5/24/2021

Winning and losing in Monaco.

The Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup arrived in Monte Carlo for the first round of the 2021 season. A great venue to open the series and an even greater challenge for the drivers and teams. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves…

There were 28 cars entered for the race, over the famous 19-turn, 3.3km circuit, winding through the unforgiving streets of the Principality, used for the Formula 1 Grand Prix since 1929. It would be a severe test for the new Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car – mistakes at Monaco rarely come cheap. The Free Practice Session on Thursday evening was interrupted twice: first to clear the circuit after #29 Laurin Heinrich (DEU/Nebulus Racing by Huber) dumped fluids on the circuit hitting the barriers at Rascasse before. And second – with four minutes remaining – after #15 Philipp Sager (AUT/Dinamic Motorsport) crashed at St. Devote.

 

Early on, it was 2020 champion #25 Larry ten Voorde (NED/Team GP Elite) on top of the times, but Luxembourger #3 Dylan Pereira in his BWT-Lechner run car eclipsed his time on his next lap to go to the top of the scoreboard. In the Rookie Classification, #17 Harry King, in the Parker Revs Motorsport 911 GT3 Cup, set the early pace, fresh from his victory at the Red Bull Ring in the Porsche Carrera Cup Benelux race last weekend. His time was soon beaten though, by fellow-Rookie #19 Dorian Boccolacci (FRA/Martinet by Alméras), who already looked like a good bet for a top six position.

Narrow streets, solid barriers – a challenging combination.

Less than fifteen minutes into the forty-five minute session, Monaco claimed its first victim, as 19-year-old Laurin Heinrich’s ambition got the better of him and the victor in last weekend’s Oschersleben round of the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland trailed back to the pits spilling coolant everywhere and bringing out the red flag. Heinrich was not hurt, but the Nebulus team car was badly damaged.

 

The session restarted with 25 minutes remaining, and it was Dylan Pereira who quickly improved ahead of Dutchman ten Voorde, nearly half a second adrift, then #6 Christopher Zöchling (DEU/FACH AUTO TECH). Next was #11 Florian Latorre (FRA/CLRT), followed by impressive New Zealander #20 Jaxon Evans (NZL/Martinet by Alméras).

 

With fifteen minutes of the session to go, Larry ten Voorde went quicker again, hurling his Team GP Elite car around in 1m 34.165s, with Turkish driver #2 Ayhancan Güven also improving to third-fastest in his BWT-Lechner car, finishing the session ahead of Evans after these two traded times.

Just great. P1 in Free Practice, that’s how we start the season!

#3 Dylan PereiraLUX/BWT Lechner Racing

Five minutes of the session remaining and Dylan Pereira improved again, down to a 1m 34.062s. The question of whether ten Voorde would have been able to respond was left unanswered as the red flag was shown again – this time it was Austrian ProAm Philipp Sager in the wall, at St. Devote, and the session was not restarted.

 

Top Rookie was Dorian Boccolacci, who simply got quicker and quicker as the session progressed, ending up a very impressive fourth overall in 1m 34.698s. That left Evans fifth with #4 Tio Ellinas (CYP/Lechner Racing Middle East) making it three Lechner-run cars in the top six. The fastest ProAm was Monégasque #5 Nicolas Misslin (15th overall) in his Lechner Racing Middle East entry, over half-a-second quicker than the next ProAm, #27 Roar Lindland (NOR/Nebulus Racing by Huber) who finished 19th overall.

A chequered Qualifying Session.

Traffic around the streets of Monte Carlo is a problem at the best of times – and especially when there’s a Grand Prix on. Getting a clear lap in Qualifying Session for the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup race was crucial, and taking your chance when it was presented absolutely essential.

 

Not participating in the qualifying session was Laurin Heinrich, following yesterday’s crash – the Nebulus team hopes to have the car ready for Sunday’s race. From the practice times, it seemed that in order to be at the front of the grid, a time under 1m 34s would be necessary. Predictably enough, it was the flying Dutchman, Larry ten Voorde, who was first into the 1m 33s bracket – with eighteen minutes of the session elapsed.

