King of Europe powered by ST suspensions returned to the extremely challenging PS Racing Center Greinbach in Austria for it’s fourth consecutive year to host the third round of the 2016 series. Competitors travelled from as far as Australia and Japan, with a total of 18 countries overall, to face Europe’s best drivers in the first of three Federal Tyres King of Nations exhibition matches.
Being the only track to have been used for the past four consecutive seasons, it’s become a legendary circuit in the series. It’s well known for its extremely fast and long initial bend which follows with tight, technical corners to provide the ultimate challenge to the drivers.
As practice got underway on the Saturday, the drivers had the perfect conditions for providing a smokescreen throughout the track, slaying their tyres in the summer heat. Drivers prepared themselves for qualification in the afternoon, still taking full advantage of the perfect weather and taking the opportunity to perfect their best possible laps.
Currently sat in second overall going in to the event, Andras Molnar continued his pursuit for the top spot in the rankings, taking first place in qualifying with 93.69 points.
Second place would go to Roman Kolesar, who had been on extremely impressive form throughout the day following his return after an absence from the King of Europe series. Eli Hountondji would once again prove the consistency of the Driftbrothers, taking third place.
Adam Frank took fourth place, also taking the fastest attack speed of the day with an extremely impressive 120km/h. Local hero and series leader Alois Pamper took fifth place on his local track, which he would undoubtedly be hoping to improve on as we headed to the battles.
In the Pro2 series, reigning Champion Pavlin Penev took first place in qualifying out of 22 drivers with an impressive run, scoring 94.09 points. Second place would go to Seb Matuszewski and third to Amon Oliver in his unique V12 Turbo Mercedes.
In the Queen of Europe series qualifying, Corinna Graff took first place, with Karolina Pilarczyk taking second and Michaela Sacherova in third. Anna Fenyi unfortunately failed to take any points after suffering car issues, ending her weekend early.
As day two commenced, first up was the Pro2 series, Australian driver Brodie Moore would be driving a MyWay Drift School E46, and go up against current Champion Penev. Penev would leave Moore in a smoke cloud to advance to the Top 8. Steve Pembrey, also competing from Australia in a MyWay car went up against Seb Matuszewski, with Matuszewski advancing.
Corinna Graff would put up a good fight against current series leader Marcin Galat, forcing a one-more-time battle, with Galat eventually advancing. Despite impressing during practice and qualifying, Amon Oliver’s V12 Turbo powered Mercedes suffered an issue, leaving him unable to reach the startline and allowing Michaela Sacherova to advance.
In the Top 4, current series leader Marcin Galat would face current Champion Pavlin Penev, with Penev showing his opponent that he’s back for the title after a disappointing start in Poland by paving his way to the final. Seb Matuszewski would also defeat Daniel Brander to face Penev in the final.
In the small final, Marcin Galat initially took the lead with a 6-4 scoring, however a mistake cost him dearly as Brandner took a 10-0 in the second run, handing him third on the podium.
In the final, two drivers who had been on fantastic form throughout the weekend, Penev and Matuszewski would go up against each other. With the battles drawn at 6-4 each, it would go to a one-more-time battle.
As the drivers faced each other once again, Matuszewski would take his first Pro2 victory!
In the Queen of Europe series, Michaela Sacherova didn’t have luck on her side as Karolina Pilarczyk progressed to the final to face Corinna Graff.
After a one-more-time battle in the final, it would be Pilarczyk who once again took the top spot of the podium and also extend her win in the Eastern series with two successive wins.
The weather looked optimistic as the ProSeries drivers headed to battle practice before the Top 32 took place. With the conditions the same as the previous day, it was the perfect opportunity to prepare for the challenges of going head-to-head with some of the best drivers. Unluckily for Mike Kauffmann, despite looking better than ever, suffered a car failure at the last minute during pre-battle practice.
As soon as the Top 32 got underway, the weather turned for the worst, providing the drivers with an extremely different challenge ahead to what they had practiced. As always, the show must go on!
In his Top 32 battle, guest driver Drift Zamurai, who had attended from Japan, would be extremely unfortunate to have a clutch failure in his car, ending his weekend. Andras Molnar would defeat Stefano Alessandri on his return to the competition, allowing him to continue his quest for the top spot.
Molnar, in second place in the overall rankings, would face current King of Europe Champion Norbert Kovacik in his Top 16 battle. Despite an underwhelming start to the season, Kovacik proved to Molnar that he’s keen to make an impression this time round by stopping him in his tracks to advance to the Top 8.
Current series leader Alois Pamper would face Remmo Niezen, with Remmo fresh off his second place finish in France. Despite Pamper’s previous experience in the wet and the home crowd cheering him on, after an initial 6-4, 6-4 scoring, it would be Remmo who edged past after a one-more-time battle.
Adam Kerenyi would face Eli Hountondji, both drivers who were desperately keen to collect points in the rankings. It would be previous Champion Adam Kerenyi who won the battle to advance.
In the Top 8, Kovacik proved he was chasing points this weekend, despite losing the initial battle against Thomet he would progress to the Top 4. Adam Frank faced Remmo Niezen in a great battle, but it would be Remmo’s early advantage that took him through.
Adam Kerenyi would face Benjamin Boulbes and Joe Hountondji would face Alex Graff, which would see both Kerenyi and Hountondji progress to the Top 4.
After an intial 5-5 scoring in the Top 4 battle between Remmo Niezen and Norbert Kovacik, Remmo collected the points in his chase battle, placing him in the final for the second consecutive event!
It took a one-more-time battle against Joe Hountondji to eventually allow Adam Kerenyi to advance to the final to face Remmo Niezen!
In the small final, Joe Hountondji managed to secure his second back-to-back podium with a scoring of 7-3, 10-0 after mistakes from Kovacik cost him dearly.
Despite a new BMW E46 build for the 2016 season, Kerenyi has made drastic improvements each round and now occupies second place in the overall series rankings. Sitting just behind Alois Pamper, he’s now one step closer to fighting for the Championship once again.
Andras Molnar moves down to third place, but after an impressive show during practice and qualifying he’ll undoubtedly be looking to fight as we head to Lydden Hill, UK for Round 4!
Photos Eyedea Media