Ola Nilsson corners glory

The ‘German Monaco', as the track in Norisring is referred to, was a picture of activity what with the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM), Formula 3 Euro Series, SEAT Leon Supercopa, and the Porsche Carrera Cup, taking place at the same time. By Arun Venugopal.

Cradled in the precincts of some of history's most terrifying memories, Norisring — the street circuit in Nuremberg — represents an arresting synthesis of ancient charm and contemporary thrill. The erstwhile Nazi party rally grounds, which bore silent witness to the stomping boots of the ‘brown shirts', has ever since resonated with the euphonious purring of car engines.

The ‘German Monaco', as the track in Norisring is referred to, was a picture of activity what with the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM), Formula 3 Euro Series, SEAT Leon Supercopa, and the Porsche Carrera Cup, taking place at the same time.

A carnival-like atmosphere prevailed even as media personnel and fans made their presence felt during the Volkswagen Scirocco-R Cup, a one-make car competition launched in 2010 to replace the ADAC Volkswagen Polo Cup. Fuelled by two-litre four-in-line turbo engines, the centrally fielded cars are generally swapped among drivers in this event. With the use of compressed natural gas, the organisers have sought to opt for an eco-friendly alternative to conventional fuel.

The push-to-pass system, a feature that enhances power output by 50 HP, is employed as a tactical device to assist drivers in overtaking and counter-attacking. There is, however, a restriction on the duration and the number of times that it can be used.

The drivers compete in three different categories: Juniors, pros, and legends. The juniors group comprises participants aged between 17 and 24 while experienced drivers compete in the pros category. The legends group is made up of accomplished guest entrants.

The approximately 2300-metres long Norisring speedway played host to the fifth race of the season that saw 25 drivers taking part. Pole sitter Ola Nilsson finished ahead of Italy's Stefano Proetto and Mateusz Lisowski of Poland to emerge winner. The Swedish racer went full-throttle to distance himself from the rest of the pack. An engaging tussle for the second spot ensued between last year's winner Proetto and Lisowski. The penultimate lap had Proetto negating an overtaking manoeuvre to come second.

Indian hope Aditya Patel continued to impress as he sealed the fifth spot. He had his own battle to fight with Britain's Daniel Lloyd, who eventually made it to the finish line ahead of Patel. Sailesh Bolisetti, the other Indian driver in the fray, had a poor outing as he finished 17th.

Kris Nissen, motorsports director, Volkswagen, had words of encouragement though for the Indian duo. “It's a great pleasure to have Aditya here. With five races to go, he's right up there in the top five. He's done a great job. As far as Sailesh is concerned, he has the potential to do well.”

Nissen, a former German Formula 3 championship winner himself, believes the motorsports culture in India is encouraging. “I think the next big step for India is the Formula One racing track. That will definitely expand possibilities.”

He also feels that India should raise security standards besides getting more youngsters into the racing fold. Nissen had a few good words for the circuit in Chennai. “There are a lot of positives about the track apart from a few corners where safety measures could be stepped up. But the biggest positive is that people are well-informed and passionate about motorsports.”

The results (top five): 1. Ola Nilsson (Swe) 23:23.641, 2. Steffano Proetto (Ita) 23:25.617, 3. Mateusz Lisowski (Pol) 23:26.260, 4. Daniel Lloyd (GBR) 23:29.322, 5. Aditya Patel (Ind) 23:30.269. * * * IN THE PIT LANE

Watching a race from the pit lanes is quite akin to getting a ringside view of a style match-up. The adrenalin rush felt during a slick manoeuvre isn't much different from viewing a pugilist's stylishly executed overhand right. The pit lane in Norisring leaves the onlooker a little perplexed initially as the technical crews of various manufacturers are running around with several data sheets.

Benedikt Grobe Darrelmann, the chief instructor of Scirroco-R Cup has been in the business of selecting drivers for seven years. He says, “We get feedback from the driver on the car's behaviour. We take notes of different details such as tyre pressure, braking and stuff.”

The race weekend, Darrelmann says, is the most critical period. “There is a certain work ethic and discipline that needs to be maintained at the time of a race. The standards are extremely high and there's pressure to live up to it. So, the spadework preceding the race is absolutely crucial.”

Christian, a crew member agrees with Darrelmann. “Pit stops are made before and after the qualifying. Tyres are not changed during the race and so the pre-race preparation is important. Only in the case of some technical issues or a puncture do we intervene. It's impossible otherwise to make alterations in the middle of a race.”

As the conversation goes on, Nino Muller's car arrives with a busted tyre. For Christian and his team-mates, who rush to attend to the wheels, it's business as usual.

Arun Venugopal