The Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup kicked off its 21st season with a gripping qualifying on the Circuit de Catalunya. Pole position for the season-opening race in Barcelona went to Sean Edwards. At the wheel of the Allyouneed by Project 1-run new 460 hp Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, which is based on the seventh generation of the 911, he was by far the fastest driver on the Grand Prix circuit in Barcelona. Unexpectedly lining up next to the Briton on the first row for Sunday’s race is Poland’s Kuba Giermaziak (VERVA Racing Team). Demonstrating once again the tight competition in this attractive brand trophy series, 21 of the 25 vehicles qualified within just one and a half seconds.
Porsche Junior Michael Christensen also made a good start into his first Supercup season. The Dane, who put in a strong performance last year in the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland and was promoted to the flagship championship of Porsche’s 20 makes cup series worldwide, posted the fourth quickest time for his DAMS team behind Michael Ammermüller (Germany) from the Lechner Racing Team. Thanks to his fastest lap in the final phase of the qualifying, Poland’s Robert Lukas (FÖRCH Racing) scored the fifth grid spot ahead of Richie Stanaway (DAMS), the Supercup newcomer from New Zealand. Frenchman Kévin Estre (Attempto Racing), last year’s vice champion, had to settle for the seventh quickest time in the strong field. Taking up the race alongside him on the fourth grid row is another Porsche Junior, Austrian Klaus Bachler (FÖRCH Racing).
At his first guest appearance in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup, rally star Sébastien Loeb (France) performed well against the Supercup specialists. Driving the Porsche AG VIP car decked out in the legendary Martini Racing Design, the nine-time World Rally Champion improved from free practice to qualify in 13th place just one second behind the pole-sitter.
Sean Edwards (pole-sitter): “Posting pole position with half a second advantage is surely extraordinary. Normally we are much closer together. But today everything flowed perfectly. Tomorrow’s race will undoubtedly be tough. I hope I get away cleanly at the start and still be in the lead after the first corner. Then I certainly have a good chance of winning.”
Kuba Giermaziak (second qualifier): “I like the track and everything went well at the beginning. When I came into the pits and saw the gap to Sean it gave me something to think about. We thought long and hard whether we should go out again on new tyres, but finally decided to save them for the race. I think we have the necessary speed and that’s a great feeling to have at the beginning of the season.”
Michael Ammermüller (third qualifier): “I’m very happy. After the tests I hadn’t expected it. Now I have to try and turn it into a good race result. In any case, the prospects look good.”
Michael Christensen (Porsche Junior, fourth qualifier): “I’m very pleased with the performance of the team, but not so much with my own. I could have done better in this qualifying. I hope I can pull more out of the hat during tomorrow’s race.”
Klaus Bachler (Porsche Junior, eighth qualifier): “I was sitting in sixth for quite some time until two opponents on new tyres trumped my time in the final phase. Still, it’s a good position from which to head into the race, especially since I’ve saved a fresh set of slicks.”
Sébastien Loeb (13th qualifier): “I was more familiar with the car today and felt much more comfortable compared to free practice. I set my fastest time in lap three. For the race tomorrow I have an almost new set of tyres. I’m very much looking forward to my first race in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup.”
Jean-Karl Vernay (Winner International Cup Scholarship, 17th qualifier): “That is certainly not what I had expected here in Barcelona. We will definitely have to improve. I’m hoping for a good start in the race, perhaps then I can finish in the top ten. But that won’t be easy in such a strong field.”
The race on Sunday is broadcast live on TV stations Eurosport 2 (11.45 hrs) and Sky (11.40 hrs). In addition, Eurosport televises highlights on Sunday at 18.15 hrs in the programme “Motorsport Weekend Magazin”.
1. Sean Edwards (GB), Team Allyouneed by Project 1, 1:49.664 minutes
2. Kuba Giermaziak (PL), VERVA Racing Team, + 0.492 seconds
3. Michael Ammermüller (D), Lechner Racing Team, + 0.523
4. Michael Christensen (DK), DAMS, + 0.567
5. Robert Lukas (PL), FÖRCH Racing, + 0.769
6. Richie Stanaway (NZL), DAMS, + 0.793
8. Klaus Bachler (A), FÖRCH Racing, + 0.807
13. Sébastien Loeb (F), Porsche AG, + 1.179
17. Jean-Karl Vernay (F), MRS GT-Racing, + 1.296