Seagulls scream, you can smell the North Sea, and from the sea of orange-clad motorsport fans, it's not hard to guess where we are: at the Dutch Grand Prix in Zandvoort – for the penultimate round of the 2022 Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup.
The sun was low in the sky when the Practice Session for the 7th round of the 2022 anniversary season started in the late afternoon. In keeping with a race weekend in the Dutch dunes, our starting field was reinforced by Dutchmen #33 Huub van Eijndhoven for GP Elite and #13 Michael Verhagen for CLRT. The Swedish team Fragus Motorsport completed the field with three drivers, including the four-time Porsche Carrera Cup Scandinavia champion #31 Lukas Sundahl.
Over the course of the Practice Session, the drivers tried to push their personal limits on the relatively new track, resulting in a couple of visits to the gravel trap and two red flags – valuable driving time was wasted during the clean-up. The fastest practice time was set just before the end of the session by #7 Bastian Buus (DNK/BWT Lechner Racing), underlining his determination to sew up the Rookie championship early, before the end of the weekend.
Frontrunner Pereira shows nerves in qualifying.
#5 Dylan Pereira finished qualifying as fastest, but the Luxembourger from Team BWT Lechner Racing was also at the centre of an unfortunate situation towards the end of the session. He sideswiped the onrushing #16 Simone Iaquinta (ITA/Dinamic Motorsport) while warming up his tires on the final straight, while Iaquinta was in the final metres of a fast qualifying lap. Both drivers were able to regain control of their Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars and even continue the race. Pereira took full responsibility and apologised afterwards to Iaquinta, who he simply didn't see. The stewards agreed and moved Pereira back three positions on the grid. As a result of this penalty, the championship leader started from fourth place and #12 Marvin Klein took pole position.
I'm delighted to be in pole for the first time this season – the whole team has worked hard for this.
The Frenchman from Team CLRT set the second-fastest time on the Formula 1 race track on the North Sea coast. His neighbour on the front row of the grid was #6 Harry King (GBR/BWT Lechner Racing). The Brit was one of only a few drivers to improve on his lap time towards the end of qualifying.
Next to Pereira was #20 Jaap van Lagen (NLD/Martinet by Alméras), much to the delight of his numerous compatriots in the packed grandstands. The third row of the grid was shared by two other Dutchmen: #1 Morris Schuring (NLD/Huber Racing) as the fastest Rookie, and #25 Larry ten Voorde (NLD/Team GP Elite), who had hoped for a better starting position for his home race. Qualifying was also not ideal for Porsche Junior #3 Laurin Heinrich, who won the race at Zandvoort last year. The German from the SSR Huber Racing team only set the tenth fastest time.
My timing was off for my fastest lap. By that point, the track no longer had the optimum grip.
The first titles are decided.
Championship leader Pereira, Porsche Junior Heinrich and defending champion Ten Voorde were separated by just 15 points before the Zandvoort race. While the championship question in the overall standings of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup was still wide open, the decisions in three individual classifications could be made at the penultimate race of the season. BWT Lechner Racing, as the leader of the team standings, had a lead of 90 points. And in Zandvoort and the coming final in Monza, there were a total of 90 points still up for grabs. So BWT Lechner Racing only needed one point to claim the title. This corresponds to at least 15th place for one of their two drivers, Pereira and King – certainly possible.
With six victories in six races, Bastian Buus led the Rookie standings by a clear margin, to which the placings in the overall standings were added. The Dane from Team BWT Lechner Racing had a total lead over Brit #9 Lorcan Hanafin (FACH AUTO TECH) of 43 points. That meant that Hanafin would have to win or finish second at Zandvoort, while Buus would have to finish worse than 15th, to keep the decision open until the finale in Italy.
The situation is not quite so clear in the ProAm standings, where points are awarded in line with class standings. Three-time season winner #21 Roar Lindland from Norway (Pierre Martinet by Alméras) was first, 21 points ahead of his French colleague #11 Clément Mateu (CLRT). If Lindland scored at least four points more than Mateu on Sunday, he would secure the fourth ProAm title of his career ahead of schedule.
Marvin Klein’s win means the champagne is still on ice until the series finale.
In front of a packed grandstand, Marvin Klein showed nerves of steel in Sunday's Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup race. The Frenchman from Team CLRT had to defend his leading position against his pursuers three times: at the race start and two restarts following safety car phases. Despite a very slippery track and cold tires, he was able to concentrate and defend his line. After twelve laps, Klein crossed the finish line with a narrow margin of four tenths of a second ahead of Rookie Morris Schuring. The reigning champion of the French Porsche Carrera Cup celebrated his first victory in the international one-make series.
Schuring, on the other hand, was not able to enjoy his second place finish for long. Adjudicators determined that at the start of the race, he had not set his nine-eleven exactly in the prescribed starting position. The stewards gave him a five-second time penalty for this. As a result, the Dutchman, who is only 17 years old, dropped far behind in the official race results.
Championship frontrunner Dylan Pereira also experienced a rollercoaster of emotions in the penultimate race of the season. The fastest driver in qualifying, he was relegated to fourth place. After the first lap he was only in eighth, and was involved in numerous battles for position. In spite of this, he crossed the finish line in third place, and moved up to second position after the penalty for Morris Schuring, who had initially been in front of him – the Luxembourger could not complain about a lack of variety.
I concentrated mainly on Larry ten Voorde throughout the race. I wanted to finish at least directly behind him. The fact that I was even able to overtake Larry takes a lot of pressure off my shoulders for the finale in Monza.
Although Ten Voorde is now 18 points behind Pereira, he was nevertheless satisfied with third place at his home race because it was important for him to leave himself in with a chance until the finale. He took second place in the overall standings from Porsche Junior Laurin Heinrich, who only finished fifth at Zandvoort.
Bastian Buus finished between Ten Voorde and Heinrich. The youngster won the Rookie Classification for the seventh race in a row, securing the title early and setting a new Rookie record with his winning streak. BWT Lechner Racing is also confirmed as the overall winner of the team standings ahead of the finale of the 30th Supercup season next weekend – a twelfth team title for the veterans from Austria.
At the beginning of the season, we dreamed of the team title. I'm incredibly proud of my entire team for making this dream come true.
The title in the ProAm Classification, on the other hand, is still to be decided. Championship leader Lindland only finished third in this class. Victory went to his British teammate #23 Aaron Mason. A curious fact: Mason did not even finish the race due to an accident with #22 Stéphane Denoual (FRA/Pierre Martinet by Alméras). However, this incident caused the race to be abandoned. In cases like these, the result is based on the last regular lap – and at that point Mason was still the best-placed ProAm driver.
Even before Mason's accident, the race was interrupted twice by the safety car. The first was caused by Harry King and local hero Jaap van Lagen on the second lap. Starting from second and third place respectively, the two collided in the duel for second place in the Tarzanbocht, and both had to retire early.
Zandvoort has once again lived up to its reputation of always providing extremely varied races. We put on a great show for these great fans. I sincerely congratulate BWT Lechner Racing and Bastian Buus on their early title wins, and look forward to the finale in Monza!