Ratings victory for "Die große TV total Stock Car Crash Challenge"/Raab and Lauda trash the competition
Burning vehicles, spectacular rollovers and top music acts – on Saturday evening, "Die große TV total Stock Car Crash Challenge" was a smash hit with lots of highlights. On his way to becoming the crash champion, Stefan Raab rammed aside everything that got in his way. Top viewer ratings for ProSieben: with a market share of 24.6 percent in the advertising-relevant target group, the junkyard king Raab didn’t give Günther Jauch and Oliver Geissen a chance. Even clearer the success among young viewers: the event was watched by a staggering 39 percent within the 14- to 29-year-old target group.
In front of over 50,000 ecstatic spectators in the stands of the "Arena AufSchalke", the multi-talented Stefan Raab presented "Die große TV total Stock Car Crash Challenge" on Saturday evening. Anything and everything strictly forbidden by traffic legislation was allowed: speeding, cutting up, shoving, ramming... In three engine categories (3,000, 1,900 and 1,500 cm3) and ten teams, 30 celebrities battled it out against each other – hood to hood, heck to heck, bumper to bumper.
Even before the starting pistol, the stockcar race had already claimed its first victim. Formula 1 driver Christian Klien had to cancel at short notice, to be replaced by Formula 2 star Mathias Lauda, sun of racing legend Nicki Lauda. The reason: Formula 1 boss, Bernie Ecclestone, had threatened to revoke Klien’s license. In addition to Lauda and initiator, Raab, the field included Hollywood star Ralf Möller, "Miss Rio de Janeiro" Jana Ina, "Abenteuer-Auto" host Jan Stecker, actress Janine Reinhardt, Fanta 4 rapper Smudo, car fanatic Detlef “D!” Soost, tuning beauty Christina Surer, Raab’s eternal rival Joey Kelly as well as comedy stars Elton and Oliver Pocher. Following the defeat against Brazil, the regional soccer greats were out to restore the honor of German soccer, at least on the racing track: while the "Dortmund Borussen Team" (Steffen Freund, Norbert Dickel, Manni Burgsmüller) had a really tough time with the Gelsenkirchen audience from the very outset, the three "Schalke" representatives, Andreas Müller, Christofer Heimeroth and Uwe Scherr, clearly played the home advantage card. The superlative TV event was hosted by sports expert Oliver Welke, with Sonya Kraus reporting directly from the track.
There was deafening cheering and a goose-pimple feeling in the almost sold-out "Arena AufSchalke" even when Stefan Raab entered the stadium in the shovel of a heavy-duty, chrome-plated bulldozer. "This is what I drive to work in everyday", announced the entertainer. Then they got down to business: in the two heats per category, it was all about winning the "Stockcar Champion" title. While drivers received time points for the number of their successful laps in the "Stockcar Race", the second discipline, the "Pileup", was all about the most daring crashes.
First, it was the turn of the drivers in the "kindergarten category" (Raab) – cars with engines up to1.5 liters: "There are 50,000 people here who all want to sabotage my car. They are welcome to do so, if they can catch me!", was the battle cry of the former Borussen player, Manni Burgsmüller. And even in the first of the 20 laps, things got very hairy: in the midst of battle, comedian Axel Stein lost his front left wheel. The diagnosis of the mechanics: broken wheel suspension. There were also heated duels between former VIVA host, Mola Adebisi, and "Werner" creator, Brösel, who claimed he "was driving after drinking twice the legal limit of alcohol – after all, there were no police checks. In the end, Adebisi pipped him at the post in the time race and secured first place. Second was "Adler" Martin Schmitt, who had caught up from last position in a daring chase only minutes from the end.
In the "High School Category" race with cars of up to 1,900 cm3, actor Ralf "Ralle" Richter certainly confirmed his reputation as an outlaw driver: after only thirty seconds, he crashed into rapper Smudo with such force that he was left by the side of the musician’s car that it left on its side, and needed six men to get it back into position. But power freak Simon Gosejohann was solely responsible for dropping out of the race. After the comedian had led for most of the race, he managed to spectacularly overturn the car following a fast drift off the track. The result for the time race: first place for Norbert Dickel.
