In a turbulent wet race at Spielberg in Austria, the 21 year old relegated Spaniard Alexander Toril (Market Leader Team by Project 1) and the Austrian Philipp Eng (Team Deutsche Post by Project 1) to the second and third podium steps. “My first victory in the Porsche! Fi- nally it’s worked. That’s brilliant. My strategy with the wet tyres paid off. It can rain again in the future,” concluded an overjoyed Schmidt after his race victory.
After heavy rainfall on Sunday morning, the rain stopped just before the start of the race. As the drivers headed out on their formation lap with their 460 hp Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars, most of the pilots had opted for slicks. Just a few vehicles in the back- field were shod with wet tyres. But the weather situation on the damp Red Bull Ring took a different turn: It began to rain again – at first only on several sections of the track, and then with increasing force over the entire race circuit. Eng, who had taken up the race from pole position, had to let Schmidt and Elia Erhart (D/TECE MRS- Racing) past on the wet circuit. Schmidt came from sixth on wet tyres, with Erhart sweeping through the field from fourteenth. When numerous drivers skidded from the track in the first lap, the safety car was deployed.
Whilst almost all other drivers returned to the pits to change tyres during the safety car phase, Schmidt, Erhart and Toril turned their laps unperturbed. But behind them a dramatic scene played out: Eng, who pitted for a tyre change a little late shortly after the caution phase, fell back to position 16. From there, the current series leader doggedly battled his way up the order. After eleven laps, the safety car was sent out again when Alex Riberas (E/The Heart of Racing by Lechner), still running on dry tyres, took a trip into the gravel trap. When the race went green again, Schmidt sur- prised his pursuers and reached the finish line with a 7.5-second advantage over Toril.
“What a dream! I started from 17th and, of course, the decision to run on wets was risky. But to climb the podium in second is awesome,” explained Toril. In heavy rain, Eng managed to overtake Erhart in the last lap to salvage the third podium spot. “That was one of the most incredible races I’ve ever contested. After the pit stop I was far down the field but I wanted that podium spot no matter what. And luckily I did it,” said Eng.
Fourth place for Erhart marks his best result of the season so far. Porsche Junior Connor de Phillippi (USA/Land-Motorsport) also changed to wets late and finished on fifth: “The entire race was completely crazy. When I started on slicks, the rain had made the track so slippery you couldn’t really drive in a straight line. I even scraped the crash barriers so I’m very happy with fifth place.” Robert Renauer (D/Herberth Motorsport) saw the flag in sixth place ahead of the 17-year-old guest driver Mattia Drudi (I/Dinamic Motorsport), who normally contests the Porsche Carrera Cup Italia.
Eighth place went to Ben Barker (GB/Land-Motorsport). With three laps to the flag, Porsche Junior Matteo Cairoli (I/Team Deutsche Post by Project 1) was running in fourth, but while attempting to overtake in a battle for a podium position, he locked horns with Toril and dropped back to ninth. “I’m really annoyed because the race could have turned out very differently for me. The team and I will take another good look,” said Cairoli.
Tenth place was occupied by Michael Ammermüller (D/The Heart of Racing by Lechner). Porsche Junior Sven Müller (D/Lechner Racing Middle East) retired in the first lap on dry tyres. “I can simply write this weekend off. It’s tough going home without any points, but I know what I have to work on. And that’s what I’ll do,” declared Müller.
Philipp Eng from Austria currently dominates the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland. The 25 year old won race ten of the championship on Saturday at Spielberg at the wheel of his 460 hp Porsche 911 GT3 Cup ahead of Robert Renauer (D/Herberth Motorsport) and Christian Engelhart (D/TECE MRS-Racing). “Right now everything is going brilliantly. I climb into my car and enjoy the adrenaline rush during the race. Today, however, it was a really close call. Two drivers collided right beside me,” said Eng, who competes for the Deutsche Post by Project 1 squad. So far this year, the Salzburg racer has climbed the podium eight times, with the Red Bull Ring success marking his fifth win of the season.
During Saturday morning’s qualifying session, Eng clinched pole position for both Saturday’s and Sunday’s race, making his pole tally for the season six. At the start of race ten, however, Eng was beaten off the line by Porsche Junior Sven Müller (D/Lechner Racing Middle East), but by the end of the first lap he had reclaimed his position at the front of the field. A collision between Alex Riberas (E/The Heart of Racing by Lechner) and Christopher Zöchling (A/Konrad Motorsport) brought out the safety car after lap two. When the field went green again, the gap at the front had closed. In formation, Eng, Müller and Michael Ammermüller (D/The Heart of Racing by Lechner) flew up the hill wheel on wheel at 230 km/h.
In the heat of the battle, the two Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars of the Lechner teammates Müller and Ammermüller touched, putting an early end to their race. This opened the door for Eng to bring home an undisputed victory. “The collision is, of course, really annoying and I first have to analyze everything. But right now I’m just disappointed,” said Müller.
After the crash, Renauer and Engelhart inherited second and third. “Every now and then you just have to wait for luck,” said Renault with a smile after climbing the podi- um in second. Engelhart was also pleased: “I came from seventh to finish third, which earns me very important points towards the championship. The spectators were treated to some incredibly exciting racing with lots of spectacular overtaking manoeuvres.”
Races 12 and 13 of the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland will be contested at Oschersleben from 11 to 13 September.
1. Philipp Eng (A/Team Deutsche Post by Project 1)
2. Robert Renauer (D/Herberth Motorsport)
3. Christian Engelhart (D/TECE MRS-Racing)
4. Jeffrey Schmidt (CH/Lechner Racing Middle East)
5. Mattia Drudi (I/Dinamic Motorsport)
6. Ben Barker (GB/Land-Motorsport)
7. Alex Toril (E/Market Leader Team by Project 1)
8. Richard Goddard (AUS/TECE MRS-Racing)
9. Elia Erhart (D/TECE MRS-Racing)
10. Matteo Cairoli (I/Team Deutsche Post by Project 1)
1. Jeffrey Schmidt (CH/Lechner Racing Middle East)
2. Alex Toril (E/Market Leader Team by Project 1)
3. Philipp Eng (A/Team Deutsche Post by Project 1)
4. Elia Erhart (D/TECE MRS-Racing)
5. Connor de Phillippi (USA/Land-Motorsport)
6. Robert Renauer (D/Herberth Motorsport) 7. Mattia Drudi (I/Dinamic Motorsport)
8. Ben Barker (GB/Land-Motorsport)
9. Matteo Cairoli (I/Team Deutsche Post by Project 1)
10. Michael Ammermüller (D/The Heart of Racing by Lechner)
Points’ standings after 11 of 17 races:
1. Philipp Eng (A/Team Deutsche Post by Project 1), 190 points
2. Jeffrey Schmidt (CH/Lechner Racing Middle East), 135 points
3. Christian Engelhart (D/TECE MRS-Racing), 125 points
4. Michael Ammermüller (D/The Heart of Racing by Lechner), 114 points
5. Alex Riberas (E/The Heart of Racing by Lechner), 112 points
1. Team Deutsche Post by Project 1, 261 points
2. The Heart of Racing by Lechner, 227 points
3. Lechner Racing Middle East, 218 points