Sven Müller emerged victorious from a messy Porsche Mobil1 Supercup encounter at the Red Bull Ring to claim his first victory of the 2016 season, as pole-sitter Matteo Cairoli was deposed from the rostrum for the first time this year.
Cairoli’s chances faded as soon as the five red lights that denote the start procedure evaporated, and his Type 991 GT3 Cup seemed to bog down off the start. From row-two of the grid Müller made ground rapidly on the run to the first corner and swept around the outside to claim the lead from Mathieu Jaminet in the Martinet by Almeras car. Jeffrey Schmidt was also able to best Cairoli off the start to claim third, making it a Lechner Racing one-three.
The podium finishers, indeed the top four order, remained stubbornly the same throughout the morning’s proceedings. Nobody seemed particularly keen to attempt a move in slippery conditions and the top four come flag-fall was indeed; Müller, Jaminet, Schmidt and Cairoli. The last-named’s day then went from slightly difficult to really rather terrible when he was excluded for his FACH Auto Tech car being underweight. A potentially pivotal moment in the championship with Müller scoring full-points.
The lack of top-order alteration was despite the fact that the safety-car seemed to be an ever present spectre throughout the sixteen laps. Various incidents required the deployment of said vehicle, including contact between Glauco Solieri and Santiago Creel, which forced the former off the road and into a gravel bound retirement.
Of the British drivers in the race, Ben Barker’s abysmal luck in the Styrian alps continued as he was tapped into a full 360 degree spin by Christian Engelhart. Barker’s MOMO-Megatron Team PARTRAX teammate Paul Rees also found himself in drama and he received a drive-through penalty for disposing of Robert Lukas in rather robust fashion. However, better news was to be found in Ryan Cullen’s Lechner car, a tremendous sixth position post-Cairoli’s exclusion.
Onwards we go to Silverstone with a championship dynamic in flux. Müller now seems to have the momentum but Cairoli was arguably the fastest driver in Austria, with Müller yet to outperform him in qualifying. We head to Silverstone with the fascination that is the addition of several of the finest competitors from the Porsche Carrera Cup GB. A full preview will be available on The Checkered Flag later on this week, as we look at the leading contenders from the Brit-pack who will fight for success on home ground.