Going in to the final round of the Mazda Max5 Cup championship at Zandvoort, both András Király in the #14 and the team championship #57 car of Rudy Schilders and Chris Woodger were in good positions to win the individual and team championships. András needed to finish the first race in at least 20th position to secure the title, while Rudy and Chris needed a 6th position in the team classification.
Starting off with qualifying in unusually warm and sunny October weather, András was able to grab pole position early in the session. Chris Woodger and Artur Turcu had a tough qualifying session, ending up in 14th and 16th spots respectively due to not being able to string the lap together. This result was particularly unfortunate due to the wind direction, which greatly influences the racing in the Max5 cup. An open car with exposed roll-cage equals lots of aerodynamic drag, making the slipstream effect very powerful. However when there is a tailwind, like on this day, the slipstream effect is significantly reduced making overtaking much more difficult. A tough job ahead for Chris and Artur.
At the start of the first race András held on to the lead, breaking away from the field together with Bart Kramer. Just when it looked to be a two horse race to the finish, the race was red-flagged due to a hard crash from another competitor. The Mazda field was halted for 30 minutes at the start/finish straight while the marshals repaired the barrier. The driver escaped unhurt.
Chris meanwhile worked his way up to 10th at the red flag, closely followed by Artur in 11th.
When the race restarted, the whole field was again bunched up closely and it was a sprint of 4 laps to the flag. While being challenged from behind, András was able to hold on to the lead and win the race, securing the driver’s championship!
Chris was able to improve three more spots to finish 7th in the race, winning the team classification and the team’s championship!
While it was
tempting to start the party right there, the team still had two races to
run. With no more pressure, the mind was set to purely enjoying the
Chris further charged up the ranking but a freak incident in the third race saw his throttle cable unhooked, leaving him with no power. With the race still ongoing, mechanic Hans Schilders fixed the problem in about five seconds and in true sportsmanship spirit, the #57 continued. Meanwhile, Artur continued his impressive climb through the field to finish 6th. This strong result ensured he finished the season 5th overall.
For I.L. Motorsport, clinching both championships means a repeat of the 2014 season where Rudy won the drivers’ championship and Chris was driving the team car. This time Rudy joined Chris in the team car and with Christiaan Frankenhout making an one-off guest appearance this proved to be the strongest line-up.
András successfully defended his 2017 title in dominant fashion, claiming around 65% of all available race wins. Together with Rudy, this means a total of four drivers and two team championship titles for I.L. Motorsport, all of them achieved with mechanical support of Hans Schilders who is by far the most successful mechanic in the Max5 series. The team would like to thank Ingo and Nadja Leidiger, who’s support was vital in achieving all six titles.
The I.L. Motorsport Racing Team can now look back at an amazing season where the off-track fun matched the on-track results. Finishing the season on a high, the team will work through the winter to determine the 2019 plans. Stay tuned for more on this at a later time!