Review: Salzburgring 2023 – PSCCE celebrates 75 years of Porsche – Colin Bönighausen dominates weekend
What a fantastic weekend for the PSCCE at the Salzburgring! The classical circuit, situated in the beautiful landscape of the Austrian alps, set the stage for the second round of the 2023 season of the series and was a huge success both on the sportive and the social side.
Celebrating the 75th anniversary of Porsche, 400 guests who had driven in from all the Austrian countries, enjoyed the offerings of the Porsche hospitality, especially built for the event on top of the garages, while there was also a special event hold in Salzburg on Saturday evening together with Porsche Austria. For all the teams, including the hard-working mechanics, after free practice on Friday a stylish “Austrian evening” provided a lot of fun and entertainment in the pitlane.
A very special emotional was created when Robert Lechner drove four laps in the legendary Porsche962C of the late Walter Lechner sr. Robert and Walter Lechner jr. together with a very motivated team at Lechner Racing recently had finished restoring the iconic car of the sportscar and Le Mans era of the late 80th and early 90th.
On the pure sportive side, qualifying on Saturday had to be delayed for 10 minutes due to an early rain shower. But afterwards the weather co-operated, it stayed dry for the rest of the weekend. When the action finally started, Colin Bönighausen already set the tone for the event. The German claimed two dominant pole positions ahead of Austrian Clemens Stadler. Third and fastest in the Pro Am category for race 1 was Dragos Burio from Romania, for race 2 Czech driver Milan Sitniansky, while German Herbert Geiss topped the Am class both times.
Bönighausen then also took an impressive victory in the first sprint race. The well experienced reigning champion crossed the finish line 19 seconds ahead of Stadler. Third overall and winner of the Am category was Herbert Geiss after a very close fight with Beat Ganz from Switzerland , who came first in the Pro-Am class.
As all the sessions and races over the weekend were run without bigger incidents and in a very disciplined fashion, the very special Safety-Car on Saturday didn´t have to get into action. It was provided by Christoph Pfeifhofer from the Porsche Automuseum in Gmünd – an original Safety-Car from Le Mans. A perfect fit, as the 100th anniversary race of the world famous 24 hours of Le Mans also took place this weekend!
On Sunday, Colin Bönighausen continued in the same way he had finished on Saturday: Again he put a significant gap of more than 13 seconds between him and runner-up Clemens Stadler. Third placed Milan Sitniansky also was the winner of the Pro-Am category. During the whole race he was under a lot of pressure from Am class winner Herbert Geiss, but managed to defend his position.
In the highligt of the event, the 100 Miles of Austria on Sunday afternoon, Colin Bönighausen crowned his perfect weekend with his third win, finishing nearly seven seconds ahead of Austrian local hero Clemens Stadler. P3 with a little help of the only safety-car situation of the whole weekend went to the Austrian combination of Gerald Auböck and Dieter Svepes, also winners of the Pro-Am class. The reason for the safety-car having to come out was a rather minor incident: In the first chicane, a tyre stack had been hit, pushed on the track and had to be removed due to safety reasons. Herbert Geiss took victory in the Am category.
The PSCCE will now move on to Poland, where the third round of the series will take place at Tor Poznan at the 7th and 8th of July, the last event before the summer break.