The time was substantially ahead of the rest: his 1m 33.170s almost two seconds faster than the pole-setting time of 2019 – and a full second quicker than the next-fastest, Dorian Boccolacci. The young Frenchman was making his first start in the Supercup and thus qualified for the Rookie Classification, but he has a good deal of experience racing in both GT cars and single-seaters, including finishing fourth in the F2 race at Monaco in 2019.

 

Boccolacci’s team-mate at Martinet, Jaxon Evans, was also in great form, finishing up second-fastest with a time of 1m 33.274s on his penultimate lap of the session. Behind Boccolacci, in fourth place, was Christopher Zöchling, for Fach Auto Tech, saving his best effort for the very last lap of qualifying, then, filling the third row of the grid, Ayhancan Güven and Florian Latorre, fifth and sixth in the session.

I drove a perfect lap and in some places even scraped the guardrail slightly. But I was so gentle that the barrier didn’t punish me.

#25 Larry ten VoordeNED/Team GP Elite
Latorre was no doubt disappointed, having had his best lap time disqualified – otherwise he would have been on the front row (second overall). Not as disappointed as the star of Thursday’s Free Practice Session though, Dylan Pereira, who completed only one half-decent lap before clouting a kerb at the swimming pool and damaging the cooler of the car. He will have his work cut out in the highly-fancied BWT-Lechner entered car on Sunday.

Race day in Monaco again. Finally!

Qualifying had left a somewhat topsy-turvy grid for the 17-lap race, particularly with pace-setter Dylan Pereira at the back of the grid. Also at the back was Laurin Heinrich, in a brand-new car following his shunt in practice on Thursday.

 

The start was clean, at least for the front dozen or so cars. Ayhancan Güven made a great getaway and drove around the outside of Christopher Zöchling at St. Devote to grab fourth place. Behind, it became rather physical as several cars took a short-cut on the inside St. Devote, leading to some side-by-side jostling up the hill towards Massenet. #24 Max van Splunteren (NLD/Team GP Elite) and #1 Jean-Baptiste Simmenauer (FRA/BWT Lechner Racing) clashed door handles several times before the Frenchman speared off to the right and bounced back into the middle of the track, only to be struck by Roar Lindland; blocking the track and leaving those behind with nowhere to go. #22 Stéphane Denoual’s car was also damaged in the incident.

 

A red flag to stop the race was inevitable – in addition to the blockage of cars, there were also fluids strewn across the track. Some time was needed to pick up the pieces and count the cost. In terms of drivers, #10 Daan van Kuijk (NLD/GP Elite), Nicolas Misslin and #23 Aaron Mason (GBR/Pierre Martinet by Alméras) joined Simmenauer, Lindland and Denoual – unable to take the re-start.

Restart after the pile-up.

Once the track had been cleared, the safety car led the field out of the pits in the original grid order for a rolling start, optimistically minimising the risk of further carnage, and a 15-lap race. Once again, Larry ten Voorde made a copybook start, stretching the legs of the Team GP Elite entry ahead of the two Martinet by Alméras cars of Jaxon Evans and Dorian Boccolacci. Zöchling made sure that Güven stayed behind him this time, and started putting a lot of pressure on Rookie Boccolacci.

 

On the second lap, British Touring Car Championship graduate #18 Michael Crees (GBR/Parker Revs Motorsport) got it all wrong at St. Devote and hit the barrier. He tried to get going again, but came to a halt at Casino Square and the Safety Car was deployed to allow the damaged car to be recovered. Meanwhile, #28 Leon Köhler (DEU/Nebulus Racing by Huber) had overtaken #16 Simone Iaquinta (ITA/Dinamic Motorsport) for seventh place.

Safety Car back in business.

The Safety Car period lasted only three minutes, and when racing resumed there were eleven laps still to go. Dylan Pereira, having started from the back of the grid, was now 17th and looking likely to be able to score some points, provided he could keep going – the question was, how many points could he salvage?

 

For the third time, ten Voorde made the perfect getaway at the front and again consolidated his lead ahead of New Zealander Evans and Frenchman Boccolacci in the two Martinet cars. Having withstood the early pressure from Zöchling, Boccolacci looked more settled now and by lap 10 he had established a second of a cushion between himself and the Austrian.

