Bleekemolen crowns championship with victory at final
With a win at the last race of the season in Abu Dhabi, Jeroen Bleekemolen from the Netherlands crowned his championship campaign in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup. Driving for Konrad Motorsport, the title defender beat his arch rival René Rast (Germany) after a gripping duel and was handed the winner’s trophy by the Chairman of the Supervisory Board at Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG, Dr. Wolfgang Porsche. The distinction for second place was undertaken by Wolfgang Dürheimer, Board Member for Research and Development.
After 14 laps on the new Formula 1 circuit in the UAE, Bleekemolen took a pole-to-flag victory to celebrate his fifth win of the season. Moreover, the Dutchman set a new record in the Supercup: At all 13 rounds of the series, he secured a podium result. However, with the number of race wins, René Rast was a nose ahead: The vice-champion from VELTINS MRS Racing dominated six times.
At the start, only Richard Westbrook (Porsche Cars GB) could match the pace set by Jeroen Bleekemolen and René Rast. However, in just lap two, the Briton, who won the rounds in Barcelona and Monaco this season and who claimed the GT2 class title of the FIA GT Championship in a Porsche 911 GT3 RSR a week ago, had to let the leading pair pull away. Westbrook saw the flag in third ahead of Ireland’s Damien Faulkner (Walter Lechner Racing School) and guest driver Alessandro Balzan (Ebimotors), who had put in a breathtaking charge through the field from 19th. The newly-crowned champion of the Carrera Cup Deutschland, Germany’s Thomas Jäger (Abu Dhabi Race Team), saw the flag in sixth, with seventh position going to Alessandro Zampedri (SPS Performance) ahead of Slovakia’s Stefan Rosina of the Walter Lechner Racing School squad, who secured third overall in the championship.
After Jeroen Bleekemolen had already claimed the championship with his pole-setting time before race one on Saturday, the final decision for further honours after a gripping season had to wait until Sunday: Konrad Motorsport won the team title, New Zealander Matt Halliday (SANITEC RACING) pocketed the Rookie Classification as the best Supercup newcomer.
Jeroen Bleekemolen (winner): “A fantastic race and a super fight with René. I was slightly quicker after the start, he picked up the pace later on. I’m very pleased to have won. It was very tough. It’s great to conclude such a successful season with a victory – you can’t ask for better than that.”
René Rast (second): “Of course, I would have loved to have won and I actually think I was faster than Jeroen. But what does it matter – it wasn’t so bad today. I’m very happy with the vice-championship and six wins this season.”
Richard Westbrook (third): “Third place is a wonderful success for the team. The Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup is one of the most fiercely-contested series. So I knew that Jeroen and René would be hard to beat. They are the quickest drivers so you don’t get to overtake them so easily. Still, it was an extremely encouraging and motivating race.”
1. Jeroen Bleekemolen (NED), Konrad Motorsport, 31:36.446 minutes
2. René Rast (GER), VELTINS MRS Racing, + 0.157 seconds
3. Richard Westbrook (GBR), Porsche Cars GB, + 0.507
4. Damien Faulkner (IRL), Walter Lechner Racing School, + 12.462
5. Alessandro Balzan (ITA), Ebimotors, + 13.251
6. Thomas Jäger (GER), Abu Dhabi Race Team, + 25.075
1. Jeroen Bleekemolen (NED), 254 points
2. René Rast (GER), 207
3. Stefan Rosina (SVK), 164
4. Patrick Huisman (NED), 148
5. Norbert Siedler (AUT), 132
6. Damien Faulkner (IRL), 126