The Walter Lechner Racing Team and Nicki Thiim were victorious in race number five of the 2014 Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup on Sunday morning, in a race that once again produced drama and excitement from lights out to flag fall.
The record books will show that Thiim started the race from pole and crossed the line in the same leading position. As often stated though, pure statistics never truly reflect the nature of a race and once again that is the case. Thiim was bested off the starting grid by fellow series returnee Kévin Estre (McGregor powered by Attempto Racing).
It took but a lap for the 2013 Supercup champion to snatch the lead back from his rival, who also succumbed to pressure from International Cup Scholarship driver Earl Bamber (Fach Auto Tech). The top trio would gap the rest of the field and continued to jostle for position in tremendous fashion until the conclusion of the encounter.
“Finally I am back on the top step of the podium,” exclaimed a delighted victor, who added “I am going to enjoy my win today.” Equally as ecstatic was New Zealander Bamber, who noted “The fight between us three front runners was incredible.”
Behind the leading order, Konrad Motorsport’s Porsche Junior Klaus Bachler climbed from sixth to fourth. He was followed over the line by Thiim’s teammate Michael Ammermüller and championship leader Kuba Giermaziak (VERVA Lechner Racing Team).
Then there are the tales of the other Porsche Junior drivers. American Connor de Phillippi (FӦRCH Racing by Lukas Motorsport) finished eight and German Sven Müller crossed the line directly behind him in ninth for Team Project 1. Spaniard Alex Riberas (McGregor powered by Attempto Racing) finished outside the top ten after a difficult qualifying was proceeded by an equally as difficult a race day. Ben Barker qualified well but seemed to struggle in the race and he was another star name to fall outside the top rankings.
On the subject of stars, Patrick Dempsey piloted the guest car to a respectable twenty third position after a fraught race. “I hope I get another chance to contest the Supercup,” was a comment that will please many fans who would like to see Dempsey return to the series before the year is out.
This weekend marks the beginning of the final countdown, as the second half of the 2014 Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup season will commence at the Hungaroring. Giermaziak maintains a five point lead over Bamber and took his first ever victory in the Supercup in Hungary during 2011, so may well extend that lead this weekend. Ammermüller’s consistency has seen him vault up to third in the table, a further nineteen points back. So one could argue the fight for the title is already boiling down to a battle between the Pole and the New Zealander. Following Hungary, the Supercup runners will enjoy a summer break before reconvening at Spa in August. This is followed by a round at Monza during the early part of September. In a last minute calendar change, the double header at Sochi has been replaced by a double round in Austin Texas, the season finale in November.
Five races down and five still to go. For the title race… Game On!