Ten Voorde “Hungary” for more points.
Marvin Klein – guest driver extraordinaire!
I’m really proud of the team. We didn’t test here at the Hungaroring.
There were other changes to the entry list since Austria as well: Parker Revs arrived with two new drivers following sponsorship issues for regular driver Michael Crees, while Harry King was taking part in a clashing Porsche Carrera Cup GB race. That opened the door of opportunity for #17 Loek Hartog (NLD/Parker Revs Motorsport) and #18 Gary Findlay (GBR/Parker Revs Motorsport).
Furthermore, Simone Iaquinta did not have medical clearance to race following an accident at Imola last weekend, and was replaced by #16 Alessandro Giardelli (ITA/Dinamic Motorsport SRL). That still left an impressive entry list of 30 cars, and a mixed weather forecast which raised hopes for plenty of action around the 14-turn, 4.3 km circuit for the 510bhp Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars.
Practice – warm, sunny, easy-going.
Despite the relative inexperience of some of the participants, the 45-minute Practice Session on Friday evening and the 30-minute Qualifying Session on Saturday lunchtime were relatively incident-free. Lechner Racing showed during Practice that their cars were quick – ending the session first and second on the timing screens, with #2 Ayhancan Güven (TUR/BWT Lechner Racing) and #3 Dylan Pereira (LUX/BWT Lechner Racing) separated by just over a tenth of a second; and more than a quarter of a second clear of the rest.
Practice also showed again how closely-matched the field in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup is, with 13 cars setting times within a second of the fastest lap of the session.
It’s great that spectators are back at the tracks to cheer the drivers on.
A qualifying with debatable decisions.
The Qualifying Session had a rather different complexion, either because the rest of the field caught up, or because the Lechner cars lost their way somewhat. There was no appreciable difference in the weather – still warm and sunny – but there were some debatable tactical decisions made. As usual in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup, there was a notable lull in proceedings mid-session, as teams sat out a good ten minutes, before going out for a final one or two laps to set an all-out qualifying lap. The questionable tactic was that leaving it until the last minute left no margin for error, with the result that when #11 Florian Latorre (FRA/CLRT) spun at the final turn (T14) with a minute of the session remaining, yellow flags came out and made improvements impossible.
For CLRT, it was a dream result, with its two cars qualifying first and third, sandwiching #20 Jaxon Evans (NZL/Martinet by Alméras) in second place. The best-placed Lechner entry was Güven, a disappointing fifth, behind championship leader #25 Larry ten Voorde (NLD/Team GP Elite).
For both Dylan Pereira and #4 Tio Ellinas (CYP/Lechner Racing Middle East), it was doubly disappointing, since their best lap times were disqualified, removing what would have been a pole time for Pereira.
Race – 26 Celsius and a clean track.
The weather, which had been uncertain all week, changed on Saturday night, with rain greeting the early risers. By the time the grid formed up for the 15-lap Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup race, though, the sun had broken through once again and the track had completely dried, although there was still a blustery wind.
All thirty cars made it onto the grid and it was a clean start, with newcomer Marvin Klein getting away well, covering the inside line into Turn 1. Making a brilliant start, converting fourth on the grid to second on the road through Turn 2, Larry ten Voorde passed both Latorre and Evans.
However, as the field exited Turn 3, #28 Leon Köhler (DEU/Nebulus Racing by Huber) and #6 Christopher Zöchling (DEU/FACH AUTO TECH) clashed. Köhler continued without too much damage, but the consequences were worse for Zöchling, who speared off to the right, the rear of the car making heavy impact with the barrier before it bounced back onto the track. Also involved in the ensuing stewards’ enquiry was #24 Max van Splunteren (NED/Team GP Elite), who ended up running wide although he too got away unscathed. Not so lucky was #14 Lodovico Laurini (ITA/Dinamic Motorsport SRL), who lost control as he tried to take avoiding action, got on the grass, and glanced the barriers on the left. He continued, 27th.
With Zöchling’s car obstructing the track, the Safety Car was inevitably brought into action, and stayed out for four laps while the mess was cleared up.
Safety Car in – back to racing, but still no overtaking.
