Sven Müller claimed his second consecutive victory in the 2016 Porsche Mobil1 Supercup, as for the second week in a row he climbed from a second row grid position to take success.
Unlike a week ago in Austria, Lechner Racing driver Müller did not make up the ground from the start of the race. That was mainly due to the fact there wasn’t a start as such. Rain hit the Silverstone circuit as the field of thirty Type 991 GT3 Cup cars circulated on their warm up lap. Cue a delayed start as the field frantically switched to wet Michelin rubber and were then led around by the safety-car.
Starting second on the grid, Matteo Cairoli (FACH Auto Tech) tried to resist Müller, but the former looked far less comfortable than the latter in the weather conditions and was usurped. Müller then went after Martinet by Almeras pole-sitter Mathieu Jaminet and although the Frenchman tried, he was powerless to defend from the charging German, who then romped away to victory.
Jaminet held a comfortable second till the flag, besting Cairoli who in the dying laps came under siege by the British guest drivers, who played a starring role in Act 4 of Supercup 2016. Tom Sharp (Team Parker/IDL Racing) stole the show as soon as the safety-car left the circuit, overtaking Carrera Cup GB rival Dan Cammish (Redline Racing) around the outside at the Abbey Curve in a daring move that paid off as he charged forwards.
Ultimately Sharp’s early efforts didn’t quite receive the reward they deserved, at one stage his pace looking set to carry him onto the podium. However, he faded towards the end of the race and found himself under attack from Josh Webster and Nick Yelloly, the Team Project 1 duo acting as a team and sticking together for the race’s duration.
Both were originally passed by Sharp but as he faded, the yellow and white cars were surging forward and re-passed the former Ginetta racer. Onto the final lap it really looked like Webster would be able to steal third from Cairoli, but alas the Italian held on to a podium that looked far from certain. Webster fourth, Yelloly fifth and Sharp falling back to a still commendable seventh.
Cammish, having lost out at the first corner, was then unable to find a rhythm and struggled home to ninth. Whilst a top ten in such a competitive field is something to celebrate, for the second year in a row the Carrera Cup GB champion was unable to gain the outright results he was aiming for.
His Redline teammate Charlie Eastwood had great cause for a smile. After being disappointed with a sixteenth position qualifying effort, only a second off pole-position, the 2016/2017 Scholar proceeded with stealth and by the end of the twelve laps found himself tenth and closing on his far more experienced teammate. You could make a solid case for Eastwood being the star Brit with such a performance but then the same applies to the third Redline car of Tom Oliphant, who climbed from twentieth to twelfth. Although Oliphant has more GT experience than Eastwood, they are both in their first year of Porsche racing. Both achievements should be throughly commended.
Ben Barker and Dino Zamparelli both struggled in the MOMO-Megatron Team PARTRAX entries (with GT Marques assistance in the case of the latter). Fourteenth and fifteenth position respectively, they made it a fantastic eight British drivers in the top fifteen, over fifty percent of the top order. As a regular perhaps more should have been expected of Barker but MOMO are relatively inexperienced in terms of Porsche racing and occasionally this can show, especially in a race where set-up was so crucial.
The final four of the British contingent therefore found themselves lower down than would be hoped. Lewis Plato in the fourth Redline car was seventeenth and while he didn’t make the progress of his teammates, again a lack of Porsche experience makes this a far more respectable result than at face value. Ryan Cullen (Lechner) in twentieth just didn’t get going like he did last week at the Red Bull Ring but a return to that form is hopefully not too far away.
Paul Rees in another MOMO entry was twenty-second as a difficult season continues. The form is in there (see Rockingham 2014 in Carrera Cup GB) Rees just needs to recapture it. In his first full-season of Supercup, his ability to stay out of trouble will prove crucial to making said progress, so positives can be taken away from Northamptonshire. Mark Radcliffe survived in the Team Parker car, and avoided slithering off the road in the difficult conditions. The last classified finisher, the experience will be savoured for a while to come for the Pro-Am2 driver.
So another year done, another race won and more stars revealed. The Porsche Mobil1 Supercup now heads for Hungary in a fortnight’s time but the British GP support slot always feels like a standalone encounter, with unique entries, stories and plot-lines. 2016 was possibly the most special yet and several drivers made their mark in superb fashion. Particularly plaudits are directed at the Team Project 1 duo of Webster and Yelloly for starring so high-up and to Eastwood and Oliphant for charging drives in treacherous conditions. Sven Müller, Mathieu Jaminet and Matteo Cairoli are now looking set to play out an enthralling three way title fight. If the Supercup caught your attention this weekend, make sure you follow the series throughout 2016. With Müller resurgent, Jaminet super-consistent and Cairoli on a charge… It is not to be missed.