Circuit of Spa-Francorchamps, the Hermes Attempto Racing pilot scored his first victory in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup on Sunday. The son of former DTM champion Kurt Thiim was also the fastest in free practice and qualifying with his 450 hp Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, which is based on the street-legal lightweight 911 GT3 RS sports car. With this, the Supercup rookie earned the maximum score of 22 points and now travels to the season finale in Monza with a chance to clinch the title of the world’s fastest international one-make race series.
In sunny autumn weather in the Ardennes, Nicki Thiim planted his Porsche at the front of the pack after the start and held onto his lead to the flag. Trailing the winner in second by 0.969 seconds was title defender René Rast driving for the Lechner Racing Team. This puts the German now as the new points’ leader heading to Italy. A guest driver from the Carrera Cup Deutschland, Jaap van Lagen from the Netherlands finished in third behind the double Supercup champion. At the wheel of his FE Racing by Land-Motorsport 911, he swept past Budapest winner Kévin Estre in the last lap to pocket the last podium spot. The Frenchman driving for Hermes Attempto Racing did not put up too much of a fight as he knew that as a guest starter, van Lagen was not eligible to earn points. With one race left on the calendar, Estre ranks second overall in the race for the title, just one point behind Rast.
The race on the 7.004 kilometre Grand Prix circuit began spectacularly. Whilst the leading four pulled away from the rest of the field, behind them German Christian Engelhart (Konrad Motorsport) and the Dutchman Jeroen Mul (Team Bleekemolen) clashed. As a result of the collision, the car of the Supercup rookie ended up on its roof. But the accident ended without injury. Jeroen Mul did not sustain a single scratch and the race continued without interruption.
Finishing in fifth, the Monaco winner from Britain, Sean Edwards (Konrad Motorsport) still holds a theoretical chance to claim the title. The same goes for Austria’s Norbert Siedler (VELTINS Lechner Racing), the new father of a healthy daughter, who netted sixth. Thanks to his maiden Supercup victory, Nicki Thiim again takes the lead of the rookie classification from Michael Ammermüller (VELTINS Lechner Racing), who finished eighth behind Poland’s Kuba Giermaziak (VERVA Racing Team). In a strong final push, Porsche Junior Klaus Bachler (Austria), who normally competes for the Deutsche Post by tolimit team in the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland, just nipped in with a top ten placing at his second Supercup competition behind another Supercup rookie, Poland’s Patryk Szczerbinski (VERVA Racing Team), in ninth.
Nicki Thiim (winner): “Awesome! Winning in my first Supercup year and of all places on a challenging circuit like Spa is something really special. My first pole position yesterday was already sensational – but this win takes the cake. A huge thank you to my team who puts its faith in me and gives me so much supports.”
René Rast (second): “It was a calm race. I got away well at the start and could quickly slot in behind Nicki. Kévin put some pressure on me at the beginning, but got slower later on so that we could pull ahead a little. I was just as fast as Nicki, but with an eye on the championship I didn’t want to risk too much. I told myself to earn the points and risk it in Monza.”
Jaap van Lagen (third): “It’s a great feeling to contest a Supercup race again. And to bring home a podium result here in Spa where so many Dutch fans are watching is just fantastic.”
Kévin Estre (fourth): “That was a good race. I matched the pace of the leader but only lost time in one or two places. Third place is not a bad result for us. I lost my lead in the championship but I’m only one point behind. This leaves everything wide open in Monza and that was exactly our plan here.”
1. Nicki Thiim (DK), Hermes Attempto Racing, 26:57.559 minutes
2.René Rast (D), Lechner Racing Team, + 0.969 seconds
3. Jaap van Lagen (NL), FE Racing bei Land-Motorsport, + 2.863
4. Kévin Estre (F), Hermes Attempto Racing, + 3.675
5. Sean Edwards (GB), Konrad Motorsport, + 4.853
6. Norbert Siedler (A), VELTINS Lechner Racing, + 11.170
Points standings after 9 of 10 races
1. René Rast (D), Lechner Racing Team, 122 points
2. Kévin Estre (F), Hermes Attempto Racing, 121
3. Norbert Siedler (A), VELTINS Lechner Racing, 111
4. Sean Edwards (GB), Konrad Motorsport, 107
5. Nicki Thiim (D), Hermes Attempto Racing, 107
6. Michael Ammermüller (D), VELTINS Lechner Racing, 87
Monza: Preview for the 10th and final race on 9 September
Another cliff-hanger finale: Like last year, only at the last race of the season in the Royal Park of Monza will the new Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup champion be decided. Theoretically, five drivers have a chance to clinch the coveted title of the world’s fastest international one-make race series: Aside from title defender and new points’ leader René Rast are Kévin Estre, Norbert Siedler, Sean Edwards and rookie Nicki Thiim. Another highlight of the Monza weekend: Local hero Alessandro Zampedri contests his 150th Supercup race. As always, TV stations Eurosport and Sky broadcast the race live.