2015 Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup preview: Spa, Belgium
Spa. Just a mention of the name conjures up legendary images in the mind of any petrolhead. Along with the north loop of the Nürburgring, the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps is one of a few hugely respected ‘old school’ tracks.
This weekend, the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup rolls into town in support of the Belgian Grand Prix and, for the first time this year, it will be double the fun as the premier Porsche series adopts a double-header format.
To make up for the loss of the German round of this year’s Supercup (after the cancellation of the 2015 German Grand Prix), the remaining three events will all feature two Supercup races, adding an extra element to the title run-in.
Hurtling through the Ardennes forest, the 4.33-mile Spa circuit is the toughest track on the Supercup calendar, providing the ultimate test for 2015 class of Porsche 991 GT3 Cup racers.
Last season, Spa provided the springboard for Earl Bamber’s title charge, with the Kiwi racer coming out on top in a fierce dual with the then-defending champion, Nicki Thiim.
While both protagonists will be absent this year, Kuba Giermaziak will again be hunting for victory at Spa. The Pole last won here in 2011 and has suffered some dire luck in recent years (including a gearbox problem on the last lap while leading in 2013).
Unlike last year though, Giermaziak is not in the thick of the title battle in 2015 having underperformed by his standards in the opening races. Instead, the table is topped by Philipp Eng.
The Austrian has been much improved in the Supercup this year having won the Carrera Cup Deutschland last season. At Silverstone, Eng secured his maiden Supercup victory before finishing sixth last time out in Hungary.
His closest challengers, Christian Engelhart and Alex Riberas have both yet to win in 2015, though both the German and the Spaniard are enjoying a rich vein of form that will likely see them challenge for victory this weekend.
An outside bet for success though will be Frenchman, Côme Ledogar. In his first full season of Supercup, Ledogar has been gradually improving, finishing an impressive second last time at the Hungaroring.
That result allowed him to overtake Total 911 columnist, Ben Barker in the points table. The Briton has struggled in qualifying recently and will be looking to regain the form that saw him take a fine third place in Monaco.
After today’s practice session, qualifying takes place at 12:25pm CET on Saturday, with race one starting at 6:20pm later that day. Race two gets under way 11:45am on Sunday.
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