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Report by Mario Sowka
The first STM race was held from Friday April 18, 2008 until Sunday April 20, 2008 at my home track of RMC - Wien in the 22nd district. In the Modified class 28 drivers were registered and in the standard class 21 drivers fought for the victory.

Practice - Friday & Saturday April 18-19, 2008
Having fun is a very important focus for our Club and we started free practice on Friday with temperatures of 12 degrees centigrade. The track was in very good condition and many drivers took advantage of this opportunity to run their cars. The best lap times were performed by Thomas Pumpler, Hubert Hönigl and our RMC junior Patrick Gollner. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend on Friday due to my need to study for school exams. Saturday was also a good day for open practice and I was finally able to attend the event. Even though I missed the first day, I still had an advantage as we drove our first club race here the week before and I was able to use the same set-up. The weather was typical for April with changing weather conditions which made it difficult for anyone to find a suitable set-up for Sunday. By Saturday evening I was almost on pace with the times of Thomas and Hupo and Patrick was not far behind us. However, I was not pleased with the set-up overall as I did not have enough front grip.

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Qualifying/Mains - Sunday April 20, 2008
In the morning I decided to reduce the front wheelbase by 1mm and to increase the Ackermann position, hoping to get increase the front grip. The weather was sunny and temperatures rose quickly minute by minute.

1. Qualifier Expert - Modified:

Thomas and Hupo fought hard for TQ. Unfortunately, I had a mistake in the 2nd lap which cost me 5 seconds and Thomas was leading Hupo by about 0.01 seconds. However, I was confident as my problem with the front grip was gone and I pushed without anymore mistakes and finished in first about 3 seconds faster than Thomas and Hupo.

2. Qualifier Expert - Modified:

Everything ran perfectly and I was able to finish in first place in front of Hupo. This round ended up being having the fastest times as the track became slower.

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3. Qualifier Expert - Modified:

Even with a few small mistakes, I was able to finish in first place again.

4. Qualifier Expert - Modified:

With the lap times now slower, Hupo and Thomas were not able to push for TQ anymore.

The results after the preliminary heats:

1. Mario Sowka – XRAY T2’008
2. Hupo Hönigl
3. Thomas Pumpler
4. Patrick Gollner
5. Jakob ZĂĽndl

After one hour of break the finals started with sunshine and a temperature of 19 degrees centigrade. Since my car was handling very well and I felt very quick with it, I decided not to change anything else on my set-up.

1. Final Expert - Modified:

I had a good start, while Hupo made a mistake in the first corner and fell back to last place. The track was open in front of me and Thomas was occupied with the drivers behind him. However, I started having a problem with the new tires in the 2nd lap and fell back to 5th place. Thomas was able to take over the lead and drove cleanly to the win at the end. Fortunately, I was able to gain back most of the positions lost to finish the race in 2nd.

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2. Final Expert - Modified:

Hupo had a perfect start and was able to pass me for the lead in the first corner. From lap to lap I became quicker and quicker and was able to put Hupo under pressure. Thomas was already 2 seconds behind us, when Hupo made a mistake and I was able to do pass him back for the lead. Hupo was able to match my speed, but only by driving his car very hard. Suddenly he made another mistake and crashed into my car. However, since Hupo is one of the fairest drivers I know, he let me pass him for the lead again. He then made another mistake and I was able to finish the race unthreatened for the victory. Hupo and Thomas finished 2nd and 3rd respectively.

3. Final Expert - Modified:

The tension was in the air for the climax. Thomas and I both had a victory and Hupo had a second place as his best result. With this in mind, Hupo, Thomas and I all had a chance to take the overall victory, even though Hupo’s chances were the smallest. At the start I was as quick as Hupo as he tried to overtake me in the first corner on the outside. We had a collision which opened the way for Thomas to take the lead. I fell back to 9th and Hupo went back to 10th. However, Thomas was getting slower and slower. My club colleague, Patrick Gollner was able to get closer and closer to Thomas and after a driving mistake by him, Patrick was able to take over the lead. Patrick finished without anymore mistakes and won the last race. In the end Thomas’ top two final results were a first and a third place, Hupo had a second and a third place, while I had a first and a second place. Therefore, I was able to take the overall win at the first STM race of this season.

Final results for Expert - Modified:

1. Mario Sowka – XRAY T2’008
2. Thomas Pumpler
3. Hupo Hönigl
4. Markus Eder
5. Patrick Gollner

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