BRC Green Hybrid Cup in Poznan - need 4 speed
For the first time in the cup's history (formerly known as the Green Scout Cup) its round – this season's fifth – was held in Poland. In the opinion of Mariano Costamagna, BRC co-founder and a motorsport enthusiast, the choice of the Poznan Circuit goes to show how important a market Poland is for BRC. Upon seeing the vast interest the event enjoyed, Mr Costamagna declared the BRC Green Hybrid Cup's appearance in "Cognition City” (as the name of Poznan could be translated tongue-in-cheek) will not remain a one-time thing. He said the series will return to Poland next year and we will hold him to his word.
Two practice runs were held on Saturday to allow the contestants (all of them Italians) to get accustomed to the circuit none of them had ever raced on before. The track was particularly praised by Arturo Merzario, a former Formula 1 driver, who enjoyed its shape and technical features, highly demanding in terms of driving technique. The first run was dominated by the young, merely 17-year-old Alessandra Brena (excellent driver as she is, she does not even have a driver's licence since she is too young!), followed by Jacopo Lombardelli and Andrea Portatadino. Lombardelli won the afternoon run, finishing before Brena and Vigil Lorenzo.
The 1st race
The Saturday practice session served as a qualifying round and set the starting order for Sunday. Drivers fought hard on-track from the very beginning – five cars dropped out of the track during the race, and when one of them did during lap six, it proved serious enough for the safety car to enter the track and end the race prematurely. Since Alessandra Brena was in the lead at the time, she was declared the run's winner. In the four hours before the day's second attempt, the BRC Racing Team's 12 technicians took the opportunity to fix and adjust the cars. Batteries were charged (remember the Kia Venga's are hybrids), damaged parts were replaced (such as the INDRA car's bumper) and some repairs were done (e. g. the DHL vehicle's suspension). Chief engineer Gabriele Rizzo would show up in the service tent every know and then to make sure everything was being done right. So would Mariano Costamagna, who considers motorsport a great proving ground for BRC's latest developments and a way to promote autogas.
The afternoon race
Despite hot weather, drivers should consider themselves lucky – as soon as the first run was over, it started to rain. Approximately half an hour before the second race the sun returned to the sky, drying up the track almost completely. Taught by experience gathered earlier the same day, the racers tackled the circuit's corners much more carefully, with more respect and attention. The run was dominated by a brilliant Andrea Portatadino, who controlled it right from start to finish, all the while gaining more advantage over his rivals. Since Portatadino was beyond reach, all everybody else could do was fight for the number 2 spot. Mario Brioschi came in second, followed by Alessandra Brena. The Stako Worthington-branded car, with Paolo Strabelli at the wheel, was anything but a marvel that day and finished as one of the final ones.
The BRC Green Hybrid Cup city
We need to admit and highlight that the entire event was very well organised. All 15 cars were under constant care from experienced technicians in a huge service tent, while another tent served the drivers, the BRC Racing Team crew members and invited guests as a place to relax and talk. Yet another tent (as well as a Segway track), provided by Stako Worthington, the event's gold sponsor, was provided and intended for children as it was filled with racing simulators. In practice, everybody seemed to be having a good time visiting it. The "city's” image was complete with a canteen, barbeque place and a racing merchandise shop.
Same time next year
Mariano Costamagna's promise to bring the BRC Green Hybrid Cup to Poznan again in 2014 just goes to confirm the acclaim the circuit received from drivers and technicians alike. The Italian visitors were also impressed by Poznan itself. No wonder they were, since the city invested a lot to freshen up the centre's image and improved its infrastructure – the Poznan Circuit is easily accessible from the nearby airport and the S11 expressway. Experience earned during the 2013 Poznan round is bound to profit BRC Racing Team and the Green Hybrid Cup's Polish partners (Czakram and Stako) during the series' next visit to Poznan in 2014. We can hardly wait!
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