2015 Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup preview: Spielberg, Austria
There is still a long, long way to go in the 2015 Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup title race but, after the last round at Monaco, the championship standings are already nicely poised ahead of the third race of the season at Austria’s Red Bull Ring this weekend.
After winning round one in Barcelona, Michael Ammermüller still tops the table for Lechner Racing Middle East but Monaco proved a harder nut to crack last time out for the ace German racer as he struggled home fifth, allowing 2014 Carrera Cup Deutschland champion, Philipp Eng to draw level heading to Austria.
Eng finished second around the famous principality last month as Jaap van Lagen returned to the Supercup for the first time since Monza last year with a bang, taking his first victory in the Porsche 911 GT3 series since the 2008 race in Turkey.
Despite missing the opening round in Spain, this result has bumped the Dutch driver up to seventh in the standings, just one place behind former Porsche Junior, Alex Riberas, the Spaniard having a solid if unspectacular start to the season.
Third in the standings heading to the Red Bull Ring is Konrad Motorsport’s Christian Engelhart who has shown impressive speed this season, winning twice at the Carrera Cup Deutschland opener and finishing third and fourth respectively in the Supercup’s opening races.
The German racer hasn’t won a Supercup race since Hungary in 2012 but, with his form much improved this season, the series’ Austrian sojourn may well provide the location for his return to the top step.
After second in Barcelona, last year’s championship runner-up, Kuba Giermaziak endured a torrid race in Monte Carlo, dropping to fourth in the points but, it was a different story for the Pole’s former teammate, Ben Barker who took third in Monaco to leap into fifth overall.
The Total 911 columnist struggled to a top ten result in Monaco before getting back onto the Supercup podium around the famous street circuit, passing Engelhart on the first lap to take third.
Barker, who is dovetailing his Supercup campaign for MOMO Megatron with a season in the Carrera Cup Deutschland, is getting ever closer to the Supercup’s top step and showed good pace at Austria last year, only for an incident at the first corner to stymy his challenge for silverware.
Last season, the honours in Austria belonged to Giermaziak who saw off the challenge of Jeffrey Schmidt and Porsche Junior, Sven Müller after Eng retired from a seemingly comfortable lead.
With its long straights and tight hairpins, the Austrian track (now owned by the energy drink giant, Red Bull) can produce some close racing with plenty of overtaking opportunities. It therefore wouldn’t be a surprise to leave round three with a third different winner in as many races.
After one 45-minute practice session this afternoon, qualifying takes place at 12:25pm CET tomorrow. Sunday’s 16-lap race kicks off at 11:45am on Sunday morning.
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