Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup, round 2 at the Grand Prix of Bahrain, Race report

Perfect start to the season for René Rast

Notching up two victories on the Bahrain International Circuit, René Rast from Germany kicked off the new season of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup. After winning the season-opener on Saturday he repeated his success in Sunday’s race with the new Porsche 911 GT3 Cup fielded by Al Faisal Lechner Racing ahead of his Dutch teammate Jeroen Bleekemolen. Third position went to Supercup newcomer Nicholas Tandy (Konrad Motorsport) from Great Britain. Dr. Wolfgang Porsche, Chairman of the Supervisory Board at Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG, and Wolfgang Dürheimer, Member of the Executive Board for Research and Development, handed the winners their trophies.

In temperatures of almost 40 degrees, René Rast made a superb getaway from pole position to pull clear of the field. Title defender Jeroen Bleekemolen, who last year himself won the two season-opening rounds in the desert kingdom, also got away well and overtook Nicholas Tandy to snatch second. The Briton was also forced to let Slovakian Stefan Rosina pass (Lechner Racing), but managed to bag him again three laps before the flag to take a podium result.

A cliff-hanger fight also raged behind the top three, with Norbert Siedler dominating. Driving for VELTINS MRS Racing, the Austrian secured fifth place behind Stefan Rosina after setting the fastest lap in Saturday’s race to finish only 23rd. Sixth went to New Zealander Matt Halliday (SANITEC/GILTRAP Racing). The winner of the 2009 Rookie of the Year classification relegated Supercup specialist Alessandro Zampedri (Lechner Racing) from Italy to seventh.

From the dogged battle for positions which provided suspense and drama in the midfield, Tim Bridgman from Britain came out on top. Competing for Schnabl Engineering/Team Parker Racing, the reigning champion of the Carrera Cup Great Britain saw the flag in eighth ahead of Germany’s Sascha Maassen (Team Abu Dhabi by tolimit). Tenth position was occupied by Sebastiaan Bleekemolen (Team Bleekemolen/Harders Plaza) from the Netherlands, brother of the double Supercup champion Jeroen.

Drivers’ comments
René Rast (winner): “What a perfect weekend. Two pole positions and two wins – it doesn’t get better than that. I hadn’t expected such success. I actually thought Jeroen would win the season-opening races. So of course I’m ecstatic and very optimistic for the rest of the season. It can go on like this.”

Jeroen Bleekemolen (second): “It’s a great shame I wasn’t quick enough for a podium result yesterday at race one. Still, today was better. René was quicker towards the beginning then I caught him at the end but I really didn’t get a good chance to overtake him. Perhaps I should have pushed harder at the start instead of trying to preserve my tyres. But I’m pleased. All in all, it looks very good for us.”

Nicholas Tandy (third): “These were my first Supercup races in Bahrain so I’m very happy with the result. Thanks to my team. You could see how well my car was prepared by the fact that I finished on the podium despite my slow start.”

Race result
1. René Rast (GER), Al Faisal Lechner Racing, 25:51.077 minutes
2. Jeroen Bleekemolen (NED), Al Faisal Lechner Racing, + 2.171 seconds
3. Nicholas Tandy (GBR), Konrad Motorsport, + 4.494
4. Stefan Rosina (SVK), Lechner Racing, + 7.029
5. Norbert Siedler (AUT), VELTINS MRS Racing, + 9.067
6. Matt Halliday (NZL), SANITEC/GILTRAP Racing, + 15.561

Drivers’ classification after 2 of 10 races
1. René Rast (GER), 44 points
2. Stefan Rosina (SVK), 32
3. Jeroen Bleekemolen (NED), 30
Nicholas Tandy (GBR), 30
5. Jan Seyffarth (GER), 21
6. Sascha Maassen (GER), 16
Alessandro Zampedri (ITA), 16

BBS special classification “Rookie of the Year” after 2 of 10 races
1. Nicholas Tandy (GBR), 30 points
2. Tim Bridgman (GBR), 13
3. Christian Engelhart (GER), 10

Round 3 of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup takes place on 9 May as support to the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona.

image and text courtesy Porsche