Philipp Eng and Earl Bamber shared the victories over the opening weekend of the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland, after two exciting encounters.
Team Deutsche Post by Project 1 driver Bamber was utterly dominant in race one, leading from lights to flag and taking victory with a margin of 3.1 seconds over 2013 Porsche Supercup champion Nicki Thiim.
“I am absolutely thrilled to have won here,” said the Austrian, adding “Everything ran perfectly in the new car”. He also made a little bit of history; by being the first of the 37-strong field to cross the line he scooped the accolade of being the first driver to win in the Carrera Cup Deutschland in the new Type 991 iteration of the 911 GT3 Cup Car.
2013 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia champion and International Cup Scholarship winner Bamber would occupy the final position on the podium and in the dying laps had attempted to get past Thiim. “That was a fantastic race. If I had had one more lap I could have taken Nicki (Thiim),” commented the New Zealander.
Christopher Zöchling for Konrad Motorsport and Connor de Phillippi of Förch Racing by Lukas Motorsport would round out the top five for race one and the latter would start on pole for the second race.
Despite de Phillippi saying before the second encounter “I like this circuit and I am determined to see the flag in first place for race two,” he could only manage second. He was bettered by Bamber after an action packed race.
It all kicked off from lights out, with de Phillippi being overtaken on the opening lap by a charging Thiim and Porsche racing stalwart Christian Engelhart. Unfortunately, on the fourth tour of the Hockenheim circuit, the two leaders collided. The stewards took a dim view of the incident and awarded Engelhart a drive through penalty as Thiim fought back from the bottom of the order.
This presented de Phillippi with a shot at race victory again, however he would not maintain the lead to the flag; Bamber stole it away on the fourteenth tour and charged home to win. “This is a really great victory and it means a lot to me,” added the victor.
De Phillippi scored a deserved second and race one winner Eng would take third position; whilst Robert Lukas and Sven Müller rounded out the top five.
Bamber and Eng are tied at the top of the points table after the first meeting of the year, with de Phillippi, Zöchling and Müller completing the top portion of the championship classification.
From Hockenheim, the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland now heads to Oschersleben from the 16th to the 18th of May. With a spectacular 37 car grid of brand new Porsche Type 991 911 GT3 Cup cars taking to the tarmac, combined with a fantastically close championship fight, it is impossible at this early stage to predict the destination of this year’s title.