2015 Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup race report: Silverstone, Great Britain
Project 1’s Philipp Eng finally took his first Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup victory with a lights-to-flag win in the fourth round of the 2015 series at Silverstone Grand Prix circuit, strengthening his championship lead in the process.
The Austrian racer was outpaced by Alex Riberas in Friday’s free practice session but the tables were turned as Eng beat the Spaniard to pole position by just 0.033s in Saturday’s qualifying session.
Championship challenger, Michael Ammermüller would start third, just ahead FÖRCH Racing’s Robert Lukas while MOMO-Megatron driver (and Total 911 columnist) Ben Barker finished the session in fifth place, lining up on row three alongside Christian Engelhart.
When the five lights extinguished in Sunday’s 13-lap race, Eng was the fastest to react, launching away from the line superbly to head Riberas into turn one while Barker looked to have been swamped by Engelhart for fifth.
As the top three made their way through the The Loop hairpins, Barker held off Engelhart through Village before diving up the inside of Lukas into The Loop, taking fourth place and forcing the Polish racer wide on the exit.
Not only did this allow Engelhart to move into fifth, Lukas trip across the run-off saw the latter collect an advertising hoarding on the front of his Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, forcing him to pit and retire at the end of lap one.
At the head of the field, Eng opened up a one-second lead over the opening few laps as the top two stretched away from Lechner Racing’s Ammermüller, the German coming leading a four-car train comprised of Barker, Engelhart and Supercup scholar, Matteo Cairoli.
With the gap stable between the Eng and Riberas at half distance, the Spaniard started chipping away at the championship leader’s advantage, taking a tenth of a second out of Eng’s lead each lap until the gap was just 0.3s, allowing Riberas to take a look up the inside at the end of the Hangar Straight.
Riberas wasn’t close enough to make a move into Stowe however and, from that point on, Eng used the remaining four laps to rebuild his advantage, eventually crossing the line 1.561s ahead of his Spanish rival after Riberas made a mistake on the final lap.
Behind, after initially coming under pressure from Barker, Ammermüller finished third a further three seconds behind Riberas, leaving the home hero to fend off the advances of Engelhart whose MRS GT-Racing 991 GT3 Cup car come on strong in the second half of the race.
Like the battle for the lead though, Engelhart couldn’t get close enough to make a move on Barker, having to settle for fifth and dropping from second to fourth in the points table.
Cairoli, after initially being involved in the scrap for fourth, dropped away across the course of the race, finishing a lonely sixth ahead of Christopher Zöchling and Côme Ledogar, the Frenchman taking his best finish since the season opener in Barcelona.
After finishing third in free practice, Dan Cammish was hugely disappointed to only qualify 12th but, after a monumental scrap between himself, Tom Sharp and Josh Webster, the Redline Racing driver was the top Carrera Cup GB wildcard in ninth.
The trio of regular rivals were nose-to-tail as Webster launched from 17th to the fringes of the top ten in the opening laps, taking 11th from the impressive Sharp before attempting to take tenth from Cammish at Stowe.
A slight touch saw Webster spin out of contention however, allowing Sharp to sneak ahead of Cammish before the latter fought his way back into tenth with a robust move at Club corner.
British racer Jake Hill also got involved in the squabble, along with Patrick Eisemann however, a three-way move into Brooklands involving Sharp at half-distance saw the trio spin down the order as they tried to filter into Luffield.
The chaos behind allowed Cammish to escape up the road, setting the fifth fastest lap of the race on his Supercup debut as he chased down and passed regular, Jeffrey Schmidt, taking a hard-fought ninth place. Webster would eventually finish 17th, one place behind Hill.
With 70 points, Eng’s championship lead now stands at 14 points over Riberas, as Ammermüller and Engelhart sit on 55 and 54 points respectively. Barker is fifth on 37 as the Supercup circus prepares to head to the Hungaroring in Hungary on 24-26 July.
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