Kuba Giermaziak vaulted into the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup championship lead on Sunday for the VERVA Lechner Racing Team, victorious in a thrilling race at the Red Bull Ring amid the stunning backdrop of the Styrian Alps.
Team Project 1 entrant Philipp Eng started on pole position and made a perfect getaway as the lights on the starting gantry extinguished. However, it immediately became clear that this would not be a home victory, with a puddle of fluid lying ominously at Eng’s starting grid slot. Sure enough, as the liquid continued to gush from the radiator of his Type 991 GT3 Cup Car, the field began to close and Porsche Junior Sven Müller swept into the lead on the second tour. On lap three the Austrian Eng was forced into an abrupt retirement.
Yet Team Project 1 still retained the lead with Müller, who looked on course for a comfortable debut victory. This would not be the German’s day either, despite holding the lead for nearly ten laps following Eng’s retirement. Exiting the tricky turn eight on lap eleven his car swept into a 360 degree spin and despite the Junior racers’ majestic recovery, the loss in momentum allowed Jeffrey Schmidt (Lechner Racing Team) and Giermaziak past.
The 23-year-old Polish driver Giermaziak wasted little time following Schmidt and made a successful bid for the lead with five laps remaining. Following on from victory in Monaco, Kuba is now the new championship leader and was delighted with the result, exclaiming “To start from fifth and go to the head of the field is great; I am thrilled with this win.”
Schmidt followed home Giermaziak in second whilst Müller was more than fortunate to retain third position, which he acknowledged, saying “Obviously I am annoyed at myself about the spin but I was lucky to be able to continue at a good pace to the end.”
Fach Auto Tech and International Cup Scholarship pilot Earl Bamber now lies second in the points table following a sixth place finish in Austria. The remaining Porsche Junior’s endured mixed weekends. Alex Riberas (McGregor powered by Attempto Racing) started twelfth but climbed to seventh at flag fall. Konrad Motorsport run Klaus Bachler was not enjoying his home event following a Saturday qualifying session that netted him a poor fifteenth position on the grid. A great drive meant that he found himself crossing the finishing line on Sunday in ninth behind Briton Ben Barker (VERVA Lechner Racing Team).
FӦRCH Racing by Lukas Motorsport’s Connor de Phillippi would only net twelfth place and was dejected, saying “This is a weekend to forget. That was not what I had in mind.” Star guest Sébastien Ogier (Team Project 1) retired after a troubled seven laps of fraught competition.
From an Austrian encounter that will surely be recorded as an all-time Supercup great, to Great Britain and Silverstone in Northamptonshire. Whilst Giermaziak may presently hold the upper hand in the title race, the drama that befell both Philipp Eng and Sven Müller reflects just how quickly things can change in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup. Bear that fact in mind as we head for a circuit not renowned for producing “quiet” races. Get set for another absolute thriller.