Review: Dunlop Saloon Car Cup 2019 – Oulton Park – Gold Cup
Steffan Irmler: a positive conclusion of an eventful season on the british island.
“You’re welcome, Steffan, always!“ With these words, the organizers of the British DUNLOP Saloon Car Cup waved their guest from the mainland a goodbye at the Gold Cup in Oulton Park – into the winter break. On the last weekend in August 2019, the compact racing program of the english league of classic touring cars was already completed. For Steffan Irmler, it was time to walk away from the island after four appearances this year. Although he was on the podium again in the county of Chesire and collected important points within the highly competitive two-liter supertourers, he is not quite done with his adventure in the motherland of motorized contact sports. Carsten Krome reports.
“Well, one could say, I did that once – I mean, once in my life, and that’s it, too”, philosophizes Steffan Irmler, who has since returned from Oulton Park to his hometown Mariendrebber in Lower Saxony. I’m still attracted to the island – from a sporting point of view, of course. After all, I have not seen all the racetracks in England, let alone run a race there like Knockhill in my collection.” With a stylish barbecue in the paddock and two strongly visited races ended the debut season for the passionate Vauxhall pilot. Although the local John Cleland did not start due to business obligations, another 17 racers remained as the participants field of the DUNLOP Saloon Car Cup, including half a dozen two-liter supertourers. “The year-around competition, especially with my two Vauxhall brand colleagues, Tony Absolom and Darren Fielding, was one of a kind, so it did not matter the most that we could rarely endanger Stewart Whyte’s JAS-Honda Accord – he was already in a different league as we are!”
The Scot underlined this also in qualifying for the first of two rounds of racing with second place in the standings behind pole setter Ric Wood in the large-capacity Holden Commodore. Steffan Irmler came in his debut on the challenging up- and downhill fast track at Oulton Park in qualifying on the fourth spot. With his performance, the newcomer amazed his fellow drivers, all of whom were much more familiar with the course. “I guess that enthusiasm can make up for a lack of track experience,“ Irmler analyzed his performance on-site, which took him to within three-tenths of a second to Tony Absolom and his Opel Vectra STW. After a ride into the green of the park-like course, the four-man troupe from the district of Diepholz had to make an effort to use their screwing tools. A retaining plate had come off, possibly due to the hard contact with a curb. Even a wheel bearing broke during the weekend within the axle body, but it could be repaired again with combined forces in the paddock. “The supertourer category colleagues have all helped, although they have been my immediate competitors,” says Steffan Irmler, highlighting the relaxed atmosphere. “Motorsport as you like it – at a high level, without politics and talk, simply reduced to the essential!”
In the first race, the pilot of the silver-gray Irmscher Opel Vectra STW finished fifth in the two-liter division. Darren Fielding, with John Cleland’s former practise car, suffered a technical failure. Instead of his white Opel, Fielding now drove a BMW in the open invitation class. In the qualifying session for the second heat, Steffan Irmler brought the four-door sedan into the fourth row of the grid – the best circumstances to once again aim for a podium finish. At the previous race in Brands Hatch, the 50-year-old had already achieved this. In Oulton Park it was once again the third place – in the internal competition of the two-liter touring cars. In the overall, the sixth position was the result. For Steffan Irmler, it was the culmination of an eventful season on the british island. “The engine endured, despite now more than 20 running hours,” summed up the Opel enthusiast, “if now a home race on German ground at the end of the season should come up, it would be the more than a 24-hour race on its belt.” Asked about the possible when and where, Steffan Irmler refers to the first weekend in October. The latest news with exciting content will follow shortly.
Responsible for the content: Carsten Krome Netzwerkeins
Photography: PSP Images