The 27-year-old professional pilot from Bruck an der Mur won Sunday’s round at Spielberg for the Swiss team Fach Auto Tech after being signed on at short notice to contest the race as a substitute for the squad’s regular driver. “I’m absolutely thrilled with my first place, especially since it was a last minute deal. It’s incredible for the team and me,” remarked Zöchling with a huge grin. An Austrian also clinched position two: With his result, Philipp Eng (A/Market Leader Team by Project 1) from Salzburg has now moved to the top of the points’ table of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup. Third place went to Spaniard Alex Riberas (E/The Heart of Racing by Lechner).
The third of eleven rounds treated spectators in the packed grandstands to thrills and spills at the Red Bull Ring. Many overtaking manoeuvres and bumper-to-bumper duels amongst the 28-strong field from 14 countries got the motorsport fans’ hearts racing. Directly after the start, the race was thrown into a turmoil by the front pack around pole-sitter Connor de Phillippi (USA/VERVA Lechner Racing Team). De Philippi managed to get away cleanly off the line to settle in at the front. Coming from second, Eng became sandwiched between Porsche Junior Sven Müller (D/Lechner Racing Middle East) and Michael Ammermüller (D/Lechner Racing Middle East) which threw him down the field to fifth.
The eventual winner Zöchling gained two positions to slip into third place. Spectators were treated to gripping duels over the 16 laps. Zöchling gradually closed the gap to the front runner and finally overtook de Phillippi in the sixth lap. Eng also battled his way up the order and from lap seven the two Austrians were running in first and second. “I can’t recall ever having such a terrible start to a race,” said Eng. “It wasn’t easy working my way to the front. It’s great that my second place today has put me at the top of the championship.”
Porsche Junior de Phillippi (USA/VERVA Lechner Racing Team) struggled with the car setup and was overtaken by Riberas. After Barcelona and Monte Carlo, the Spaniard again picked up critical points towards the championship and was thrilled with his third place. “That was a really difficult race, but the overtaking was great fun and it was a fair race. I’m happy to take a trophy home,” said Riberas after the award ceremony. De Phillippi ultimately had to settle for fourth and analysed: “That wasn’t exactly what I’d hoped for. Somehow my vehicle setup wasn’t quite right and I had little grip in the corners.”
Christian Engelhart (D/MRS GT-Racing) took up the race from tenth in his Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, which is based on the lightweight 911 GT3 sports car, and crossed the finish line in fifth. Robert Lukas (PL/Förch Racing by Lukas Motorsport) scored sixth ahead of Porsche Junior Matteo Cairoli (I/Market Leader Team by Project 1). “There was a lot of action out there on the track today. I managed to make up six positions. It’s not that easy,” said Cairoli, who had qualified for the Porsche sponsorship in a selection process. The rookie driver from Switzerland Philipp Frommenwiler (Fach Auto Tech) notched up his best result so far in the Supercup with eighth place. Ammermüller ranked ninth ahead of Porsche Junior Müller, who had become entangled in a collision. “Unfortunately someone drove into the side of my car and I lost places. Stupid,” said a disappointed Müller.
With ninth place, Ammermüller was unable to earn enough points to retain the championship lead and had to relinquish his position to Eng. 25-year-old Eng, who comes to the series as the reigning champion of the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland, leads with 50 points over Engelhart with 42 points to his credit. Ammermüller ranks third overall with 39 points ahead of Riberas on 38 points.
The next race weekend of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup is contested from 3rd to 5th July at Silverstone in Great Britain. Local race driver Ben Barker (MOMO-Megatron Team Partrax) comes from the nearby city of Oxford. Barker’s teammate Cameron Twynham lives in Harborough about 45 minutes from the Silverstone circuit. Joining the two registered Supercup pilots from Britain for the Silverstone round are a number of drivers from the Porsche Carrera Cup Great Britain. As guest starters in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup, they get the chance to gain some initial experience in the higher class of the international one-make race series.
1. Christopher Zöchling (A/Fach Auto Tech)
2. Philipp Eng (A/Market Leader Team by Project 1)
3. Alex Riberas (E/The Heart of Racing by Lechner)
4. Connor de Phillippi (USA/VERVA Lechner Racing Team)
5. Christian Engelhart (D/MRS GT-Racing)
6. Robert Lukas (PL/Förch Racing by Lukas Motorsport)
7. Matteo Cairoli (I/Market Leader Team by Project 1)
8. Philipp Frommenwiler (CH/Fach Auto Tech)
9. Michael Ammermüller (D/Lechner Racing Middle East)
10. Sven Müller (D/Lechner Racing Middle East)
Points’ standings after 3 of 11 races:
1. Philipp Eng (A/Market Leader Team by Project 1), 50 Punkte
2. Christian Engelhart (D/MRS GT-Racing), 42
3. Michael Ammermüller (D/Lechner Racing Middle East), 39
4. Alex Riberas (E/The Heart of Racing by Lechner), 38
5. Kuba Giermaziak (PL/VERVA Lechner Racing Team), 29
6. Connor de Phillippi (USA/VERVA Lechner Racing Team), 28
7. Ben Barker (GB/MOMO-Megatron Team Partrax), 23
8. Jaap van Lagen (NL/Fach Auto Tech), 20
1. Côme Ledogar (F/Martinet by Almeras), 19 Punkte
2. Matteo Cairoli (I/Market Leader Team by Project 1), 19
3. Philipp Frommenwiler (CH/Fach Auto Tech), 16
1. Market Leader Team by Project 1, 70 Punkte
2. VERVA Lechner Racing Team, 58
3. Fach Auto Tech, 57