Just seven days on from Spa, the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup arrived at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza in Italy on Saturday for round eight of what is turning into a vintage season of our international GT3 championship.
Qualifying was a rollercoaster, with several names topping time sheets. Mikkel Pedersen was the first to set the fastest time, followed by Porsche Junior Jaxon Evans and lead rookie Ayhancan Güven. Switching to a fresh tyres in the final phase, Pedersen again lapped fastest, but was deposed by defending champion Michael Ammermüller with just minutes to spare. Güven then posted a superb 1:49.295 minutes, only for Evans to better him by just 0.043 seconds.
“I can’t really find the words to describe how I’m feeling,” said the young New Zealander. “The first chicane here is really tight, so the pole is pretty important to reduce the risk of colliding with another vehicle after the start.” Güven joined Evans on the front row, with third taken by Larry ten Voorde. Ammermüller and Dylan Pereira rounded off the top five, with championship leader Julien Andlauer back in a disappointing 13th.
A total of 32 drivers lined up on the famously fast 5.8 km circuit the following day. Pole-sitter Evans would lead the 32-strong field through the first chicane, but made heavy contact with an attacking Güven. Evans lost several positions in the incident, while Güven managed to stay on track and take the lead. The young Turk defended his position to the flag, some 15 laps later, but was subsequently handed a five-second penalty for the collision with Evans.
This meant that Güven’s closest rival, Dutchman ten Voorde, was handed his maiden victory in Supercup, becoming the fifth driver to win a round so far this season. “I got goose bumps when I stood on the podium and heard the Dutch national anthem playing,” said a jubilant ten Voorde. “My start was good but I also benefited slightly from the collision in the first corner.”
Title contender Ammermüller followed ten Voorde over the line to collect some vital points that now see him in outright control of the championship. “The key factor was that I got through the first corner unscathed,” explained Ammermüller. “Afterward I waited for Joey Mawson to make a mistake. My patience paid off.”
Australian rookie Mawson had managed to fend off the experienced two-time champ for 10 of the 15 laps before he was passed, and nevertheless made his maiden trip to the Supercup podium. “That was a fantastic race with a super result for me,” said Mawson. “Unfortunately, a minor error cost me second place. Still, I’m delighted to make it to the podium.”
Fourth place went to Mikkel Pedersen, with the penalised Güven relegated to fifth, one spot ahead of Evans. Following Evans over the line were Dylan Pereira and Al Faisal Al Zubair, with a frustrated Andlauer forced to retire before the end of the race. The 20-year-old slid off the track on the third lap and badly damaged his car. “I was going really well and managed to progress from 13th up to fifth place, which makes my retirement even more upsetting.”
The championship title will now be decided at the finale in Mexico City from 25 to 27 October. Forty points are still up for grabs at the doubleheader event, where Ammermüller (110 points), ten Voorde (96 points), Porsche Junior Julien Andlauer (92 points) and Ayhancan Güven (88 points) all still have a chance to claim the crown.