2015 Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup race report: Spa, Belgium
Sven Müller and Philipp Eng took a victory each as the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup held its first double-header event of the year at the infamous Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium.
After the cancellation of the German Grand Prix, Porsche decided to make the final three rounds of the 2015 championship (starting with Spa) into double-headers, giving the Supercup drivers two bites at the proverbial cherry at each meeting.
The grid for races one and two would be set by the fastest and second-fastest times in qualifying respectively, with Michael Ammermüller heading championship leader, Philipp Eng and Christian Engelhart on the grid for the first encounter.
Ammermüller continued to lead the way on Saturday evening when race one got underway however, after losing power coming up to Stavelot on lap three, the German inexplicably drifted off track on the run to Blanchemont, hitting the barriers on the outside before barrel rolling once.
Unsurprisingly, a safety car was called to clear up the wreckage and, when racing resumed, it was Eng who led the way from Sven Müller, with the Porsche Junior putting the championship leader under immense pressure after leapfrogging Engelhart at the start.
Müller’s efforts paid off on lap seven when a mistake by Eng allowed the German to sneak into the lead. The Team Lechner Racing driver had the pace to pull away too, eventually taking the win by 2.8 seconds.
Behind, Eng was forced to fend off the attentions of Christopher Zöchling who had worked his way onto the podium at the expense of title challenger, Engelhart.
The German racer faded during the 14-lap encounter, eventually dropping to fifth behind Frenchman, Côme Ledogar (the Martinet by Alméras driver competing in what was effectively his home race).
Total 911 columnist, Ben Barker took sixth after charging through from eighth although it was nearly one step better for the Briton after a barn-storming side-by-side battle through Eau Rouge and Raidillon with Engelhart.
For race two, Eng would start from pole, alongside his nemesis from the first encounter, Müller. Engelhart would again start third ahead of Ammermüller (whose Lechner Racing team put in a monumental all-night effort to rebuild his car).
Müller went immediately on the attack until a safety car on lap one (to recover the stranded car of multiple WRC champion and guest driver, Sebastian Loeb) neutralised the field.
At the restart, Eng controlled the race but his Porsche Junior rival was never far away. ““I tried absolutely everything to overtake Philipp but I just couldn’t find a way around him,” explained Müller.
Just over a second back from the battling lead duo, Engelhart got one back on Zöchling to take third position by just 0.3 seconds, while Jeffrey Schmidt put in his best drive since Austria last year to take fifth.
Ammermüller had to settle for sixth while Barker made up six places to move from 14th on the grid to eighth by the time the checkered flag fell after nearly half an hour of intense Supercup action.
The next Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup double-header sees Porsche’s premier racing circus head to Monza, the fastest circuit on the calendar, to support the Italian Grand Prix on 4-6 September.
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