2015 Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup race report: Spielberg, Austria

Christopher Zöchling took his maiden Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup victory in round three of the 2015 championship with a near perfect drive at his home race around the Red Bull Ring, near Spielberg in Austria.

Starting fifth, Zöchling (who was standing in at the Fach Auto Tech team for Simon Trummer), immediately dived to the inside for turn one on the first lap, moving passed his slow-starting countryman, Philipp Eng and championship leader, Michael Ammermüller.

On lap two, the Austrian outbraked Sven Müller into turn three to take second, before hunting down poleman, Connor de Phillippi over the next few laps. It was then only a matter of time until Zöchling moved to the head of the field, taking the lead on the run up the hill between turns one and two on the sixth lap.

After a difficult race in the Austrian hills, Michael Ammermüller lost his championship lead.
After a difficult race in the Austrian hills, Michael Ammermüller lost his championship lead.

From there, despite being closely shadowed by a recovering Eng (who also passed de Phillippi on lap six), Zöchling was able to control the race, reeling off the remaining ten laps to take his first ever Porsche Supercup victory, 0.658 seconds ahead of Eng.

Behind, it was a frenetic race as de Phillippi struggled with the setup off his VERVA Lechner Racing Team Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car. The American’s pace worsened throughout the event, dropping him into the clutches of Ammermüller on lap 11.

However, the erstwhile championship leader, had the door shut on him robustly at the first corner, sending the German into a spin and slightly delaying de Phillippi, who held onto third position.

Project 1 Racing's Philipp Eng took a home podium and with it the points lead at round three of the 2015 Supercup.
Project 1 Racing’s Philipp Eng took a home podium and with it the points lead at round three of the 2015 Supercup.

This allowed a recovering Alex Riberas to close onto the American’s rear wing, the Spaniard taking the final podium spot away from de Phillippi between turns two and three on the 13th lap before the Porsche Junior stopped the rot, eventually securing fourth place come the chequered flag.

Christian Engelhart eventually finished fifth after a chaotic race in the midfield. The MRS GT Racing driver was aided by delays to Müller and Total 911 columnist, Ben Barker who collided with one another on lap eight while contesting fifth place through turn one.

While Müller would eventually finish 10th, just behind the recovering Ammermüller, Barker could only come home in 19th after struggling to restart his 991 GT3 Cup car following the aforementioned spin.

Total 911 columnist, Ben Barker was on course for a top six finish until a collision with Sven Müller dropped the Brit to 19th.
Total 911 columnist, Ben Barker was on course for a top six finish until a collision with Sven Müller dropped the Brit to 19th.

Engelhart still had to fight for his final finishing place though, moving passed Robert Lukas at turn two on lap 14 to take sixth, before benefitting from Jeffrey Schmidt’s mistake at turn six to move into fifth.

Schmidt’s problems continued until the flag, the Swiss racer dropping to 16th by the finish as Lukas led home Matteo Cairoli and Philipp Frommenwiler for places six, seven and eight.

The result leaves Eng leading the championship by eight points from Engelhart, with Ammermüller now 11 points adrift in third. The Supercup now heads to Silverstone in two weeks time for Ben Barker’s home race, supporting the British Grand Prix on 3-5 July.

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Alex Riberas took third place, his first Supercup podium, to boost his hopes of challenging for the championship.
Alex Riberas took third place, his first Supercup podium, to boost his hopes of challenging for the championship.

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