Richard Westbrook wins - ex-champion Huisman shows his old formPorsche Michelin Supercup, 1st round in Bahrain, race report
Bahrain. 3 April 2005 - Richard Westbrook from Britain claimed victory for his Lechner Racing School Team 2 at the season-opening round of the Porsche Michelin Supercup in Bahrain. Starting the 12 lap race from pole position Westbrook initially lost the sprint to the first corner against Christian Menzel (Germany), who started alongside the Lechner pilot in the first row. In the seventh lap Westbrook managed to recapture his lead from Menzel's Tolimit Motorsport 911 and continued unchallenged to take the flag.
Westbrook is only the second British driver to have won a Porsche Michelin Supercup race. In 1994 Kelvin Burt claimed victory in front of home crowds at Silverstone.
Patrick Huisman from the Netherlands gave a spirited performance in intense heat - air temperatures reached over 40 degrees celcius - fighting his way from seventh to finish second. The quadruple ex-champion had to contend with strong vibrations over the entire distance which were caused by flat-spotting.
Christian Menzel was disappointed with his third place. The 2004 vice-champion complained of strong understeering problems and loss of power over the course of the race. UPS junior Jan Seyffarth (Germany) secured a commendable fourth place at his first race in the international Porsche makes cup, relegating his compatriot Bernd Mayländer to finish fifth. Mayländer contested the race in Bahrain as a guest driver.
Alessandro Zampedri (Italy) could not turn his third in qualifying into a corresponding race result. The professional, who has competed in the series since 1999, stated after the race that his vehicle became almost impossible to control due to the rapid deterioration of his tyres.
The result of the round in Bahrain does not count towards the championship. The first points' race takes place on 24th April as support to the San Marino Grand Prix in Imola, Italy.
Richard Westbrook (winner): "My car was set-up perfectly. The start wasn't too bad; Christian was simply quicker off the mark. But I didn't let it make me nervous; I found my rhythm and felt I had everything under control. This victory is unbelievably important for me and my team."
Christian Menzel (third): "The engine temperature sky-rocketed so one eye was on the gauge and that disturbed my concentration. From the suspension side of things I experienced over-steering which caused me to be too slow on the throttle exiting the corners."
Jan Seyffarth (fourth): "A good race. I came off the track a little once. I reckon if that hadn't have happened I could have been further up the field."
Race resultLaps 3 to 5: Safety Car after accident of Salman Al-Khalifa (BRN)
. Richard Westbrook (GB), Lechner Racing School Team 2, 12 laps in 28:30.976min (=136.976kmh)
2. Patrick Huisman (NL), Lechner Racing School Team 1, 3.677sec behind
3. Christian Menzel (D), Tolimit Motorsport, 4.756
4. Jan Seyffarth (D), UPS Porsche-Junior Team, 5.072
5. Bernd Mayländer (D), Porsche AG, 9.660
6. Alessandro Zampedri (I), Lechner Racing School Team 1, 10.954
7. Richard Lietz (A), Tolimit Motorsport, 11.584
8. Fabrice Walfisch (F), Pro Futura Racing Team Kadach, 14.461
9. Lance David Arnold (Duisburg), UPS Porsche-Junior Team, 17.104
10. David Dermont (MC), Lechner Racing School Team 2, 25.864
11. Simon Frederiks (NL), Jetstream Motorsport PZ Essen
12. Werner Fischer (D), Tolimit Motorsport, 38.473
13. Oliver Mayer (D), Vertu Racing PZ Hofheim, 39.736
14. Jaber Al-Khalifa (BRN), Porsche AG, 40.381
15. Matthias Weiland (D), Vertu Racing PZ Hofheim, 44.487
Geoffrey Horion (MC), Lechner Racing School Team 2, 9 laps
David Saelens (B), Pro Futura Racing Team Kadach, 7 laps
Tim Bergmeister (D), Pro Futura Racing Team Kadach, 7 laps
Philip Beyrer (CH), Jetstream Motorsport PZ Essen, 1 lap
Salman Al-Khalifa (BRN), Porsche AG, 1 lap
Richard Westbrook, lap 7, 2:05.650min = 155.059kmh
Report from 04/04/2005