Racing resumed at the beginning of lap 6, and once again, Marvin Klein made a flawless getaway, setting off into the distance and spending the remainder of the race setting fastest laps and opening up an unassailable lead. By the chequered flag, he was 3.5s clear.
Behind, Larry ten Voorde seemed unconcerned – Klein would not be eligible for points anyway, and the Dutchman looked content to play second fiddle for once. Behind these two, a stirring battle developed for third place between Jaxon Evans, Florian Latorre and Ayhancan Güven. Initially, it seemed that Evans was struggling and that Latorre would be able to pass, but the New Zealander was able to prevail ahead of the Frenchman, who in any case had one eye on the rear-view mirror to ensure that the Turkish Porsche Junior stayed where he was. Despite a couple of attempts, stalemate was reached and the positions remained the same to the flag.
After a less than ideal qualifying, I couldn’t really expect much more.
Another difficult race for Pereira.
For others, the resumption of racing on lap 6 was not so simple: Max van Splunteren completely out-braked himself coming into Turn 1, running straight on and causing #19 Dorian Boccolacci (FRA/Martinet by Alméras) to run into Dylan Pereira, and the pair of them spun out, fortunately without serious damage to either. However, although van Splunteren came through in 9th, it left Pereira in 19th and Rookie Boccolacci in 28th place. Both Pereira and Boccolacci spent the remainder of the race showing that overtaking is possible at the Hungaroring: Pereira eventually getting up to 11th, and Boccolacci recovering ten positions to finish 18th. A subsequent 10-second penalty threw him back to 21st place.
This left #29 Laurin Heinrich (DEU/Nebulus Racing by Huber) unchallenged as top Rookie in Hungary. Heinrich spent most of the race locked in a fight for sixth with fellow-Nebulus driver Köhler, but the Rookie was able to hold the position for the duration.
Schuring’s dream, Klein’s nightmare.
Tio Ellinas was the next one up, the Cypriot finishing in eighth place, ahead of #32 Morris Schuring (NED/GP Elite), who at just sixteen years’ old, almost became the youngest-ever driver in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup. A fine debut and a name to look out for!
It would have been a fantastic result for CLRT, running with a skeleton staff at Hungary this weekend, while the attentions of the team were focussed on owner Côme Ledogar, who was busy racing – and winning – in the Spa 24 hours Intercontinental GT Challenge race. But as the celebrations went on in Hungary, news came through of the exclusion of Marvin Klein, due to a technical infringement. When crossing the finish line, he did not have the mandatory amount of fuel (2kg) in the tank. Remarkably, the same fate befell Vettel in the Formula 1 race. The guest driver Klein was ineligible to score points, but nevertheless deserved more credit for his performance. For CLRT, Florian Latorre moves up to fourth in the championship standings, but there will be nothing but good memories from the weekend for Ledogar!
Marvin was clearly the best today, a few kilograms of fuel in the tank would not have made any difference.
Class winners – Heinrich and Misslin.
Laurin Heinrich’s win in the Rookie Classification will enliven the championship battle of the youngsters; finishing 21st overall, penalised Dorian Boccolacci was third Rookie home, behind Lodovico Laurini who was second.
In the ProAm Classification, #5 Nicolas Misslin (MCO/Lechner Racing Middle East) takes the championship lead by winning in Hungary, ahead of #27 Roar Lindland (NOR/Nebulus Racing by Huber) and #23 Aaron Mason (GBR/Pierre Martinet by Alméras), making his first appearance on the podium.
Looking forward to the 300th race.
For championship leader Larry ten Voorde, the result means a 17-point lead in the championship at the halfway point. There will now be another four-week interval while the Formula 1 teams take their summer break, and competitors in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup will be able to prepare themselves for the final four races in the season, which will come in a packed fortnight, ending with a unique double-header at Monza.
First to look forward to is the beautiful Circuit of Spa-Francorchamps in the Belgian Ardennes, where the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup will run its 300th race since 1993. So far, race-days this year have been dry, but the weather at Spa is famously fickle, so more surprises are sure to come on the last weekend in August, when the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup will reconvene. Will Dylan Pereira be able to convert his unquestionable speed into a result? Will Jaxon Evans be able to close up on Larry ten Voorde in the race for championship points? Make sure you don’t miss it!