Alex Cascatau debuts with pole and double overall victory in Supercar Challenge at Assen
Alex Cascatău and the BS Racing team didn’t put a foot wrong throughout their maiden outing in the CN class and it showed. Fighting both the weather and superior machinery, Cascatău and Berg came out on top in both of the races held at Assen this past weekend as part of the Supercar Challenge’s opening round.
Inclement weather has often spiced things up at Assen, a circuit known for the many great motorcycle races it hosted, but last weekend it was all about car racing as the DTM, as well as Belcar and the Supercar Challenge arrived to put on a show. While rain was a factor all weekend long, the track was dry during the second Supercar Challenge free practice session when Cascatău first got a chance to drive BS Racing’s naturally aspirated Norma M20 FC.
Pitted against three turbocharged examples entered by Deldiche Racing, the Romanian rose to the occasion and showed everyone that he could’ve been a threat in the Belcar races had the team elected to do the Belgian championship’s round as well. With a 1:35.977 during his first ever laps in Assen, Cascatău was actually less than a second off the pole set during the dry Belcar qualifying session by Sam Dejonghe.
The Supercar Challenge qualifying session, however, was held in wet conditions and Cascatău relished the challenge slotting at the very top of the standings with a 1:42.743 fastest lap, 1.37 seconds quicker than the best that Dejonghe could muster. In Supercar Challenge, the two fastest flying laps count as the first is taken into account for the grid order in the first race of the weekend while the second fastest lap in qualifying determines your position on the grid for race number 2. As Alex’s second-best effort was a 1:44.042, the BS Racing Norma would start from pole on Sunday as well.
Sadly, the much-anticipated battle between Cascatău and Dejonghe never materialized as the Belgian binned his car during the first Belcar race and couldn’t take part in the first Supercar Challenge race on Saturday. But Luc De Cock’s Norma did make it onto the grid as did Max Aschoff’s clearly superior Ginetta G58.
After the start, Alex was able to stay within reach of Aschoff who stormed into the lead as the lights on the gantry turned green. The German headed the 27-strong field going into the pit window but he wasn’t the leader when the checkered flag fell. An engine problem sidelined the Ginetta allowing Alain Berg to cruise home to an unexpected but thoroughly deserved maiden victory. Berg and Cascatău celebrated on the podium and they got to do it all over again the next day.
On Sunday, rain and a flooded TT Circuit Assen posed the challenge for race two. Cascatău kept everyone at bay almost throughout the entirety of his stint. The lead changed minutes before the Romanian elected to dive into the pits. With no radio communication, the arrival of the No. 614 Ginetta M20 FC on pitlane surprised BS Racing’s mechanics but, nonetheless, Alain Berg rejoined the track still in the lead of the CN class. Moreover, as the track was drying, the Luxembourg native started pushing and applying pressure on the leading Aschoff Ginetta until the German driver cracked and spun into the gravel.
A well executed restart at the end of the safety car period needed to get the Ginetta out of the kitty litter was all the final piece of the puzzle in a perfect weekend bookended by another outright victory. Berg clocked the fastest lap of the race as well, ending the weekend on a high note. With two dominant runs in the CN category, the pair of Cascatău and Berg will return to TT Circuit Assen on September 25-27 for round 2 of the Supercar Challenge with the clear aim of increasing their already comfortable championship lead.
”I couldn’t have dreamed of a better debut than the one I’ve had last weekend with BS Racing by Baticonsult. I immediately felt very confident in the Norma on Friday. I must admit I had no idea where we’d end up, and missing FP1 was not ideal for me. I was able to find a good rhythm in FP2 and I was straight intro the 1 minute 35’s which was very encouraging, considering we weren’t pushing flat out. I certainly didn’t expect pole-position by a considerable margin though, having never driven the Norma on a wet track before. It was a shame Sam had the accident in Belcar and we couldn’t have a fight in the first race on Saturday, but gladly he was ok. In Race 1 it was a simple matter of managing the gap to the other Norma and we got lucky with an overall win on top of being first in class. In the second race I was a bit annoyed as I think in the wet the pace was on-par with the Ginetta, but I just caught some traffic in a bad spot and lost the position on the straight. I want to thank Alain and the entire team for a fantastic job this weekend, he drove brilliantly and the car was set up very well. Also thank you to Baticonsult and Motul for making this season possible.”
2020 Supercar Challenge Race calendar:
4-6 September | TT Circuit Assen - DTM
25-27 September | TT Circuit Assen - Gamma Racing Day
9-11 October | Circuit Zandvoort - Voorjaars Races
31 October - 1 November | TT Circuit Assen - Hankook Finale races
Full results here