Sean Edwards aims to keep title fight open with second season win
Stuttgart. It’s all on in the Porsche Mobil1 Supercup: Just one week after the race on the Nuerburgring, the world’s fastest international one-make series heads into the final phase of a thrilling season on the Hungaroring on July 31st. On the demanding Grand Prix circuit not far from Budapest René Rast from Germany aims to extend his lead in the overall classification with VELTINS Lechner Racing’s Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
So far this season, the title defender has taken home victories from Monaco, the Nuerburgring-Nordschleife, Silverstone and last weekend from the Grand Prix circuit of the Nuerburgring. And now comes the 4,378 kilometre Hungaroring track as his all-time favourite. “This circuit suits me, I feel really good on this track,” says the 2009 champion and third place-getter last year. “At the moment our team is riding a real high. We have to take this momentum with us to Budapest, then we’ll be right up there again.”
There is one rival who is determined to put a spoke in the works, and that is Britain’s Sean Edwards driving for the Abu Dhabi by tolimit team. Currently ranking second in the championship with a victory in Barcelona to his credit, Edwards is eager to use all his skills to hamper René Rast’s charge and reduce the gap to the leader. “If René wins in Budapest,” he says, “then it’s going to be really, really tough to catch him. But I don’t give up that easily. As long as I have a shot at the title I’ll be out there gunning for it.”
On the circuit where the iron curtain was raised in 1986 for Formula 1 and on which the Porsche Mobil1 Supercup has raced every year since 1993, the competition has always been hot – and not just because of the sweltering summer temperatures in Hungary at this time of year. Overtaking is only possible if the driver in front makes a mistake, and the way to victory is tough on this track. Only one Supercup pilot has won on the Hungaroring more than once: Patrick Huisman. The Dutchman from the Bleekemolen squad has notched up five wins in Hungary. It’s no surprise that he is looking forward to the race. “The circuit offers extremely diverse challenges,” he says, “the chicanes are particularly interesting. That’s what I love.”
Christian Engelhart, the Konrad Motorsport pilot from Germany and winner of the season-opener in Istanbul, also likes the Hungaroring, in particular the flowing mid-section with its rapid succession of chicanes. “At times you have to turn very, very early in order to get through the next corner well,” he says. “I also like how the track follows the contours of the countryside and that in some places you drive straight towards the grandstands. This way, you get direct feedback from the fans.” Last year’s winner Nick Tandy (Konrad Motorsport) would very likely welcome some good feedback. A lot is at stake for the Briton. Points alone will probably not be enough for last year’s vice-champion to pose any serious threat to front-runner René Rast and to stay in the race for the title. What he needs is his first win.
For Mathias Lauda (Konrad Motorsport Austria) a maiden victory in the Porsche Mobil1 Supercup is still a distant prospect. Still, as a newcomer in the Supercup, the son of racing legend Niki Lauda is finding his stride. “It was hard at the beginning, I couldn’t do any testing. And on many of the circuits I simply didn’t have the experience,” says the Austrian, who seemed pleased with his improving form recently on the Nuerburgring where he narrowly missed out on a top ten placing with eleventh. “Racing against such strong competition teaches me a lot. One thing’s for sure: My really great races are still to come.”
The race in Budapest will be televised live by TV stations Eurosport 2 (11.30 hours) and Sky Sport 2 (11.40 hrs) on 31 July. Moreover, Eurosport broadcasts highlights of the race on Sunday at 17.30 hrs in its “Motorsport Weekend Magazin” programme.
Points’ standings after 6 of 9 races
1. René Rast (D), 105 points
2. Sean Edwards (GB), 90
3. Norbert Siedler (A), 83
4. Nick Tandy (GB), 72
5. Kuba Giermaziak (PL), 70
6. Jeroen Bleekemolen (NL), 68
BBS rookie classification
1. Kévin Estre (F), 50 points
1. VELTINS Lechner Racing, 182 points
2. Team Abu Dhabi by tolimit, 156
3. Konrad Motorsport, 132