In the Autodromo Nazionale in Monza, Nicki Thiim netted his second pole position of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup season. On the high-speed circuit in the Royal Park, Thiim was a mere 0.040 seconds quicker in his 460 hp Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, which is based on the seventh generation of the 911, than Germany’s Michael Ammermüller (Lechner Racing). Competing for the Attempto Racing team, the Dane recently posted pole position in Silverstone and went on to win the race.
Lining up on the second grid row for the last race of the popular brand trophy series on European soil on Sunday is the British points’ leader Sean Edwards (Team Allyouneed by Proiject 1) as the third quickest in qualifying. Next to the three-time winner this season is Poland’s Kuba Giermaziak (VERVA Racing Team), who started into the Spa-Francorchamps round two weeks ago from pole position. Putting in a strong performance, Austria’s Philipp Eng (MRS GT-Racing), a guest driver from the Carrera Cup Deutschland, clocked the fifth quickest time ahead of Nürburgring winner Michael Christensen from Denmark competing for the DAMS squad. With the exception of Philipp Eng, all of these pilots still hold hopes of pocketing the championship.
The qualifying on the storied Italian race track was the most hotly-contested of the season by now: 21 of the 26-strong field qualified within just one second. Austrian Klaus Bachler (FÖRCH Racing), the second Porsche junior in the field and winner of Spa-Francorchamps, was tenth quickest in qualifying and takes up the sprint from the fifth grid row. MRS GT-Racing pilot, Jean-Karl Vernay (France), who receives support from Porsche to contest this year’s Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup as the winner of the International Cup Scholarship, planted his 911 GT3 Cup on 16th – one spot in front of Italy’s Emanuele Pirro. This is the first time the ex-Formula 1 pilot and five-time Le Mans winner contests the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup in the VIP-car fielded by Porsche AG.
Nicki Thiim (pole-sitter): “The qualifying in Monza is always a very tactical affair. If you want to land up the front you definitely need to find someone who pulls you in his slipstream. But of course that’s not easy. Fortunately it worked for me. Today’s qualifying was a real nail-biter, but the race tomorrow is sure to be even more interesting.”
Michael Ammermüller (2nd in qualifying): “That was my best qualifying result so far this season, so I’m happy. We found something on the car that works better with fresh tyres. I’m looking forward to the race.”
Sean Edwards (3rd in qualifying): “I posted my time on the first set of tyres, so my second set is still fresh for the race. For me, it’s all about bringing home points tomorrow and to head to the season final in Abu Dhabi with as great a lead as possible.”
Michael Christensen (Porsche Junior, 6th in qualifying): “That was an incredibly close qualifying. It’s hard to pull everything together in Monza for one good lap, particularly when it’s as competitive as it was today and every hundredth of a second counts. With this in mind, I’m very pleased with my time and I’m feeling confident for the race.”
Klaus Bachler (Porsche Junior, 10th in qualifying): “That was very tight. My gap to the pole-sitter is not big. A few hundredths of a second faster and I would have landed one or two rows up the grid. But what the heck: Monza is a circuit where anything is possible – even from the tenth grid spot.
Jean-Karl Vernay (Winner International Cup Scholarship, 16th in qualifying): “When it’s so close in qualifying and things don’t go completely smoothly, you quickly get shuffled down the field. Now in the race I have to try to make up as many positions as possible.”
Emanuele Pirro (VIP starter, 17th in qualifying): “In free practice I was not very happy with my car’s set-up. So we tried several things and it went much better today. Now I feel better as well and I have even more confidence in my car. Okay, I’m seventeenth but I’m not so far off the leader that I can’t upset the apple cart.”
Sunday’s race is broadcast live by TV stations Eurosport (11.45 hrs) and Sky (11.40 hrs). Eurosport televises highlights on Sunday at 20.15 hrs in the programme “Motorsport Weekend Magazin”.
1. Nicki Thiim (DK), Attempto Racing, 1:51.208 minutes
2. Michael Ammermüller (D), Lechner Racing, + 0.040 seconds
3. Sean Edwards (GB), Team Allyouneed by Project 1, + 0.132
4. Kuba Giermaziak (PL), VERVA Racing Team, 0.213
5. Philipp Eng (A), MRS GT-Racing, + 0.301
6. Michael Christensen (DK), DAMS, + 0.327
10. Klaus Bachler (A), FÖRCH Racing, + 0.393
16. Jean-Karl Vernay (F), MRS GT-Racing, + 0.692
17. Emanuele Pirro (I), Porsche AG, + 0.718