Hockenheim, 4 October 2022 – Usually weather in the early autumn is fair at Hockenheim. This year however, when the FFR-FOR and its sister association the HRA came to participate in the ADAC Racing Weekend, track conditions were quite different.
While the first qualifying session on Friday was driven under near perfect conditions, the weather changed for the worse overnight and it just didn’t stop raining. Track conditions for the second qualifying on Saturday were poor, resulting in a few minor collisions due to the slippery track and poor visibility and some cars sliding off the track into the gravel, although luckily there were no injuries apart from a few drivers’ egos.
Conditions hadn’t improved by the time of the start of race 1, with the FFR-FOR drivers in the 1st start group and the drivers from the HRA in the second. Again heavy rain caused a slippery track and poor visibility, but that didn’t stop Jochen Thissen (#28) to quickly gain the lead in the first round with his Formula Opel. After two rounds though, as Jochen hit the brakes to avoid a collision due to an unconsidered action by one of the stragglers, Marvin Brandl (#26) succeeded in overtaking him and take the lead instead.
In the FF 2000 class Andreas Menzner (#8) had a better qualifying result than his son Philip Menzner (#6), but this was soon reversed in the race with Philip gaining distance in spite of the conditions, and Simone Busch (#807) in third position. In the FF Zetec class Pascal Monbaron (#96) and Eric Heudicourt (#84) did better in the qualifying then Henry Clausnitzer (#89), but the latter managed get in front in the poor conditions and go for first place in the Zetec class. And with Heudicourt sliding off the track in the Sachs curve, it was Patrick Rausch who secured the third place. In the FF1600 class Klaus Dieter Häckel (#47) in his ‚new‘ VanDiemen RF87 quickly gained the lead, with Hararld Dorfbauer (#53) coming second and Tim Roser (#857) in third position.
Then disaster struck, as Peter Schmitz’ F3 (#119) and Christine Reichhuber’s Shrike P15 (#615) from the HRA collided in the 4th round, catching Dirk Hochhold in his Merlyn Mk30 (#562) as they spun into the tire wall. With debris strewn across the track, the safety car was brought out to lead the 1st start group past the site of the collision. However, the second start group had meanwhile been stopped on the finish straight, to allow the track to be cleaned and secured. With the 1st start group then stopped behind the 2nd and race time running out, the remainder of the race was cancelled.
On Sunday morning the weather still hadn’t improved, so Race 2 started behind the safety car. After only two rounds however, because of even heavier rain, race control decided conditions were not safe and cancelled the remainder of the race.
Luckily a third race was already planned for the weekend. After a brief delay the FFR-FOR was out on the track again in the afternoon. Track conditions were reasonable, thanks to a slight improvement of the weather, resulting in a nice clean race without incidents. In the Formula Opel class Marvin Brandl (#26) won again, followed by Jochen Thissen (#28) and Alan Williamson (#60). In the FF 2000 class Philip Menzner (#6) was the winner before Andreas Menzner (#8) and Simone Busch (#807). Pascal Monbaron (#96) won the FF Zetec class, followed by Henry Clausnitzer (#89) and Eric Heudicourt (#84). Klaus Dieter Häckel also won race 3 in the FF 1600 class, with a good showing from Gerhard Hauschulte (#41) who came in second, and Harald Dorfbauer (#53) taking third.
Next event for the FFR-FOR and the HRA will be the Westfalen Trophy at Nürburgring, on 14, 15 and 16 October, which will also be the final race of the 2022 season.