Earl Bamber (Team 75 Bernhard) emerged from a storm of chaos to claim a deserved victory in the tenth encounter of the 2014 Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland at the Red Bull Ring in Austria; following a race that featured controversy, collisions and some tremendous racing.
It was Attempto Racing powered by Hӓring man Alex Riberas who led the field away from pole position and the quick but thus far luckless Porsche Junior was able to successfully hold his position at the front during the early stages of the race.
The aforementioned early stages were somewhat interrupted by a two lap safety car intervention, as several drivers at the rear of the spectacularly large field conspired to collide. New Zealander Bamber had tried to pounce during the opening lap but to little avail.
As the safety car pulled into the pitlane, Riberas pulled clear of the jostling pack. From around the time of the seventh tour though, it became clear that Bamber was beginning to irrevocably cut the gap between himself and the Spaniard. The International Cup Scholarship driver continued to pressurise and eventually, it paid off. On the twelfth lap, Riberas out-braked himself, the tiniest of mistakes. It was enough; Bamber pounced, and then was able to driver away to victory and the championship lead.
Both of the top two were absolutely delighted with their results. Bamber was beaming, commenting “What a sensational race- possibly one of the best I have ever contested.” Riberas was rightfully proud too, adding “Second, out of thirty seven competitors, is a great achievement.”
The man who finished third on the road would not stand on the podium and is not, for the time being at least, listed in the results sheets. Team Deutsche Post by Project 1 driver Philipp Eng was contesting the Austrian meeting under appeal against a stewarding decision. This appeal is yet to be heard and thus all results from the Red Bull Ring remain frustratingly provisional. Walter Lechner Racing Team’s Michael Ammermüller is the man the history books presently record as having finished third, following a slightly subdued weekend by his own personal standards.
Neither Sven Müller or Nicki Thiim (QPOD Walter Lechner Racing) could match their Saturday podium form, the German Porsche Junior and Eng’s teammate finished the Sunday encounter in a disappointing ninth whilst 2013 Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup champion Thiim could only manage two places better in seventh. Sandwiched between the pair was the American Porsche Junior, Connor de Phillippi (FӦRCH Racing by Lukas Motorsport).
As is to be expected following such a convoluted weekend, the championship table has been turned upside down. Bamber presently sits on top and holds a seventeen point advantage over his nearest challenger, Konrad Motorsport’s Christian Engelhart. Yet Bamber is very unlikely to retain that advantage. The New Zealander is currently in residence in Malaysia and for the remainder of the season defending the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia crown he claimed in 2013 will be his priority. He therefore misses any clashing rounds of the Deutschland series.
Remove Bamber from the equation and you have a far tighter battle. Ammermüller sits but seven points behind Engelhart and American de Phillippi is only a further two back. What of Christopher Zöchling, the championship leader heading into Austria? Very little I am afraid to say. The Austrian would finish eighth in the first encounter, whilst an accident ruined his second race. Yet he is only two points behind de Phillippi with eight races remaining. The first of those final eight takes place at the Nürburgring in the middle of this month. The pressure is on those at the front and consistency will be key in the final races. Anything other will not suffice, not nearly, to win the 2014 Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland.