At the beginning of the race weekend in Hungary, Harry King was still feeling the disappointment about his early elimination at Silverstone. But in the end, he and BWT Lechner Racing were in a party mood. But first things first…
The 4th round of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup didn't start as expected: at practice on Friday there was rain instead of sun and the temperatures were unusually low for Budapest. Nevertheless, teams and drivers approached the sessions with great ambition – much to the delight of the tens of thousands of motorsport fans who populated the grandstands and green areas at the Hungaroring for the Formula 1 Hungarian Grand Prix.
To pole in record time.
#12 Benjamin Paque (BEL/CLRT) finished practice with the fastest lap before heavy rain set in – the rookie was running fast all weekend. He was followed by the two Dutchmen #4 Morris Schuring (FACH AUTO TECH) and #14 Jaap van Lagen (Dinamic Motorsport). The former Formula 1 driver Timo Glock, starting as a VIP Driver in the 5,000th Porsche 911 GT3 Cup with golden livery, approached the session cautiously. Unlike the other drivers in the field, he had completed far fewer hours in the cockpit of the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
In qualifying, #3 Harry King (GBR/BWT Lechner Racing) showed mental strength and left the frustration about his performance at Silverstone far behind. Contrary to his pit radio statement in England after the crash – "The Championship is over!" – he was fully focused in Budapest and took pole with a track temperature of 42 degrees. He also drove the fastest qualifying lap of a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup on the Hungaroring in the Porsche Supercup. King shared the first row of the grid with his competitor #11 Dorian Boccolacci (FRA/CLRT), who also struggled at Silverstone.
Starting from pole position for the first time in the Supercup is exactly the motivation I needed after the retirement from the last race at Silverstone.
The second starting row was led up by #1 Bastian Buus (DNK/BWT Lechner Racing) alongside Paque. Australian #2 Harri Jones started from fifth position, rounding off the strong team performance of BWT Lechner Racing. Only two teams shared the 5 top spots on the grid – also a rarity for the Supercup. #25 Larry ten Voorde (NLD/Team GP Elite) had to settle for sixth place and improve in the race in order not to lose the chance to compete with the leaders in the championship.
Two yellow phases and a proud winner.
A good start is crucial, especially at the Hungaroring with its few overtaking opportunities – and Harry King did exactly that at 12:04 p.m. on Sunday. A few meters behind him, however, it was tight while Boccolacci, Buus and Paque tried to get past each other – in vain. After the first corners, the leaders sorted themselves in the starting order King/Boccolacci/Buus, only Ten Voorde managed to successfully attack Paque and jump to 4th position.
In midfield, there were plenty of exciting moments throughout the race, though not all with a happy ending: After a duel between #26 Lucas Groeneveld (NLD/Team GP Elite) and #16 Gianmarco Quaresmini (ITA/Dinamic Motorsport), both drivers had to park their cars. On lap 2, the safety car came out for the first time following a collision between #15 Giorgio Amati (ITA/Dinamic Motorsport) and #27 Ghislain Cordeel (BEL/GP Elite). In the end, #22 Alessandro Ghiretti (FRA/Martinet by Alméras) and #9 Jorge Lorenzo (ITA/Huber Racing) completed the list of retirements.
For me, the most exciting moment was the start – I didn't take off in the best way. In the first corner I had Bastian Buus in my left wing mirror and my teammate Benjamin Paque in my right. Fortunately, I was able to prevail.
After the first safety car phase, King was able to open up a lead of over three seconds. The Briton also set a new Porsche Supercup lap record for the Hungaroring. But a second safety car phase towards the end of the race wiped out his advantage and the last lap got exciting again. However, King also nailed the second flying start at the front and carried his starting position along with Boccolacci and Buus to the finish. Larry ten Voorde ensured a spot in the championship fight with a 4th place finish.
I think I could have overtaken Dorian if the race had gone normally. In some corners I was faster than him. The safety car must have robbed me of that chance.
Five rookies and Timo Glock in top 15.
Finishing fifth, Benjamin Paque clinched his first win in the 2023 Rookie Classification. The 18-year-old completed the strong performance of the CLRT team. “My start was perfect and I even fought for second place with Dorian and Bastian. I wasn't able to assert myself, but I'm overjoyed with my best Supercup result so far," said the Belgian. Alongside him on the Rookie Podium were Harri Jones and Dutchman #28 Huub van Eijndhoven (GP Elite).
VIP Driver Timo Glock also experienced an eventful race. Starting from position 24, the Hessian was involved in numerous duels in the midfield – including a spin in which he was able to skilfully catch his Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. In the end he finished 15th and would have gotten one championship point as a permanent driver. "I was afraid the guys would completely outdrive me. Luckily that wasn't the case," he said about his guest appearance. Incidentally, his weekend in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup is also the subject of a documentary by the TV channel Sky Sport, where Glock accompanies Formula 1.
Overall standings of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup after Round 4 in Budapest
At the top of the table, a 4-way battle emerges. Buus stays on top – his closest pursuer is now teammate King, not Ten Voorde, who is only 2 points ahead of Boccolacci. But the next opportunity to change that is just around the corner, because the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup is traveling directly from Budapest to Spa-Francorchamps. There the series starts in its second half – the circuit known as the Ardennes roller coaster is the perfect stage.