As part of the world premiere of the new motorsport event format XLR8, the Austrian Junior Cup was part of a top-class motorsport programme with single seaters, touring cars and classic races. The races of the AJC were also shown for the first time live online (re-live on www.xlr8experience.com).
Leo Rammerstorfer (KTM Braumandl) arrived in the paddock as the leader of the Austrian Junior Cup standings. The Upper Austrian won both races at the opening round. However, with Red Bull Rookies Cup starter Jakob Rosenthaler and Northern Talent Cup participant Korbinian Brandl, Rammerstorfer & Co. had strong opponents at the Salzburgring.
It quickly became apparent that the youngsters would also manage to prove their talent during their first appearance at the Salzburgring. At one point, six drivers were fighting for the lead in a race characterised by duels in every bend and slipstream battles on every straight. The decision was not made until the twelfth and last lap, when a motivated Kilian Holzer (Zweirad Zauner) behind Rosenthaler tried to overtake Niklas Kitzbichler (Red Bull Erzbergrodeo) and Leo Rammerstorfer in the banked Nockstein-Kehre. That did not work, but it gave Rosenthaler some room at the front and the decisive metres advantage for the final sprint. In a photo finish for second place Rammerstorfer came out in front of Kitzbichler and Holzer. The latter lost contact with the group after a mistake in the first chicane, but was able to dock again with the fastest race lap in the slipstream, before missing out the podium by a mere five thousandth of a second!
The top group was followed by Xaver Moser (KTM St.Pölten) whose 6th rank was the best result in his season. He battled for this place against Phil Urlauß (Zweirad Wimmer), Korbinian Brandl and Julius Coenen (Zweirad Wimmer) with a wafer-thin lead. Local hero Sebastian Schiderer (2 Rad Unterberger) from Abtenau ranked 10th.
Leo Rammerstorfer maintained his qualifying streak on Sunday, setting the fastest time for the fourth time in the fourth qualifying session of the season. Once again, however, Rammerstorfer did not have the best getaway and so Jakob Rosenthaler took the lead again at first. But as on Saturday, he was unable to break away – Rammerstorfer, Kitzbichler and, in the early stages, Kilian Holzer checked in behind Rosenthaler. Once again on Sunday, the lead changed on almost every lap until it came to a head on the last lap. Rammerstorfer caught up with Rosenthaler on the back straight and came into the Fahrerlagerkurve with a decent overrun and sideways. Rosenthaler took advantage of Leo's slide and passed first on the outside and then sharply to the inside, while Kitzbichler tried his luck on the outside. Rookies Cup starter Rosenthaler prevailed with this manoeuvre and thus also won the second race of the AJC at the Salzburgring. Rammerstorfer extended his overall lead in the championship with second place, Niklas Kitzbichler consolidated his position as the fiercest chaser.
In the battle for 5th place, Luca Göttlicher (Schruf Motorrad) beat guest starter Brandl, who just left Coenen behind. Schmiderer also scored points behind Urlaß with 9th place in the second race. Manuel Blaßnig (Walzer), who fought with Lena Kemmer (Knopper) for a good place in the midfield as in race 1, finished tenth. During the duel between the two, there was a slight contact in the infamous Fahrerlager. While Blaßnig was able to continue unhindered, Kemmer had to retire with a puncture. Because the wildcard starters are not eligible for points, Leo's younger brother Luis (Schruf) and Daniel Krabacher (KINI Bike World) also secured points in race 2.
The next round of the Austrian Junior Cup follows in a month's time at the Wachauring in Melk, before the championship finds its first champion in August with the Red Bull Ring double as part of MotoGP and IDM.
Double winner Jakob Rosenthaler (15 years, Linz/Upper Austria), KTM Braumandl: "You simply can't drive away here – it's crazy. Because of all the overtaking manoeuvres, some of the riders catch up from behind. Of course, my goal was to win here, but I also knew that the guys and girls here know how to drive fast! The second race was quite exhausting, because we were almost a second faster than yesterday. On the last lap, Leo passed me on the straight, but I took advantage of his mistake and was able to get past the lapped riders."
Championship Leader Leo Rammerstorfer (16 years, Feldkirchen/Upper Austria), KTM Braumandl: "A great weekend! Today (i.e. race 2 on Sunday) I had a bit of bad luck. In the Nockstein-Kehre I left a gap to Jakob so that I didn't have to let off the gas on the straight, and then I could overtake him in the Fahrerlagerkurve. Unfortunately, I hit a bump where the bike swung up and I had to let off the throttle slightly. Jakob then squeezed me from the outside. But the points were important and I'm happy to have been there."
Niklas Kitzbichler (14 years, Niederndorf/Tyrol), Red Bull Erzbergrodeo, second in the standings: "Two very exciting races – many overtaking manoeuvres, but also very exhausting. All the riders at the front are very strong. I'm really happy that I made it into the top 3. It was very exciting for me too! Today I was hoping for more. In the middle of the race, I shifted gears once and then I tore off, but I managed to get back."
Christian Korntner, Moto3 Manager KTM Factory Racing: "The level of the leading group is surprisingly high! I was also impressed by the speed over the race distance and the brave behaviour of the youngsters at the Salzburgring."
Race Calendar 2021:
17./18.07. Round 3 Wachauring Melk
06.–08.08. Round 4 Red Bull Ring with MotoGP
27.–29.08. Round 5 Red Bull Ring with IDM
About Austrian Junior Cup:
KTM, the Austrian Motorsport Federation (AMF) and Projekt Spielberg aim to lead Austrian talents in motorbike road racing to MotoGP. From 2021 onwards, the Austrian Junior Cup (AJC) will give juniors a chance to improve their skills in a professional championship and prove that they have what it takes to become a MotoGP rider.
The Austrian Junior Cup is organised and run by BG Sportpromotion around Rene Binna and Christoph Gerlach, in close cooperation with KTM Österreich and Managing Director Chris Schipper. The licence and insurance will be arranged through AMF.
More on www.austrianjuniorcup.at