Schoell dominates Senior Max at Valencia
Strawberry’s Nicolas Schoell won the Senior Max Final of the Rotax Winter Cup by the best part of a second, and also won the Prefinal and several heats.
- Leonard Hoogenboom (Team TKP) takes pole in the second of Qualifying
- Berkay Besler (Bouvin Power) leads after the heats
- Nicolas Schoell (Strawberry Racing) wins the Prefinal narrowly from Besler and Jonathan Hoggard (KR Sport)
- Schoell pulls away in the Final
The Senior Qualfying session was thrilling and went down to the very last lap – in fact the very last second – of the session, as the lead kept changing. When the time ran out it was Leonard Hoogenboom (Team TKP) setting the pace with a time of 57.390s. The Dutchman pushed Estonia’s Kaspar Korjus (Aix Racing Team) and Turkey’s Berkay Besler (Bouvin Power) back onto 2nd and 3rd place with a perfectly timed attack. Nicolas Schoell (Strawberry Racing), who had set the fastest time in the first qualifying group, had to be satisfied with 4th place in the merge, while Frenchman Florian Venturi (Venturi Christelle) completed the top five positions.
Besler took command in the heats with two wins, so the Turk led the intermediate ranking and established himself on the pole position for the Prefinal. 2nd place went to Josh White (Coles Racing) from the UK ahead of Schoell, who was the only one besides Besler who was able to take two heat victories. Friday’s qualifying leader Hoogenboom finished 4th in the merge of the heats ahead of Tom Gamble (Strawberry Racing) from the UK in 5th place.
Gamble made the best start of the senior Prefinal. But his lead was not destined to last long as he dropped back consistently and ended up in 7th place. Schoell, Besler and Jonathan Hoggard (KR Sport) were the ones setting the pace. The three drivers pulled away from the rest of the grid and arranged the victory between themselves. After a tight and nerve-racking fight, Schoell defended the win closely ahead of Besler and Hoggard. 4th place went to Glenn Van Parijs (Bouvin Power) from Belgium, while White completed the top five.
In the Final Schoell was a class of his own. After a perfect start he pulled away from the grid and gained quite a big leading gap. Throughout the race distance the Austrian was able to maintain that advantage and kept his chasers out of his slipstream. In the end, he won the Final ahead of White and Gamble, who both had tried hard to catch up with the leader, finally being rewarded with the podium places. Hoggard finished 4th ahead of the reigning Euro Challenge junior champion Jack McCarthy from the UK.