The FIA European Autocross Championship concluded in Maggiora (ITA), where three out of the four titles were still to be decided. The 2019 Champions are Bernd Stubbe, Vincent Mercier, Bart Van der Putten and Matvey Furazhkin.
With nine events, the FIA European Autocross Championship had already revealed one of the 2019 winners before the closing event in Italy: king of the top category, SuperBuggy, the German Bernd Stubbe (Alfa-Volvo) made a clean sweep of all nine races in the season, which obviously resulted in him winning his tenth European title!
While the fate of SuperBuggy had been sealed, this was far from the case for the other three categories where the situation remained unclear until the very last battle at Maggiora: only one point separated the two contenders for the JuniorBuggy title, and there were only five points between the dual contenders in the Buggy1600 and TouringAutocross categories! And to add even more to the suspense, all the titles remained undecided until the Sunday afternoon finals.
The most anticipated power struggle ended quickly however: side by side on front of the grid in the Buggy1600 final, Petr Nikodem and Vincent Mercier did not have the chance to battle it out on the course. Falling victim to engine failure when the light turned green, Nikodem was left stranded on the start line, forced to take on a spectator role instead. For his part, Mercier embarked on the first turn in the lead and stay ahead for the next few turns, before his front left suspension ball joint broke. With an asymmetrical wheel, he still managed to hold off his opponents until the finish line. The ex-Rallycross driver therefore won his first European title, despite 2019 being his first complete season of the European Autocross Championship.
In JuniorBuggy, the Dutchman Bart Van der Putten won the final and thus the title, ahead of Jakub Novotny. Despite a difficult weekend in Italy, the Champion’s sister, Chantal Van der Putten, was able to retain third place on the final podium of the Championship.
Finally, in TouringAutocross, the young Russian Matvey Furazhkin (19 years old), had decided to skip the penultimate round of the Championship, which took place in France in mid-September, in order to participate in a round of the World Rallycross Championship on the same day in Latvia. Otakar Vyborny took advantage in France of the absence of the young driver of the category in order to reduce most of the gap that he had in the Championship, such that he could remain in the race for the title. In the lead during the final, Furazhkin came under a strong attack from Vyborny at the start of the second lap, and the young Russian damaged the front suspension of his Skoda Fabia when he came into contact with the safety barriers.
While Vyborny broke the finishing tape, he was deprived of the win and the title due to a decision taken by the stewards who ruled his manoeuvre unsportsmanlike.
Furazhkin therefore reclaimed the laurels awarded to the Champion at the end of a season that he had for the most part dominated. In fact, he could have been crowned earlier, had he not skipped the penultimate round.
To view the final classifications of the 2019 FIA European Autocross Championship, click here.
To view the photo gallery of the last round of the 2019 Championship, click here.