"Gentlemen, start your engines", heralded the start for the heavies in the "Royal Class" (3,000 cm3). With a dream start and targeted bumping into actor Claude Oliver Rudolph, Raab who had started from second position, took the lead. "Rudolph was leading the field the whole time like a snail. Seeing guys driving like that makes me aggressive", reasoned scrap God Raab, commenting on his offensive driving. The reward: first place for the entertainer, closely followed by "taff" host, Stefan Gödde, and Oliver Pocher. Raab’s show intern, in particular, was clearly relieved that his boss had managed to secure himself victory in the time race: "Now I can look forward to hot meals for a week," claimed the audience favorite, smiling from ear to ear.
"Crashing is not just an option – it’s a must" was the motto of the second part of the event: the infamous "Pileup". The rules: the more spectacular the crash, the higher the number of points awarded. Once again, it was the drivers of the "small" 1,500-cm3 vehicles that went first. Here, it was – above all – the delicate Alida Kurras who displayed her more temperamental side. After the ProSieben host ("Das Geständnis") was pushed over the barrier by Brösel after only a few seconds, she had her bitter revenge. At full speed, she rammed into the side of the comic artist’s car only two minutes later. The result: a spectacular triple rollover, which was given the highest score by the event jury. Janin Reinhardt was also flattened. The former "Schalke 04" soccer player, Uwe Scherr, gave very little consideration to the "weaker sex" and viciously "bumped" the blonde actress out of the way without so much as batting an eyelid. After ten minutes, Kabel1 host, Jan Stecker, was stockcar champion in the 1,500-cm3 category.
For the 1.9-liter category race, Simon Gosejohann had opted for a particularly clever tactic: at the start of the race, he stood still and was able to "attack" all the other drivers from behind without any risk whatsoever. It’s just a shame that Matthias Opdenhövel was not going to take this sitting down and promptly, and deftly, "shoved" the comedian off the track. "Race over" was also the result for dance guru Detlef "D!" Soost, whose clutch gave up its ghost prematurely due to overzealous driving. With his – from his numerous Wok World Championships –proven tactic of "silently creeping towards the front of the field" (Sonya Kraus), teenage heartthrob Ben finally succeeded in winning the race, closely followed by Matthias Opdenhövel and BVB legend, Norbert Dickel.
The race in the 3,000-cm3 class turned out to be a merciless showdown: Raab versus Pocher. The two entered into a heated duel for the coveted position on the inside of the track. Following some bumping of the harsher kind, Pocher’s black BMW suddenly burst into flames! The audience held its breath while the emergency services rushed to the scene. Following a moment of horror, the TV host ("rent a Pocher") climbed out of his burning vehicle without as much as a scratch. "Now I know what driving in hell is like", stated the comedian, clearly shocked by the narrow escape. With his departure from the race, he left the field to Stefan Raab, who did not hesitate to claim his rightful title as Stockcar Champion in the "Royal Class".
The team event in the evening also caused a further crash highlight: in the "Rodeo", all the drivable stockcars lined up for the ultimate scrap spectacle. The one simple rule: the car still driving wins! In a tough battle bordering on the limitations of physics, Mathias Lauda clearly demonstrated whose son he is. He remained in the race longer than Stefan Raab and secured the title for his team.
And it was not only the engines, chasses and bodies that this unique crash spectacle took it toll on – many of the celebrity drivers needed a serious overhaul at the end. To this end, "Miss Rio de Janeiro", Jana Ina, ended up in hospital after a crash. Diagnosis: whiplash. And Stefan Gödde is also unlikely to get behind the wheel of a car for a while: the "taff" host sprained his wrist during the ultimate sporting event. Only one thing managed to complete the pileup orgy without damage: the grass at the "Schalke" stadium. It had been removed from the stadium four days before the "TV total Stock Car Crash Challenge", to be replaced with 3,200 tons of clay, hardcore and gravel.