Devin Braune‘s winning streak in World eX Bizz almost came to an end on the virtual city street circuit of Maastricht. In both races, the decision came down to the last lap.
Braune took pole position in qualifying ahead of his good old friend Nicolas Hillebrand and newcomer James Falvey. Chris Overend’s driver coach got on well with the eX ZERO on his debut in World eX Bizz. In Race 1, however, the Briton had to retire early after an unfortunate crash on the first lap. In Race 2, he just missed the podium in fourth place.
As expected, Race 1 on the ultra-fast street circuit was a very intense affair right from the start. Thomas Voigt and Bodo Kräling collided just after the start line. James Falvey was hit at the exit of the tunnel. Markus Martin lost his chance for a top result due to a collision in the carousel.
Björn Skottke received one of the five yellow cards awarded for the Maastricht event by RCCO Race Control for causing the incident.
“Skottie” was also involved in the most spectacular crash of the race, which was triggered by Thomas Voigt when he touched the wall on the inside in the fast tunnel, losing control of his eX ZERO and subsequently hitting Skottke.
Skottke’s following incredible flight went viral on social media – luckily it happened only in the virtual world.
Voigt was able to continue despite the clash and still take second place in the AM category behind Skottke’s teammate Frank Enger. However, he received a yellow card for causing an accident.
Meanwhile, a three-way battle developed at the front of the field between former World eX stars Devin Braune, Nicolas Hillebrand and Chris Overend. Overend’s hopes ended in a spin, but Nicolas Hillebrand seemed to be in a position to stop Devin Braune’s winning streak.
But then came the last corner and an over-optimistic move from Braune which sent Hillebrand going backwards. Braune was almost caught on the finish line by Steffen Walter, who was only 48 thousandths of a second short of victory. After the wild finish, there were some tense discussions between the two rivals and a yellow card for the championship leader.
The reversed-grid Race 2 started with scuffles in Turn 1 and a crash at the exit of the tunnel, in which Steffen Walter lost his chance to repeat is good result from Race 1.
At the front, Markus Martin, Devin Braune and Luca Munro initially fought for the lead before Chris Overend and Nicolas Hillebrand turned it into a spectacular group of five that delivered fantastic racing.
Hillebrand crashed out on lap 4, while Luca Munro could not quite keep up with Overend and Braune at the end.
Overend seemed to have a good chance to win the race, but on the last lap he defended himself too much against Braune when braking for the carousel and crashed into the wall.
Braune went on to celebrate his tenth World eX Bizz win in a row while Overend was handed a yellow card because he drove right into the path of Julius Martin after his crash. The defending Bizz champion was lucky to finish third behind Braune and Luca Munro and still secure a place on the podium.
In the AM category, Thomas Voigt took the win after some nice battles with Bodo Kräling just ahead of three bspowersport drivers which battled hard for P2 right until the finish line.
World eX Bizz continues on 1 August at Istanbul in Turkey.