The opening race weekend in our 30th season got off to a wet start: heavy rain prevented the scheduled Free Practice on Friday. On Saturday, however, Porsche Supercup fans got to enjoy two sessions – and the competition really got going.
Before the Formula 1 race, 33 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars took to the track in the sunshine, to try and put up a fast time. As well as Swedish guest team Fragus Motorsport, five-time motorcycle world champion Jorge Lorenzo also took part as a VIP driver, with the number 911, in only his second race on four wheels. Following the end of pandemic-related restrictions, the race weekend was held in front of a full house for the first time in two years. #5 Dylan Pereira (LUX/BWT Lechner Racing) secured pole position ahead of #25 Larry ten Voorde (NLD/Team GP Elite). Teammate and Rookie #7 Bastian Buus from Denmark completed the top 3 in the starting grid.
It’s fantastic to see so many fans. The lawn grandstands on the hills add to the great atmosphere of this historic racetrack!
Rain racing in Imola: it doesn’t get more exciting than this!
Five minutes before the scheduled race start at noon on Sunday, heavy rain began to fall over the packed grandstands of the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari. All the 375 kW (515 hp) Cup nine-elevens were quickly fitted with rain tires. The race started behind the safety car, because of the treacherous conditions. Pereira took advantage of his pole position and, with clear track in front of him, quickly pulled away from the chasing pack to claim an unchallenged start to finish victory. His car – like the race cars driven by his teammates Buus and #6 Harry King (GBR/BWT Lechner Racing) – was very stable in the corners. Compared to qualifying runner-up Ten Voorde, he was running with a slightly steeper rear wing position, and so generated more downforce on the rear axle.
I didn’t quite have the speed I’d expected, and that made my race anything but boring. Someone even gave me a nudge twice. So I’m more than happy with second place.
Reigning Supercup champion Ten Voorde had to fend off overtaking attempts by his pursuers for the entire race, which was interrupted by another safety car period. Initially he had Buus on his tail, but after a driving error he dropped back to fifth place. King then tried everything to get past the GP elite nine-eleven.
I started the race from seventh and managed to quickly work my way up to third. If I’d had a couple more laps I might have overtaken Larry, too.
The young British driver passed Porsche Junior #3 Laurin Heinrich (GER/SSR Huber Racing) and Buus. In the chasing pack, the two Frenchmen #19 Dorian Boccolacci (Martinet by Alméras) and #12 Marvin Klein (CLRT) fought an intense duel for 6th place, right until the last lap, when Klein lost important places after skidding.
A good day for BWT Lechner Racing; no home advantage for the Italian teams.
In 7th to 9th were #2 Rudy van Buren (NLD/Huber Racing), Rookies #9 Lorcan Hanafin (GBR/FACH AUTO TECH) and #17 Loek Hartog (NLD/Ombra SRL) as well as another Dutchman, experienced #20 Jaap van Lagen (Martinet by Alméras). The Italian drivers, on the other hand, had a race to forget as they were unable to cope with the slippery conditions on the challenging Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari.
Guest starter for Ombra SRL #29 Leonardo Caglioni got a tarpaulin caught in his windscreen wiper. A braking incident and a trip into the gravel were the result – the safety car had to take to the track again. Dinamic Motorsport's top driver #16 Simone Iaquinta started the race from last place after his problems in the Qualifying Session, and could only work his way up to 24th.
Despite the rain and the delays, it was a wonderful opportunity to kick off this season on the same racetrack that hosted the very first Supercup race back in 1993.
A flying start – all eyes on Round 2 in Monaco.
In fifth place overall, Bastian Buus secured the trophy in the Rookie Classification, ahead of Hanafin and Hartog. The fastest ProAm driver was Norwegian #21 Roar Lindland (Pierre Martinet by Alméras) ahead of #11 Clément Mateu (FRA/CLRT) and #15 P. Sager (AUT/Dinamic Motorsport). The second-fastest ProAm #23 Aaron Mason (GBR/Pierre Martinet by Alméras) received a time penalty after the race, and so dropped back to 4th in the ProAm classification.
Next time, the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup will once again race on one of the most historic Formula 1 circuits: From 26 to 29 May 2022, the international one-make cup will be held in Monaco, together with Formula 1 – a race event no motorsport fan should miss!