The opening round of the 2020 RC-Lemans Series was hosted by the MCC Rhein Ahr track in Germany last weekend. Due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic the event was a maiden one this year for many drivers and thus Saturday’s practice was extensively used to get in the first runs of the season. Both the club and the drivers swiftly adapted to the new measures that had to be taken to guarantee everyone’s safety and things really worked out great from the get go. Sunday kicked off less smoothly however as overnight rain forced the organisers to delay the start of the race for about an hour. When things finally started off and in the fast LMP1 Modified class, it was Tim Altmann who set the pace in the opening qualifier. He took the round with a lap margin from last year’s vice champion, Tobias Weist and his brother Kai Altmann.
In the quicker second round it was Tobias with the TQ from Kai in 2nd as Tim scored a DNF due to a mechanical. In the third and final qualifier Tobias established himself in the lead with Kai and Tim just two seconds behind while Joachim Behnken and Dirk Elsebusch came in 4th and 5th respectively.
Over in the LMP2 Stock class Sascha Lennartz set the pace in the opening qualifier followed by local hero Max Johennken and Timo Schad, reigning LMP1 champion. Dirk Elsebusch would take the second round of qualifiers despite being pretty busy starting in both categories. Max came in 2nd again, in front of vice champion, Mathijs Hermens. In the third and final “rocket round” many drivers again upped their performance with Mathijs being the only driver to score a 26-laps run. Dirk came in 2nd overall to cement his position in the front starting row while Sascha Lennartz, Max Joehnnken and reigning champion, Rainer Schad completed the top 5 – the latter suffering a bit from skipping Saturday’s practice.
The opening LMP1 A-main was a bit of a disaster for Tobias who found his car on its roof after the first corner due to a contact. Tim took profit of the situation and jumped into the lead that he would hold onto until the checkered flag. Dirk Elsebusch and Joachim Behnken would take 2nd and 3rd respectively after also taking profit of the mishap of other drivers. A2 and Tobias would see a much better take-off as he was able to take the lead while A1 winner Tim suffered a mechanical after the opening lap. Unfortunately for Tobias, he also suffered problems meaning he scored a DNF which made way for Kai who took the lead and also the win in the second A-main. Joachim and Dirk swapped places and came in 2nd and 3rd respectively. A3 would bring the decision between Kai, Tim, Joachim and Dirk while Tobias was out of contention for the the day’s win. Up front Tim passed Kai and set sails to chase Tobias that he would pass a bit later. The two would be in a real slipstream fight and in the penultimate round Tobias was able to get past again to take the win. Nevertheless it was Tim with the day’s win thanks to its P2 in the final A-main while Kai took the runner-up spot in the tie-breaker with Joachim.
The finals of LMP2 saw Mathijs and Dirk in some great battles over the whole 7-minute races. Dirk put a lot of pressure on Mathijs in A1 until the latter had a small mishap which allowed Dirk to pass. From that moment on Dirk never looked back to take the win with a 2-seconds margin. Behind the two, Sascha was able to fend off the attacks of Max to bring home P3. At the start of A2 Mathijs had a small mishap which allowed Dirk to get into the lead. Behind the two things started to heat up and Timo was able to get into 2nd, coming from P7 on the grid and chasing Dirk. The latter was able to bring home the win which also meant an early overall victory for the day. 6th place qualifier, Michael Holla came in 3rd in A2. In A3 and with another win, Dirk cemented his dominating performance in the finals while Mathijs suffered from one or the other mistake which cost him dearly. Sascha was able to take P2 in the final A-main and he also took the overall runner-up spot while Timo, with a good performance in A3, secured himself the final podium spot.