Perfect weather, a fierce duel at the front and 28 determined drivers – only 18 of whom end up crossing the finish line. The start of the season in Monaco was a thrilling prelude to further exciting Porsche Supercup race weekends in 2023!
After the Imola race was cancelled due to bad weather, it was the international one-make cup that kicked off this year's racing season in prestigious Monaco. Monaco double winner and last year's winner, #25 Larry ten Voorde (NLD/Team GP Elite) had his sights on a triple victory in the Principality—an unprecedented feat. But with perfect conditions, the rest of the field weren’t going to make it easy for him and drivers like #3 Harry King (GBR/BWT Lechner Racing), last year's runner-up #11 Dorian Boccolacci (FRA/CLRT) or new Team GP Elite colleague #24 Loek Hartog (NLD) were raring to go. And with the notorious Circuit de Monaco in front of them – with its unpredictable twists and turns – there was no knowing which way it would go.
Larry ten Voorde „take 3“: Pole position again for last year’s winner.
There was drama early on in the practice: Not long after the red flag was waved #10 Pablo Marcelo Otero (ARG/Team Huber Racing) landed his blue and black Porsche 911 GT3 Cup into the barrier just 4 minutes in, causing a 10-minute interruption to the session. This put even more pressure on the rest of the field to pack in more good practice laps. In the end, Ten Voorde secured the best practice time.
The Dutchman excelled in qualifying taking pole position, closely followed by Harry King, whose #1 teammate Bastian Buus (DNK) and three other drivers also finished with a 1:33 time. With his Monaco dreams this year shattered, Otero was out of the race after colliding with the barrier and failing the 107% qualifying rule.
I think I would have got even faster towards the end. But on the laps with the second set of tires I made too many mistakes.
All of the 2023 rookies showed respect for the track, but also skill and precision. The fastest young racer in qualifying was also a driver from the Netherlands representing GP Elite. In eighth fastest, #28 Huub van Eijndhoven narrowly relegated two other Supercup rookies to ninth and tenth – Italian #15 Giorgio Amati (Dinamic Motorsport) and South African #18 Keagan Masters (Ombra Racing). Rookie #2 Harri Jones (AUS/BWT Lechner Racing) also held his own in the midfield and started Sunday's race from P12.
Harry King saw, passed - and won.
The race in Monaco delivered its biggest surprise within the first few seconds: Larry ten Voorde got off to a less than optimal start at grid position one and lost the acceleration fight at the first corner to Harry King. The Briton, who celebrated his first victory in the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland just four weeks ago, went on to defend his lead seemingly effortlessly. In the early stages Ten Voorde kept the pressure up. But a safety car phase at the end of the race put paid to his dreams of victory.
My car went like a dream. I could have even upped the pace, but I didn’t want to take on an unnecessarily high risk.
Third place on the podium went to Porsche Junior Bastian Buus who held a commanding lead over Loek Hartog and Dorian Boccolacci until the safety car intervention on lap 12. While most of the race’s 10 retirements could be resolved under yellow flag, the race control had to send the safety car onto the track on lap 12 of 17 because of a 911 GT3 Cup that got stranded at a barrier. With recovery not happening immediately, the race came to an end behind the lead car.
The first race of the season in Monaco threw big challenges at the drivers and teams. However, they all mastered them exceptionally and treated fans along the racetrack to some great motor racing. It’s a pity that the race ended behind the safety car, but we could still see that the level of competition is very high this year.
In it to win it: 3 Rookies make the top ten.
Victory in the rookie classification went to Huub van Eijndhoven. The Dutchman finished in seventh place ahead of Giorgio Amati and Harri Jones. In total, seven of the 10 rookies saw the checkered flag – a respectable performance at the race in Monte Carlo.
Overall positions at the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup after Round 1 in Monaco
The next stop of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup is Spielberg in Styria. As part of the Austrian Grand Prix from June 30 to July 2, the hunt to catch the championship leader Harry King will be on. His team BWT Lechner Racing are local heroes and traditionally strong at the Red Bull Ring. But, as usual, results on the day are what count – even in the "Motorsport Mountains".