Matt Campbell (FACH AUTO TECH) returned to the top of the Porsche Mobil1 Supercup order after an eventful Monza weekend. The reigning Porsche Carrera Cup Australia champion headed free practice, from which the grid would be determined retrospectively after qualifying was abandoned.
In direct contrast to the abysmal weather which predicated against Saturday’s scheduled qualifying session, sunshine greeted the drivers on Sunday morning. Campbell would control the pace from the front of the order, but the man trailing him was one of the star turns of the weekend.
Zaid Ashkanani (MRS-GT Racing) started the race from the outside of the front row, a legacy of his practice pace, and delivered easily his most consummate performance in the championship to hold second throughout the fourteen lap duration of the race.
Another standout performance came from Mattia Drudi, who had claimed his maiden category podium during the first race of the previous event at Spa-Francorchamps. The Dinamic Motorsport driver was sixth on the grid and faced strenuous resistance from former race winner Jaap Van Lagen (MOMO-Megatron Team Partrax) guesting, championship leader Michael Ammermüller (Lechner Racing) and three time race winner Dennis Olsen (Lechner).
As the lights went out Olsen and Ammermüller ran wheel to wheel into the first chicane, with Spa-Francorchamps double winner Olsen holding on around the outside to steal third position.
However, it wasn’t until the intervention of Robert Lukas (Lukas Motorsport) in the frenetic dice for third that the drama truly began. On the seventh lap, into the Ascari Chicane, Lukas nosed down the inside of Ammermüller and gently guided the championship leader off the road and into the gravel trap.
Seemingly in sympathy to the plight of his championship rival, Olsen then made an error into the first corner and was usurped by Van Lagen. Drudi maximised a small opening into the Parabolica on the same lap to also displace Olsen.
The charging Drudi then caught and passed Van Lagen to complete arguably his most impressive Supercup performance ever. Olsen would survive for fifth, with Ammermüller tenth following a second excursion into the gravel trap. Lukas was seventh after his travails.
Ryan Cullen took the accolade of top British performer, and a top six was just reward after a cool and collected race by the Lechner Racing driver. Dan Cammish (Lechner) and Josh Webster (FACH) emerged from a frenetic race ninth and eleventh respectively, sandwiching Ammermüller.
The German has held the championship lead ever since the first race at the Circuit de la Catalunya but with only two races left in Mexico City in November his advantage is a negligible three points. Olsen’s inexperience will be countered by the new venue, making track time a precious commodity. Practice and qualifying at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriquez will prove pivotal to the destiny of the 2017 crown. Two men, two races. One title. Ammermüller vs Olsen – To Mexico.