Earl Bamber and Philipp Eng continued their terrific tussle from round one of the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland last weekend, into the first meeting of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona. Eng scored the first blow in qualifying on Saturday by the narrow margin of eighteen-thousandths of a second over his Fach Auto Tech rival.
However, it would be Bamber who reached the chequered flag first on Sunday. Realistically though, the race was won as the lights went out, with Eng slithering away with difficulty from the shaded and damp pole position slot and Bamber nailing the start from the drier side of the grid after overnight rain. From then on, the New Zealander drove into the distance, Team Project 1 driver Eng unable to close the distance between them. “This is totally unbelievable. How fantastic is it to kick off my first season in the series with a win. I am quite happy if it continues like this,” said the victor.
Good news story of the weekend was that of the man in third position; Ben Barker dominated round one of the Porsche Carrera Cup of Great Britain in late March and managed to score his first ever Supercup podium this weekend. “During 2013 I did not manage once to finish in the top three-and now I do it at my first race of the season. That was a fantastic moment,” commented a delighted British driver who had stormed from seventh on the twenty six car grid to take the podium position. He was followed home pre-season championship favourite Christian Engelhart (Konrad Motorsport).
Alex Riberas, Porsche junior and McGregor powered by Attempto Racing driver, would finish a fantastic fifth, having progressed from a lowly eleventh on the grid. The Spaniard was delighted, exclaiming “I am over the moon with my result.” He was followed home by another Porsche junior; Klaus Bachler gave a somewhat scathing assessment of his own race saying “Basically I was off the pace.”
Sven Müller and Connor de Phillippi finished eleventh and twelfth respectively; impressive series debuts for the final pair of Porsche juniors in classification. For the latter though, simply making the finish was a result as he explained, “In the first corner I was nudged from behind and it damaged my car. After that it was a huge effort to get the car to the finish line.”
From Barcelona, the Supercup moves to the historic Monte Carlo street circuit. In the principality the Porsche paddock will be housed in a circus tent but on track the action is sure to be anything but a joke. Already though, 2014 has the feeling of a two horse race between the hungry young guns Bamber and Eng. Who will score the next blow in Monaco? We only have to wait little over a week to find out.