Michael Ammermüller (Lechner Racing Middle East) from Germany has made a promising start into the new season of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup.
Scoring victory at Barcelona, the 29 year old triumphed over strong international opposition at the wheel of his 460 hp Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. “What a perfect weekend. Pole position and victory after a flawless race. It can continue like this,” said Ammermüller with a grin. Kuba Giermaziak (PL/VERVA Lechner Racing Team) and Christian Engelhart (D/MRS GT-Racing) crossed the finish line of the Circuit de Catalunya as second and third.
In sunny conditions, 28 drivers from 13 countries lined up on the grid in front of packed Formula 1 grandstands. Ammermüller, who lives in Bavaria, got away cleanly at the start and settled in at the front of the field. Côme Ledogar (Martinet by Alméras) from France, the reigning champion of the Porsche Carrera Cup France, slotted in behind him. With a cracking start off the line, Giermaziak catapulted from 9th on the grid to 3rd place. On the first lap, Porsche Junior Sven Müller (D/Lechner Racing Middle East) collided with fellow-Junior Connor de Phillippi (USA/VERVA Lechner Racing Team) which resulted in the deployment of the safety car. The 23 year old from Bingen in Germany was unable to continue: “That was a most unfortunate race for me. I managed to make up a lot of positions at the start, but then I braked on the dirty part of the track and slid into Connor. I’m incredibly sorry about that.”
After two laps, the safety car driver and former Supercup driver Bernd Mayländer pulled into the pits and the field went green again. Ammermüller grabbed his chance and eked out an advantage from lap to lap. Behind the Bavarian a battle for positions raged. On lap 6, Giermaziak squeezed past Ledogar and held on to second place to the flag. “That was tough racing. I came from 9th on the grid and finished second. It wasn’t easy, but I’m super happy,” said Giermaziak. In the tenth lap, Engelhart slipped into third place which he defended to the flag. “The race was full of action. Kuba and I were faster than Côme, but it was really hard to get past him,” said Engelhart. Philipp Eng (A/Market Leader Team) was flagged off in fourth ahead of Barcelona-local Alex Riberas (E/The Heart of Racing by Lechner). Ledogar saw the flag in 6th place.
For the Porsche Juniors Müller, de Phillippi and Matteo Cairoli (I/Market Leader Team), the weekend turned out somewhat bleak. After Müller’s retirement, de Phillippi was able to continue his race and finished on eleventh. “I was hit in the very first lap. After starting on third that was disappointing! Now I just have to look ahead to the Monaco street race and hope that I can earn a bunch of points there,” said the disgruntled de Phillippi.
After starting from the 10th on the grid, Cairoli worked his way up to 6th position. On lap 6, the cars of Cairoli and Jeffrey Schmidt (CH/The Heart of Racing by Lechner) touched and Cairoli fell back to 19th. He finally saw the flag in 14th place. “I had bad luck today. First I need to process what happened,” stated Cairoli.
The next Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup race is at the unique street circuit of Monaco. From the 21st to 24th of May, the Porsche paddock is set up in the circus tent at Monaco. With very few chances to overtake, the narrow 3.340 kilometre track through the streets of Monte Carlo is very unforgiving and poses a challenge to the drivers in their 460hp machines.
Round 1 Barcelona*
1. Michael Ammermüller (D/Lechner Racing Middle East)
2. Kuba Giermaziak (PL/VERVA Lechner Racing Team)
3. Christian Engelhart (D/MRS GT-Racing)
4. Philipp Eng (A/Market Leader Team)
5. Alex Riberas (E/The Heart of Racing by Lechner)
6. Côme Ledogar (F/Martinet by Alméras)
7. Robert Lukas (PL/FÖRCH Racing by Lukas Motorsport)
8. Jeffrey Schmidt (CH/The Heart of Racing by Lechner)
9. Ben Barker (GB/MOMO-Megatron Team PARTRAX)
10. Sam Power (AUS/MOMO-Megatron Team PARTRAX)