Two races, two victories at the Truck Grand Prix on the Nürburgring in Germany
This weekend the Truck Grand Prix took place in front of packed grand stands at the famous Nürburgring in Germany. One of the support programs was the action of the SBK1000-class of the IDM – international German championship and both alpha Racing-Van Zon-BMW pilots, Ilya Mikhalchik (Ukraine, #1) and Julian Puffe (Germany, #19) were dominating the premier class of the championship also this weekend.
The busy weekend startet on the Thursday afternoon with the free practice in which Ilya Mikhalchik was leading the session with a lap time of 1’26.131 and 0.15 seconds advantage over Julian Puffe. During the first qualifying session on Friday something went really wrong with the two alpha Racing-Van Zon-BMW riders, as Ilya Mikhalchik only qualified in 14th position and Julian Puffe crashed his BMW S 1000 RR, but fortunately stayed uninjured during the highside. The second qualifying in the afternoon went well again. Puffe secured the pole position with a 0.04 seconds gap over his teammate, who finished the session in second position.
Ilya Mikhalchik dropped out of the race while leading three laps to go due to a technical problem with his BMW S 1000 RR in race one and Julian Puffe secured his second win of the season with a comfortable lead over his pursuers Erwan Nigon (Kawasaki Weber-Motos Racing Team) and Marc Moser (MGM Racing Performance). The second race on Sunday took place under the „reverse grid procedure“ and therefore Puffe and Mikhalchik started the race from ninth and tenth grid position. Only one lap later the youngster from Schleiz was leading the race and stayed in the lead for a few laps more. Teammate Ilya rode his way through the field and step by step he approached to his hardest competitor in the fight for the title. After an exciting battle and some changes of positions between the two alpha Racing-Van Zon-BMW pilots the Ukrainian was able to set the pace at the top and won the second race in front of Julian Puffe, who finished in second position this time. Erwan Nigon (France) finished in third position.
With his win and the second position at the Nürburgring Julian Puffe was able to expand his lead in the championship to 119 points. Ilya Mikhalchik follows with 95 points and only one point in front of the third placed Nigon. The next round of the IDM – international German championship is taking place in only one week time, from 26th to 28th of July, at the home track of Julian Puffe, the Schleizer Dreieck.
llya Mikhalchik, #1: „It’s been a good weekend. The first days were not so good, but at the end it all went well again. I want to forget these first days as I can’t do anything against the technical issues we had. I was with the lead again in the second race and I was able to work out a good gap. I am very happy about the win and I hope that there are many more to follow. We will continue next week already and I will try to catch up the missing points in the championship.“
Julian Puffe, #19: „It’s been a positive weekend for all of us. The weekend did not start well though as due to the crash in qualifying one I was not able to set a lap time. Of course the pole position in the second qualifying made up for it again and I was very happy with that. The races both went very well. I had to fight some issues with the set up of my bike during the first race and I lost one to two tenths per lap at the end of the race. Then I saw that Ilya had to retire and our gap over the following group was already quite big, so I won comfortably. The 25 points for the championship are crucial. The second race I started from ninth position due to the reverse-grid-procedure. I had a good start and already was in second position in the first lap and finishes it in first position. After a few leading laps Ilya had caught up on me and we were able to have a really nice fight. We changed the lead a couple of times and I really had fun. Unfortunately I was not able to attack again during the last few laps as my rear tyre lost performance. But I am very satisfied with my weekend and I arrive to my home track in Schleiz leading the championship and that makes me really happy!“
Werner Daemen, Team Manager: „Of course this was a successful weekend for me as team manager. We won race one and race two. The lap times were really fast. Unfortunately Ilya had a problem with the bike during the first race, but that is neither his nor the team’s fault. This is a pity, but you can’t affect it. Two wins and a second place are very good results for the team and I am satisfied. Also the scenery was impressive, there were so many people at the Nürburgring and that was also an extra spur for the riders of the championship. Henning Putzke, general manager of BMW Motorrad Deutschland was our guest this weekend and also he was happy – what else can you ask for. One week to go we will continue in Schleiz and I can’t wait to see how we will do there.“