Stuttgart. It promises to be an unparalleled duel: Both remaining contenders for the title of the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland take up the finale sharing the first row of the grid.
In a gripping qualifying, points’ leader Nick Tandy claimed the pole position in the very last minute at the wheel of Konrad Motorsport’s Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
The Briton lapped the 4.574 kilometre Hockenheimring in 1:41.506 minutes – and was a mere 33-thousandths of a second faster than his greatest adversary for the title, compatriot Sean Edwards (Deutsche Post by tolimit).
After three wins this season, Tandy leads the overall classification by twelve points over Edwards. At the final round in Hockenheim, eighth place would be enough for him to clinch the coveted title. Last year he took off into the final as the pursuer, but had to retire after an accident and concluded the season as vice champion behind Nicolas Armindo.
The other driver in the 2010 accident was none other than Sean Edwards. The arch rival from Britain, who celebrated his first Carrera Cup victory this year on the Norisring, must finish at least fourth tomorrow in order to have a chance at the title.
In the inaugural special category for guest starters, Raffi Bader from Switzerland (MRS Team PZ Aschaffenburg) is in the lead.
With a total of 30 vehicles competing, Germany’s fastest one-make race series is well-supported at the season final. And the qualifying for all participants again underlined the enormous competitiveness in this championship: 20 drivers qualified within one second.
Heading into the 18-lap sprint, which starts at 10.25 Sunday morning, is the champion of the international Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup René Rast (Germany, Förch Racing), and the former Porsche Junior Martin Ragginger.
Rast still has a chance to defend his title at the Supercup finale in Abu Dhabi. In the German Carrera Cup he will concentrate on bringing home a decent final result after a somewhat mixed season, in which the highlight for Rast was his win at the Carrera World Cup on the Nürburgring. However, third overall is still within reach for the German. Schnabl Engineering pilot Ragginger is also setting his hopes on a conciliatory close to the season. The Austrian takes up the finale ranking seventh overall in the standings.
Sharing the third grid row are two other experienced Carrera Cup pilots. Robert Renauer (Germany, Herberth Motorsport) kicked off the season in May in Hockenheim with the pole position, but only contested selected rounds and is therefore out of contention for the title.
The winner of last year’s Carrera Cup finale, Christian Engelhart (Germany), also missed some of the races this year due to his commitments in the Supercup where he has pocketed one victory.
Franz Konrad signed Engelhart on for the last two races of the German Cup to provide support for his title aspirant Tandy if needed – and to yield points towards the team classification.
Taking up the sprint from the seventh grid spot is the reigning champion Nicolas Armindo (France, Hermes Attempto Racing), which is a reflection of his difficult season. The Frenchman currently sits twelfth in the standings.
Lining up alongside him is Robert Lukas (Förch Racing).
This season the Pole finished amongst the top ten four times. Surprisingly, a Carrera Cup newcomer finds himself on position nine: Philipp Eng (Austria, MRS Team PZ Aschaffenburg) hails from single-seater racing
and is supported by ex-Formula 1 driver Christian Danner. Tenth on the grid is occupied by Clemens Schmid (Austria, Herberth Motorsport).
Nick Tandy (pole-sitter):
“That was the first part of the weekend, the second and most important part is the race and the championship title. Sean has managed to set himself up in a good position for the race which should provide some excitement tomorrow. But I will be doing all I can to get a clean start which is something I’ve managed a lot this season. My goal then is to get away from Sean as quickly as possible.”
Sean Edwards (second in qualifying):
“I’m very happy with my second position in qualifying. Nick has more to lose than me so my plan for tomorrow is to attack. My car is well set-up and aside from my title ambitions I’ll be going all out to win the team classification.”
René Rast (third in qualifying):
“After not making any progress yesterday in the free practice I’m feeling very relieved today. When you look at how incredibly close the times are, third is not so bad. Starting behind Nick and Sean gives me a first row seat. Because the two are fighting for the championship, I even have a good chance to win the last race.”
The race is broadcast live tomorrow on the offical website of the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland from 11.20 hours (www.porsche.de/carreracup).
On 28 October, TV station Sport1 televises the race review, interviews and reports of the finale from 17.30 to 18.00 hours in the Carrera Cup Magazin and broadcasts a one-hour highlight programme of the Carrera Cup Deutchland on 29 October from 13.45 hrs.
1. Nick Tandy (GB), Konrad Motorsport, 1:41.506 minutes
2. Sean Edwards (GB), Team Deutsche Post by tolimit, + 0.033 seconds
3. René Rast (D), Förch Racing, + 0.076
4. Martin Ragginger (A), Schnabl Engineering, + 0.202
5. Robert Renauer (D), Herberth Motorsport, + 0.224
6. Christian Engelhart (D), Konrad Motorsport, + 0.282
7. Nicolas Armindo (F), Hermes Attempto Racing, + 0.590
8. Robert Lukas (PL), Förch Racing, + 0.835
9. Philipp Eng (A), MRS Team PZ Aschaffenburg, + 0.837
10. Clemens Schmid (A), Herberth Motorsport, + 1.326
SOURCE: Porsche AG Press Media Database