On the recently resurfaced circuit demanding a subtle compromise between the long straights and its infield, while also respecting the curbs, it will all the same be a door handle to door handle battle in the attempt to be well positioned before the second half of the season.
50 points up for grabs for the PROs
With the PRO drivers starting the Endurance race and the PRO Sprint race, 50 points will be up for grabs in the category where the champion will participate in a driver selection test with the official NISMO team for a season in Super GT or a cash prize of 200.000€ if he is not chosen.
50 points is exactly the tally of leader Kevin Korjus (R-ace GP), who will aim for another success to pull away from his rivals in Austria who are still in search of their first victory : Nicky Pastorelli (V8 Racing), David Fumanelli (Oregon Team) and Markus Palttala (Team Marc VDS EG 0,0).
Among the contenders, Bruno Bonifacio (Oregon Team) will try to keep the momentum going after his win in Italy, but Pieter Schothorst (Equipe Verschuur) and Roy Geerts (Equipe Verschuur) will be out for revenge following their lack of success in Italy. The battle will also be intense among Dario Capitanio (Oregon Team), Tanart Sathienthirakul (Team Marc VDS EG 0,0), Jordan Grogor (V8 Racing), Raoul Owens (R-ace GP) and Anders Fjordbach (High Class Racing), all of whom are still in search of their maiden podium.
After a one off drive at Le Mans last year, Holland’s Duncan Huisman (V8 Racing) will return to the Renault Sport Trophy in place of fellow Dutchman Meindert van Buuren. The Duqueine Engineering team will make its debut with two cars for Lonni Martins and Diego Mejia in the PRO category.
Who will beat Fabian Schiller in AM ?
Unbeaten so far this year, Fabian Schiller (Team Marc VDS EG 0,0) is already assured of leaving Austria with the lead in the AM category, but that won’t stand in the way of the German driver aiming for another success, despite a maximum weight ballast of 80kgs.
With “only” 30kg of ballast, his closest title rival, Fran Rueda (Team Marc VDS EG 0,0) will hope it will help him make the most of the situation to take his first victory. Third in the general classification, Fredrik Blomstedt (R-ace GP) has similar ambitions despite a handicap of 80kg. Andrés Méndez (Oregon Team) and Miguel Ramos (Equipe Verschuur) will also be contenders with 30 and 15 extra kilograms. .
The list of outsiders who will try to get back in contention is long. While Jelle Beelen (V8 Racing) and Max Braams (V8 Racing) will also carry an additional 40 and 35 kg, Ash Hand (Oregon Team), Carmen Jorda (V8 Racing), Davide Roda (Oregon Team) and Dennis Andersen (High Class Racing) could also be a threat.
While Jeroen Schothorst (Equipe Verschuur) will be in search of his first points of the season, three drivers will make their debut in Austria. Jean-Marc Merlin will stand in for Toni Forné at R-ace GP, while Ben Anderson and Christophe Hamon will be in the Duqueine Engineering AM entries.
The battle on the boil in Endurance
Winners at Imola, Kevin Korjus and Fredrik Blomstedt (R-ace GP) took the lead in the general classification, but they are just three points ahead of Markus Palttala and Fabian Schiller (Team Marc VDS EG 0,0). The tension should also click up a notch in Austria, although their rivals are not about to lie down.
Third overall, Raoul Owens (R-ace GP) would like to finally experience the thrill of victory with his new team mate Jean-Marc Merlin, just like the duo composed of Pieter and Jeroen Schothorst (Equipe Verschuur. Back on form thanks to their runner-up result in Italy, the tandem of Bruno Bonifacio and Andrés Mendez (Oregon Team) will try to step onto the top step of the podium.
The Renault Sport R.S. 01s entrusted to David Fumanelli – Ash Hand (Oregon Team), Roy Geerts - Miguel Ramos (Equipe Verschuur), Tanart Sathienthirakul – Fran Rueda (Team Marc VDS EG 0,0) and Anders Fjordbach - Dennis Andersen (High Class Racing) will aim for a strong result to move up the overall order. Carmen Jorda will team with Jordan Grogor (V8 Racing), while Nicky Pastorelli – Jelle Beelen (V8 Racing) and Dario Capitanio – Davide Roda (Oregon Team) will try to score their first points of the year.
And finally, while Lonni Martins – Christophe Hamon and Ben Anderson - Diego Mejia will debut at Duqueine Engineering, the Red Bull Ring will also be the first occasion to gauge the new duo of Duncan Huisman and Max Braams (V8 Racing).
Programme and TV
The three races over the weekend will be aired on streaming on the Renault Sport Youtube channel before being rebroadcast on a delayed basis on the Eurosport group channels.
The Renault range of cars will be on display in the Village. There will also be attractions for the spectators who will also have the chance to participate in the pit stop challenge.
Friday 15 July 2016
8h30 – 9h25 Collective tests 1
12h35 – 13h30 Collective tests 2
17h50 – 18h45 Collective tests 3
Saturday 16 July 2016
8h10 – 8h30 Qualifying AM
12h15 – 12h35 Qualifying PRO
14h52 – 16h04 Endurance Race
Sunday 17 July 2016
9h27 – 9h54 Sprint Race AM
12h27 – 12h54 Sprint Race PRO