour race. We set off with a full 50-liter tank. Consumption per lap is by no means more than one liter. It is not really necessary to drive in a fuel-efficient manner,' said the native Bremer.

Arrival at the Adria Race Way, where the weather is not particularly warming. A shivering five degrees Celsius await the troops. 'Not exactly the best conditions for slick tires,' philosophizes Rainer Kühlwein and asks the not very serious question of where the heated blankets for the driver and tires would be. The warming impressions have other origins. For example, looking at our racing car. Black, red, gold - painted in one of the 25 national colors and spruced up perfectly. Our other comrades-in-arms join the troupe: Bernhard Sauter and actor Ralf Bauer. The first contact with the number 23 racer takes place in the form of a seat test, seat belt adjustment, and the handles when changing drivers have to be perfect.

Ambition plays a role in the Mazda MX5 Open Race

During the subsequent briefing, team spirit comes first. Franz Engstler, World Touring Car Driver and Technical Director of the Mazda MX-5 Open Race, appeals to the fairness of the 145 drivers. 'We're driving a gentlemen's race,' emphasizes the man from the Allgäu. Most of the facesDrivers say something else. A bit of ambition is inevitable with each of the 29 national teams. The English seem the hottest. A person in charge reveals: 'The guys from the island poked us about the technical details weeks ago.' There is a rumor that the British are primarily pursuing the goal of finishing ahead of the German delegations. To finish first, you have to finish first.

In the first free practice session, however, the British mission ends in the guard rail. And all tactical games drilled so far are null and void at first. A dreary gray spreads across the route, rain pours over Veneto. And as supposed rain tires, conventional road tires from partner Marangoni are in the box - it promises to be cheerful during the two 90-minute training sessions. Fortunately, the driver community of starting number 23 remains calm and tries not to take any risks. 'I feel my way to the ideal line of the track and to the limit of the car. At first I have no more plans,' says Rainer Kühlwein, revealing his personal tactics. Michael Knobel is also clearly in the service of the cause. 'We want to arrive and not go wild right at the beginning,' says the 39-year-old, who is the first to get behind the wheel and split the tide.

The reward for the car, motor and sport Team is seventh on the grid

It's a fight. Hard work on the steering wheel. The grip level of the wet track demands everything from the driver. And all of them do a perfect job, get used to the latent tendency to oversteer of the MX-5 when accelerating out, become more and more master of the fidgety peculiarities when braking on the slippery surface. Team building is also fruitful in practice. 'Wow, that was a hot dance', Michael Knobel sums up after the training. Starting number 23 has qualified for the third starting group of the so-called Superpole.

Now a single timed lap counts. It decides on the starting place in the race. The icing on the cake. More and more rain instead of less. Where there was just a little bit of grip to be found, there is now a puddle. A constant dance between the maximum possible and departure. It feels like the hot round is infinitely slow. In the end, the team effort was more than worth it in the adverse conditions. Starting position seven - 20 are behind us. Let the race come.


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