The season opener of the IDM (International German Championship) at the Lausitzring in Germany was successful for the alpha Racing-Van Zon-BMW Team, that goes home now with two victories in its pocket.
Already the practice sessions were passed with bravery by the Belgian crew around team manager Werner Daemen, as the German Julian Puffe and also Ilya Mikhalchik from Ukraine were placed on top of the overall standings (apart from the second free practice that Mikhalchik finished in fourth position). Both qualifying sessions were clearly dominated by the two alpha Racing-Van Zon-BMW team riders and finished by both, Julian Puffe (QP1) and Ilya Mikhalchik (QP2) in first position. Mikhalchik secured the pole position with only 0.1 seconds in front of his teammate.
The first of the two races on Sunday at Lausitzring had to be red-flagged due to an engine-blow up suffered by rider Marc Moser (MGM racing performance). After the track was cleaned the race was shortened to nine laps and confidentially finished as the winner by Ilya Mikhalchik, in front of his teammate Julian Puffe in position two.
Race two, at which the first nine riders have to start in the conversed order of the previous grid, has quickly been taken over by the alpha Racing-Van Zon-BMW riders. The race was finished for Ilya Mikhalchik after just eleven laps due to a technical issue. Julian Puffe rode the second race to its long-awaited win.
The IDM – International German Championship will resume from 6th to 9th of June as support event of the „German Speedweek“ at the Motorsportarena Oschersleben (Germany).
Ilya Mikhalchik, #1: „The weekend did not start so well. We had a couple of technical issues. To reach pole position was not easy as well. We did not do so many laps and were missing some more time to find a good set up. But we made it at the end and I achieved pole position. Everything was under control in the first race and I was able to win it with a small gap. The second race started great. The first half of the race went superb, I was able to get in front easily. When my gap was at around six seconds the bike stopped. I tried to switch it on and off, but it was a technical problem and I was not able to finish the race. Nevertheless I am satisfied with this weekend, because we are strong and we are at the front. I try to forget about that now and just give my best again next time.“
Julian Puffe, #19: „The weekend started off really well. We were in front at the free practices, both of the last sessions in first position. You could notice straight away how competitive our new bike is. We worked hard on it over the winter and were able to delete some of the previous problems. To be in first and second position already on the Friday felt fantastic and I was relieved. Also the first qualifying went great, I was in first position with half a second advantage. I wanted to go on top of that in the second qualifying and I was sure I can go even faster, but I crashed out with a new set of tyres in my first flying lap. Unfortunately this meant that there was no improvement. I missed out on the pole position by 0.1 seconds and that’s a pity. But it still was the first row on the grid and that is good. The first race was a bit of a rumble. I was able to stay with Ilya after the red flag, but I changed the gear wrong and only finished in second place. I struggled in the second race. I was lucky today. Ilya was not so lucky and I feel really sorry for him. I want to thank my team for all their effort and that we are with the front again.“
Werner Daemen, Teammanager: „The first weekend is over now. It went really well. We won two races. Already the practice went great. We finished in first and second place. We neither had problems with the chassis, nor with the engine. We still need to improve the electronics though. Ilya almost had won the second race with four/five seconds advantage. But then he had an electronic-problem, but we know it is the first year and with a new engine and regarding this it really looks well and I am confident for the rest of the season.“