Reflecting on the Slovakia Ring: Clio Cup winner decided by photo finish

Reflecting on the Slovakia Ring: Clio Cup winner decided by photo finish

The third Clio Cup event at the Slovakia Ring showcased just how evenly matched the competitors were. Although Nik Štefančič won both races, his victories were far from dominant, with the second sprint being decided by 0.007 seconds.

Before the weekend got fully underway at Slovakia Ring, one of the favorites, Tomáš Pekař, had to withdraw due to an accident on kick scooter in the paddock where he broke his collarbone. This early exit meant that the season’s third event ended prematurely for him. Given that his teammate, David Dziwok, had won the previous two races at the Red Bull Ring, the Polish driver was considered a top contender. However, the fast yet technical Slovakia Ring proved to be a track where no one could easily outshine the others. On the contrary, anyone could have taken the victory.

The order regularly shifted in both races, with drivers overtaking each other in nearly every corner. Key players in Saturday’s and Sunday’s sprints included Nik Štefančič, David Dziwok from Carpek Racing, Julian Smiechowski from Orlen Janík Motorsport, Nikodém Szobcyk, Bartek Mirecki from BM Racing, and Filip Kuncer from Podgorica Racing Team. Betting on a winner would have been unwise as any of them could have come out on top.

For each of them, maintaining pace and staying at the front in the final laps was crucial. In the first race, it came down to Štefančič and Smiechowski. Both managed to pull away from the pack, leaving the question of who would win. Štefančič made a successful move in the last lap, overtaking the red and white Clio ahead of him, crossing the finish line first. Smiechowski followed just 0.196 seconds behind, with Bartek Mirecki reaching the checkered flag nearly fifteen seconds later.

If spectators thought Saturday’s close finish was impressive, Sunday’s result required verification from the timekeepers. Once again, Štefančič played the main role. This time, his main rival was Dziwok, who was leading until the final sweeping corner. There, Štefančič made his move under braking, and the two cars, side by side, navigated the long curve towards the finish. Both Clios crossed the line door-to-door. The thrilling finish had the audience on their feet, but it was unclear who had won until the timing system confirmed – Štefančič had claimed victory by just 0.007 seconds ahead of Dziwok! Nikodém Szobcyk finished only half a second behind, securing his first podium of the season.

Clio Cup – Qualifying
Clio Cup – Race 1
Clio Cup – Race 2

Current Standings