First Supercup pole for Nicki ThiimStuttgart. A premiere for Nicki Thiim in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup: On the Grand Prix circuit of Spa-Francorchamps, the Hermes Attempto Racing pilot from Denmark posted his first pole position in the world’s fastest international one-make race series at the wheel of the 450 hp Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, which is based on the street-legal lightweight 911 GT3 RS sports cars. In qualifying for the ninth and penultimate race of the season, the son of the former DTM champion Kurt Thiim was 0.105 seconds faster than René Rast (Germany) of the Lechner Racing Team.
Setting the third quickest time on the demanding circuit in Belgium’s Ardennes region under cool and dry conditions, Britain’s Sean Edwards (Konrad Motorsport) kept a hand in his bid for the title. Sharing the second grid row for Sunday’s race next to the Monaco winner is Frenchman Kévin Estre (Hermes Attempto Racing), the current points’ leader and winner of the Budapest round. Occupying the fifth grid spot is VERVA Racing Team pilot and last year’s winner in Spa, Kuba Giermaziak (Poland). Jaap van Lagen (FE Racing by Land-Motorsport) from the Netherlands, who normally contests the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland, achieved the sixth quickest time as the best guest driver.
Norbert Siedler’s title chances received a potentially decisive setback. Competing for the VELTINS Lechner Racing squad, the Austrian had to settle for the seventh grid spot for tomorrow’s race. His teammate Michael Ammermüller (Germany), who is fighting Nicki Thiim for the rookie classification, finished the qualifying only as ninth. Between them, Germany’s Christian Engelhart (Konrad Motorsport), winner of one of the Budapest races, has now lost his title campaign chances. Rounding off the top ten on the grid is Jeroen Mul (Team Bleekemolen) from the Netherlands.
Porsche Junior Klaus Bachler, who contests the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland and for whom Spa marks only his second guest appearance in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup, put in a respectable performance on the difficult track. At the wheel of the 911 GT3 Cup fielded by the Deutsche Post by tolimit team, the Austrian was clocked in the top ten until shortly before the end of the session. The youngster starts from 14th.
Nicki Thiim (pole-sitter): “It’s like in a dream. My first Supercup pole - in Spa of all places. This is a big emotional moment. The weekend has run perfectly to now and I hope that I can bring home my first Supercup win for my team and me tomorrow. Heading to the final in Monza, it would give me a huge advantage in my rookie classification campaign.”
René Rast (second in qualifying): “I’m not at all happy. I was right up there in qualifying and in my final lap with the second set of tyres I drove a new best time in the first sector. That would easily have been enough for the pole. But then I encountered a slower car which blocked me over the entire lap. I’m interested to see what the stewards will say. Such a thing is simply not on.”
Sean Edwards (third in qualifying): “A quicker lap would definitely have been possible. The car set up is good so I’m feeling confident heading into the race. I have nothing to lose, we’ll be going all out for victory.”
1. Nicki Thiim (DK), Hermes Attempto Racing, 2:23.920 minutes
2. René Rast (D), Lechner Racing Team, + 0.105 seconds
3. Sean Edwards (GB), Konrad Motorsport, + 0.425
4. Kévin Estre (F), Hermes Attempto Racing, + 0.451
5. Kuba Giermaziak (PL), VERVA Racing Team, + 0.454
6. Jaap van Lagen (NL), FE Racing by Land-Motorsport), + 0.551
14. Klaus Bachler (A), Team Deutsche Post by tolomit, + 1.994
The race on Sunday is broadcast live by TV stations Eurosport (11.45 hrs) and Sky (11.40 hrs). Moreover, Eurosport also airs highlights on Monday at 9.30 hours in its “Motorsport Weekend Magazin”.