Kevin Estre scored his first win in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup after getting past reigning champion and points leader Rene Rast at Monza.
Estre made a fast start to pull alongside front row starters Rast and polesitter and guest driver Alessandro Balzan on the run down to the first chicane. While Estre and Balzan tried to go through the corner side-by-side and ended up cutting across the inside of the chicane, Rast held back. This gave him a much better exit than the two in front of him and allowed him to take the lead.
Estre spent several laps trying to slipstream his way past the German but had to wait until four laps to go before making the move stick into the Parabolica. The Frenchman, racing in his first season in the Supercup, also wrapped up the BBS Rookie Classification.
“That was a tough race,” he said. “I tried to overtake Rene in the first laps but there just wasn't enough room. So I had to be patient until after the safety car phase. I finally got my chance that I'd waited so long for. This victory and winning the rookie classification already makes the season a triumph for the whole team. I want to thank them here and now for their fantastic support. Now I can't wait for the final in Abu Dhabi.”
Rast, whose second place strengthened his points lead, said: “The race ran perfectly for us. Second place earned us valuable points – I'm very pleased. After the safety car phase I couldn't hold the pace. Slipstreaming worked perfectly for KÃ©vin, he literally flew past me and I couldn't do a thing about it. Things are looking very good for the championship. We now just have to hold our course and bring home a decent result from Abu Dhabi, then it could be ours.”
Balzan completed the podium in third place. “I started from pole position and, to be honest, I had hoped for a better result than third,” he said. “After all, we're in Italy. Still, I'm happy enough. Don't forget this is only my third Supercup race and I didn't want to get in the way of those fighting for the championship. Early on I had some problems with the brake balance, but after a couple of laps I overcame them and was back up at pace. Now I'm hoping I can also race at the final at Abu Dhabi.”
The safety car came out for several laps to allow for repairs to a tyre barrier after title contender Sean Edwards crashed heavily between the two Lesmos. The Briton had been running fourth behind Estre and Balzan but contact with the car of Norbert Siedler behind him speared him off into the barriers.
Siedler finished fourth, ahead of Nick Tandy and Kuba Giermaziak. Giermaziak, who won the previous two rounds in Spa and Budapest, has moved up into second place in the standings behind Rast at Edward's expense, with Siedler third. The season concludes with a double-header at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Yas Marina on 12/13 November.
Race result – 14 laps:
1. Kevin Estre (F), Hermes Attempto Racing, 29:21.986 minutes
2. Rene Rast (D), VELTINS Lechner Racing, + 1.364 seconds
3. Alessandro Balzan (I), Ebimotors, + 1.811
4. Norbert Siedler (A), VELTINS Lechner Racing, + 2.466
5. Nick Tandy (GB), Konrad Motorsport, + 3.386
6. Kuba Giermaziak (PL), VERVA Racing Team, + 6.694
Drivers' standings after 9 of 11 races:
1. Rene Rast (D), 141 points
2. Kuba Giermaziak (PL), 124
3. Norbert Siedler (A), 122
4. Sean Edwards (GB), 116
5. Nick Tandy (GB), 109
6. Jeroen Bleekemolen (NL), 108