A perfect start for René Rast (Germany), driving for Lechner Racing, was the basis for an unchallenged victory at the season-opening round of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup in Bahrain. Even before the first corner, the second qualifier pushed past pole-sitter Norbert Siedler (VELTINS Lechner Racing) in his 450 hp Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, which is based on the road-legal lightweight 911 GT3 RS sports car, to claim victory by 2.496 seconds. Britain’s Sean Edwards (Konrad Motorsport), who overtook Siedler in the second lap, finished in second place, with the Austrian finally having to settle for third at the flag. The fastest race lap also went to René Rast, the champion of 2010 and 2011.
Making an excellent debut at the world’s fastest international one-make race series, ex-Formula 1 test driver Michael Ammermüller from the VELTINS Lechner Racing squad clinched fourth place. After qualifying in seventh, the German made an inspired start, drove a superior race and in the sixth lap even overtook seasoned pilot Christian Engelhart (Konrad Motorsport), who finally saw the flag in fifth.
But the driver to make up the most positions was Sebastiaan Bleekemolen (Team Bleekemolen). Taking up the race from twelfth on the grid, the Dutchman overtook one rival after the other to sweep over the line in sixth. Nicki Thiim (Hermes Attempto Racing), Kuba Giermaziak (VERVA Racing Team), Kévin Estre (Hermes Attempto Racing) as well as Patryk Szczerbinski (VERVA Racing Team) rounded off the top ten. Robert Lukas (FÖRCH Racing), whose fourth in qualifying marks his best grid position result in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup to date, fell back in the race after a nudge to position 13.
The grid line up for Sunday’s race is determined by the second fastest lap times of each driver. Sharing the first grid row are Norbert Siedler and Rast. Christian Engelhart and Robert Lukas start from positions three and four respectively. Sean Edwards and Kuba Giermaziak take up the second race of the season from positions five and six.
Round two on Sunday is broadcast live by TV stations Eurosport and Sky at 11.00 hrs (Sky and Eurosport 2). In addition, Eurosport televises highlights at midnight on Sunday in its “Motorsport Weekend Magazin” programme.
René Rast (winner): “After I overtook Norbert Siedler before the first corner and fended off his counterattack it turned into a rather calm race. I kept an eye on my tyres and held onto my advantage. It can continue like this for tomorrow’s race.”
Sean Edwards (second): “My race was good and I earned plenty of points. At the start I had too much wheelspin and that enabled Christian Engelhart to slip past me. Later I was able to overtake Christian again. René Rast was simply too fast today, so I didn’t even attempt to put him under pressure and take any unnecessary risks. I’m okay with second place.”
Norbert Siedler (third): “My start wasn’t the best. René Rast and I touched slightly. I pushed too hard in the first four laps to make up the lost positions and that’s why my tyres deteriorated and I had to let Sean Edwards pass me. Tomorrow I’m starting again from pole position, so I have a second chance to bring home victory.”
Michael Ammermüller (fourth): “I didn’t get away particularly well at the start and lost two positions. But I regained them in the first lap. Early on I was somewhat too cautious until I realised that my car was running well over the distance and I overtook two opponents. I’m satisfied with my race.”
1. René Rast (D), Lechner Racing, 21:01.673 minutes
2. Sean Edwards (GB), Konrad Motorsport, +2.496 seconds
3. Norbert Siedler (A), VELTINS Lechner Racing, +4.332
4. Michael Ammermüller (D), VELTINS Lechner Racing, +9.045
5. Christian Engelhart (D), Konrad Motorsport, +11.319
6. Sebastiaan Bleekemolen (NL), Team Bleekemolen, +14.016
7. Nicki Thiim (DK), Hermes Attempto Racing, +19.669
8. Kuba Giermaziak (PL), VERVA Racing, +22.370
9. Kévin Estre (F), Hermes Attempto Racing, +23.001
10. Patryk Szczerbinski (PL), VERVA Racing, +24.234
1. René Rast (D), Lechner Racing, 20 points
2. Norbert Siedler (A), VELTINS Lechner Racing, 18*
3. Sean Edwards (GB), Konrad Motorsport, 18
4. Michael Ammermüller (D), VELTINS Lechner Racing, 14
5. Christian Engelhart (D), Konrad Motorsport, 12
* 2 extra points for the pole position in race one
1. Konrad Motorsport, 30 points
2. VELTINS Lechner Racing, 30
3. Lechner Racing, 23
1. Michael Ammermüller (D), VELTINS Lechner Racing, 14 points
2. Nicki Thiim (DK), Hermes Attempto Racing, 9
3. Patryk Szczerbinski (PL), VERVA Racing, 6