MINI Press Release
Munich/Amsterdam. Just a few hours after Jeroen Bleekemolen (Aerdenhout/NL, Team ProSieben) gained pole position in the qualifying in Zandvoort (NL), the local Dutch hero had reason to celebrate yet again: the former DTM pro put in a perfect start-to-finish lead in the first MINI CHALLENGE race of his life! “I’m really pleased. Especially because it was such hard work to defend my position – that makes winning so much more significant,” said Bleekemolen after the race.
During the 30-minute race held as part of the MINI United Festival, only Ben Spouse (Munich, Schirra motoring) managed to keep a tail on the flying Dutchman. “I was always hot on Jeroen’s heels, but I just couldn’t manage the crucial attack,” said the Englishman. Spouse had put in the second-best time in the qualifying and explained afterwards why he had been so fast: “The undulating and winding profile of the race track is well suited to my very soft driving style. Here in Zandvoort you sense the typical MINI go-kart feeling much more than elsewhere.”
In the fourth of a total of 15 scored heats of the MINI CHALLENGE in the 2007 season, Maximilian Werndl (Thansau, BRAINFORCE Lechner Racing) finished third. “After the qualifying I was a little disappointed, but now I have come to terms with the day’s performance. Especially because I was able to leave Hari and Joakim behind me – two direct competitors in the overall ranking,” said the 19-year-old happily, who started the race in 5th place.
The Austrian Hari Proczyk (Knittelfeld/A, Team ProSieben) finished the race behind Werndl in 4th place, while Swede Joakim Mangs (Sˆdert‰lje/S, Schubert Motors) was fifth across the finishing line. Alexander Burgstaller (Munich, MINI Germany) was actually hoping for more: “But tomorrow I’ll be in pole position at least,” said the MINI CHALLENGE ambassador, already setting his sights on tomorrow’s race, in which – according to the MINI CHALLENGE rules – the first six of the Saturday race take up their positions at the start in reverse order.
Johannes Stuck (Maureen/Lie, Team Spicy) was unlucky. The son of racing legend Hans-Joachim “Striezel” Stuck was forced to abandon his 210 bhp MINI Cooper S racing model due to technical problems after 10 laps. “I suddenly had no fuel pressure any more – though I was doing a pretty good job in the laps up to then. That’s racing for you – tomorrow is a new start,” said Stuck junior, giving a sportsmanlike explanation for his mishap.
The second MINI CHALLENGE heat of the weekend will be held the following day, Sunday June 24th at 12.00. Once again, 33 technically identical MINI Cooper S with John Cooper Works Tuning Kit will line up at the start and captivate the international guests of the MINI United Festival with a fast and furious position race.