 

Earlier, on lap 7, Rookie #8 Maxime Boulin (FRA/FACH AUTO TECH), collided with the car of #21 Clément Mateu (FRA/Pierre Martinet by Alméras) and trailed back to the pits with damage to the front right corner.

The start of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup’s 29th season couldn’t have been more spectacular. Congratulations to the defending champion Larry ten Voorde on his victory. The race also underlined that some new names will appear in the top group this year.

Oliver SchwabProject Manager of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup

Overtaking may be difficult, but further back, Dylan Pereira was proving it was not impossible as he fought his way up the leaderboard. From 16th on lap 6 he made it up to 13th on lap 10, but then became stuck behind Norwegian #7 Marius Nakken in the FACH AUTO TECH car. He finally made the pass on the last lap of the race, and 12th became 11th as team-mate Güven suddenly slowed as he crossed the line to start his last lap and ground to a halt before taking the chequered flag.

 

There was other action further down the field on the last lap as a clumsy move by Max van Splunteren saw both he and GP Elite team-mate #9 Lucas Groeneveld (NDL/GP Elite) spinning at the Grand Hotel hairpin. This time the villain became the victim as van Splunteren dropped to 17th while Groeneveld was able to salvage 15th place. The real beneficiary was Laurin Heinrich though who managed to bring his untried car home 14th overall and fourth in the Rookie Classification, behind Boccolacci, Harry King and #14 Ludovico Laurini (ITA/Dinamic Motorsport). With Clément Mateu on P1 and Philipp Sager on P2 only two drivers mounted the ProAm-Podium.

I pushed hard in the first few laps to gain an advantage over Jaxon Evans – he’s the guy I feared the most.

#25 Larry ten VoordeNED/Team GP Elite

Looking forward to Spielberg.

It was a very satisfying victory for Larry ten Voorde, who looked in command of matters throughout the event. His race performance was exemplary, and it was the perfect start to the season for him and Team GP Elite. Martinet by Alméras can also look back on a job well done, filling the remaining two podium positions from second and third on the grid. Dorian Boccolacci in particular made an impressive debut in the Porsche Supercup and will be someone to watch in the remainder of the season.

 

The next round of the championship will be the first of two races on successive weekends at the Red Bull Ring in Austria from 25th to 27th June and poses plenty of questions to be answered. Will Larry ten Voorde be able to continue his domination? Will Lechner Racing be able to bounce back from a nightmare of a weekend in Monaco? Can Jaxon Evans go one place better in the Styrian mountains to claim the winner’s trophy like he did last year? Make sure you don’t miss it!

Overall Classification Round 1 Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup, Monaco

Overall Classification Round 1 Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup, Monaco

Pos.
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
Entry No.
25
20
19
6
11
28
16
4
17
12
3
7
14
29
9
26
24
21
15
2
8
18
1
27
10
5
23
22
Driver
Larry ten Voorde
Jaxon Evans
Dorian Boccolacci
Christopher Zöchling
Florian Latorre
Leon Köhler
Simone Iaquinta
Tio Ellinas
Harry King
Steven Palette
Dylan Pereira
Marius Nakken
Lodovico Laurini
Laurin Heinrich
Lucas Groeneveld
Jesse van Kuijk
Max van Splunteren
Clément Mateu
Philipp Sager
Ayhancan Güven
Maxime Boulin
Michael Crees
Jean-Baptiste Simmenauer
Roar Lindland
Daan van Kuijk
Nicolas Misslin
Aaron Mason
Stéphane Denoual
Nation
NLD
NZL
FRA
DEU
FRA
DEU
ITA
CYP
GBR
FRA
LUX
NOR
ITA
DEU
NLD
NLD
NLD
FRA
AUT
TUR
FRA
GBR
FRA
NLD
NLD
MCO
GBR
FRA
Total points
25
20
17
14
12
10
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
Grand Prix de Monaco Round 1
25
20
17
14
12
10
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
0
0
0
0
0 (DNF)
0 (DNC)
0 (DNC)
0 (DNC)
0 (DNC)
0 (DNC)
0 (DNC)
0 (DNC)
0 (DNC)
Overall Classification
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