2016 Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup season review
From the opening race in Barcelona, the 2016 Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup was a season dominated by Weissach’s in-house talent. Between them, the three Porsche Juniors in the field – Sven Müller, Matteo Cairoli and Mathieu Jaminet – won every single race, proving themselves a cut above the rest.
Despite this domination, the battles between the trio were often enthralling, with the momentum in the championship chase swinging between Müller and Cairoli throughout the year, the title only sealed in the final meeting at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.
Round one at the Circuit de Catalunya gave the chasing pack a taste of what to expect as Cairoli, Jaminet and Müller lined up one-two-three on the grid and promptly controlled a race blighted by safety car periods.
Cairoli – driving for the FACH Auto Tech squad that helped Earl Bamber to the 2014 Supercup title – was never under much threat in Spain as Müller leapfrogged Jaminet off the line to snatch second from the Frenchman.
On the streets of Monaco, Cairoli continued his winning ways, the Italian putting in a commanding performance in wet conditions to see off Klaus Bachler and Michael Ammermüller, extending his early championship lead over Jaminet to an already impressive ten points, the Martinet by Alméras driver coming home fifth.
Despite a storming drive, Lechner Racing Team’s Müller could only finish 13th after a qualifying accident left the 24-year-old starting from the back of the grid. The German would bounce back spectacularly in round three at the Red Bull Ring however.
Starting on damp a track with slick tyres, Müller leapt from third to first on the run to turn one at the Austrian circuit, jumping ahead of poleman, Cairoli and Jaminet, taking a lead from the Frenchman he would never relinquish. After winning the opening two races, Cairoli could only finish fourth.
Müller doubled his 2016 wins tally next time out at Silverstone, again leading home Jaminet as Cairoli rounded off the podium in third but it was at the Hungaroring – round five – where the German took command of the championship battle.
While Jaminet caused an accident on the first lap (retiring as a result) and Cairoli could only manage seventh, Müller again made a lightning start to take the lead from Robert Lukas, disappearing into the lead to take his third consecutive victory and, with it, a four-point advantage over his Porsche Junior rivals.
In Germany, tensions between the protagonists finally came to a head. Starting from pole, Müller’s prowess off the line escaped him, allowing Cairoli to nose ahead on the run to turn one.
However, the German wasn’t willing to relinquish the place, driving off the track around the outside of his 20-year-old challenger to retain first place. While Cairoli could not find a way back through on the track, the stewards deemed Müller had gained an unfair advantage, adding a second to his race time.
The move promoted Cairoli to first – his third victory of the season – while third place was taken by Jeffrey Schmidt in Lechner Racing Middle East’s Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car. A grid penalty for Jaminet (a result of the Hungaroring accident) meant the Frenchman would finish eighth in round six.
Heading to Belgium to tackle the fearsome Spa-Francorchamps, Müller’s lead was just two points but, while Cairoli could only finish fourth, second place in the Ardennes Forest meant the German left round seven with a six-point advantage in the standings.
It was Jaminet however, who stole the show around the infamous Belgian circuit. Shadowing poleman Müller in the opening stages, the Alméras racer made his move after a brief safety car period, snatching the lead to secure his maiden Porsche Supercup victory.
Next up was Monza, the final European round of the season and Cairoli’s home race. Buoyed on by his local support, the Italian put on a master class in round eight, taking pole position and leading every lap on his way to a fourth win of 2016 (one more than Müller’s tally).
Third place for Müller, behind Michael Ammermüller, left the German Porsche Junior with just a two-point advantage ahead of the double-header season finale at Circuit of the Americas. Cairoli was closing in and appeared to have the momentum.
This was confirmed in race one where Cairoli took the lead from poleman, Jaminet and appeared to be heading for the victory that would give him the championship lead with just one race left in the 2016 season.
For the Italian though, disaster then struck. A mechanical problem forced the FACH Auto Tech driver into retirement and, distraught, he could only watch as Müller drove a comfortable race to second place behind Jaminet.
The result gave the German a 20-point lead ahead of the final race and, with 20 points for a win, Cairoli needed to take victory and hope that Müller didn’t score in order to take the title in Porsche’s premier one-make series.
As it was though, Jaminet proved too tough nut to crack in race two, leading home Cairoli after a tough battle while Müller drove sensibly to eighth place, securing his maiden Supercup championship crown.
After an inconsistent season, Scmidt took the final podium step of 2016 but it was Ammermüller who finished the season fourth in standings, albeit 17 points behind Jaminet as the Porsche Juniors proved their class.
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