Over the course of four dramatic races, held just a week apart, the battle for the 2014 Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland has been turned on its’ head more than a few times. Above the various antics of the most spectacular one make series grid anywhere in the Motor Sport world, two drivers have stood out. Michael Ammermüller dominated a Lausitzring round thrown into chaos due to the weather before Nicki Thiim did likewise as the series made an eagerly anticipated return to the Sachsenring. Here is the story of possibly the two most critical events of the season so far.
Michael’s Magical Double
The weather was not going to play ball. No way. As seems to have been the case fairly often this year, the climatic conditions were not to be kind to the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland at the Lausitzring. Thick fog delayed qualifying until mid-afternoon and even then the rain led to what can only be described as the automotive rendition of “Strictly Come Dancing”.
The Saturday race itself would commence at just after Six O’clock in the evening. Lighting was inadequate to say the least. Walter Lechner Racing Team man Ammermüller had an absolutely critical pole position and he used it to great effect, pulling away from his teammate and rival Thiim at the start. Following a two lap safety car cameo to clear away Robert Lukas’ Förch Racing by Lukas Motorsport machine after a first corner collision, Ammermüller was away like a scolded cat. He wouldn’t be seen again until flag fall.
Behind much of the drama was kept within the confines of the Stewards’ Room, as Thiim was provided with a penalty for a jump start. This allowed Philipp Eng (Team Deutsche Post by Project 1) into second position and his teammate Sven Müller into third. Christian Engelhart (Konrad Motorsport) would successfully usurp Müller from his podium perch following a mistake by the latter.
Onto race fourteen of the year and once again grey skies overshadowed Sunday’s proceedings. A drenched track that appeared to the eye at least to be slowly drying, forced all thirty five entrants onto slick tyres. This made the start of the race particularly entertaining for spectators and particularly nerve racking for drivers. Clemens Schmid (Lechner Racing Academy ME) literally saw his pole position slip away as the lights flashed out.
Ammermüller needed no second invitation and stormed away impressively into the lead and yet another race victory, pursued all the way though he was by the fired up Schmid.
Following a disastrous start, Eng was forced to fight back from sixth at turn one to third at flag fall. The colour of the flag that fell wasn’t of the chequered variety traditionally used to denote the end of proceedings. Instead the colour that fluttered was red. Robert Renauer (Team GT3 Kasko) beached his Type 991 GT3 Cup in the gravel, the safety car circulated and following the restart the rain returned with vengeance. The organisers had no choice but to curtail proceedings and end what had to all intents and purposes been a frustratingly disjointed weekend for all concerned. All except Ammermüller, who left with two wins and the championship lead.
Thiim’s Tremendous Two
For the reigning Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup champion, 2014 has been a more subdued affair in the German car manufacture’s one make series. However, Nicki Thiim more than stamped his authority on a Sachsenring weekend that would prove equally as critical for his teammate Michael Ammermüller.
It was the latter who started on pole position and led the early stages of the Saturday race in Saxony, looking to increase his series lead ever more. Thiim though, had other ideas and after waiting patiently grabbed the lead after eight laps of stalking his prey. Former championship leader Christian Engelhart claimed another podium after an almost mirror image teammate battle, besting Christopher Zöchling after a race long dice. All of this drama took place once again in wet conditions.
So onto Sunday and the conclusion of our story so far. Thiim this time started from the front of the grid and would not look back during a simply imperious drive. Nor would he have cause to. Ammermüller sat in a safe second, simply content to take home more points to add to his championship balance.
Team Deutsche Post by Project 1 youngster Sven Müller replaced Engelhart on the third podium step. Behind him lay Philipp Eng and then Konrad Motorsport man Engelhart, who ceded more critical points to Ammermüller in the title race. A race uninterrupted by incident was a relief and a weekend that didn’t featured a safety car felt more like a miracle.
The Title Fight
So, one single month is all that remains between the Carrera Cup Deutschland and resolution. The finale of a tumultuous season will be held at one of the most iconic venues in Germany, Hockenheim.
After two astonishingly consistent weekends, it is Ammermüller who sits at the top of the table, twenty points ahead of Engelhart. In third sits Philipp Eng, the dark horse if one will, thirty eight points behind the championship leader. Whilst others may have a mathematical chance, truthfully told it is between those three men. Ammermüller has the momentum and the edge but both can be lost so easily in this sport. Engelhart and Eng would both make worthy champions for varying reasons. Head to Hockenheim, if you want an absolute thriller of a finale.