Yuki Tsunoda beats Max Verstappen in Offroad Race ahead of Austrian Grand Prix

Yuki Tsunoda went head-to-head with two-time Formula 1 World Champion Max Verstappen in ‘Mega Trucks’, the pair competing in their first ever offroad race at an iron mine 45-minutes from the Red Bull Ring.

Spielberg, Austria (June 27, 2023) – Japan’s Yuki Tsunoda has established himself as the driver to beat in a competition named the (Un)Serious Race Series, defeating Dutch World Champion Max Verstappen in an off-road race in the fully functioning Erzberg mine in Austria’s Styria region. 

The win backs up Yuki’s victory during May’s Miami Grand Prix week, where he downed Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo in a mini jet boat race. The series sees Scuderia AlphaTauri and Oracle Red Bull Racing go head-to-head in unique vehicles and locations. 

In a warm up for this week’s Austrian Grand Prix, the pair raced three-meter tall, five-meter long, 500 horsepower mega trucks capable of crushing cars with ease. The location was the gravity-defying Erzberg mine – known as the ‘Iron Giant’ – which is also the host of the annual Red Bull Erzbergrodeo.

Loosely mimicking the layout of the Red Bull Ring, the mega truck track featured three key sections: ‘The Car Yard’, ‘The Swimming Pool’ and ‘The Big Drift’. As he has done so often throughout the 2023 Formula 1 World Championship, Max was the driver to beat in qualifying. A searing final sector putting him on pole, three seconds ahead of Yuki. 

“I’ve never really done anything properly offroad. I have driven my dad’s rally car, but that was more on tarmac,” Max admitted. “Honestly, the approach of my qualifying lap was to survive! It was a lot of fun,” he beamed. 

In the race Yuki rocketed out of second position, taking lead into turn one and never looked back. Conversely, Max was dealt nothing but misfortune, his truck suffering a misfire and he could only trail Yuki home.

“Max had an amazing lap in quali, he was three seconds ahead. I thought ‘Ok, maybe I need to push more throttle’,” Yuki recalled of his race strategy.  

“I had a good start and used my momentum to the end. Unfortunately, he had a bit of misfiring…well actually I put a bit of water into his engine, but don’t tell anyone!” quipped Yuki. “That strategy worked, and I wanted to defend my first place from the first Unserious Race Series with Daniel.”

Max looked back on his Mega Truck experience positively, likening it to other adventures in Swamp Buggies, Reverse Racing and Caravan Racing, among others. 

“The great thing is that we always do these kinds of crazy things that no other team does. So, for me to have already been part of the team for such a long time, we’ve done so many different and weird and crazy things. This is another one on the list.”

With their first off-road racing experience complete, attention turns back to Formula 1 and the Red Bull Ring. 

“I have a lot of good memories about the race in Austria. We’ve won there quite a few times, which is important at our home track,” said Max. “What is lovely is that there are so many grandstands, and you can almost see the whole track. The whole atmosphere because of that is great.”

 “I have good memories from my first race in Austria scoring points,” Yuki said.  “I’ve had a good warm up here at Erzberg so I can hopefully score more points at this year’s Austrian Grand Prix.” 

The (Un)Serious Race Series will continue later this season. Yuki and Scuderia AlphaTauri are now back-to-back winners, with Oracle Red Bull Racing being in the unfamiliar position as the hunter, not the hunted. 

Watch Yuki and Max race head-to-head in Mega Trucks HERE.

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