Stuttgart. On the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi, René Rast crowned his championship season in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup with his fifth win.
Driving the VELTINS Lechner Racing run Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, based on the lightweight 911 GT3 RS street sports car, the German won the final race on the ultra-modern Formula 1 circuit in the capital of the United Arab Emirates on Sunday.
On Saturday, second place was enough for him to successfully defend his title in the world’s fastest international one-make race series.
In high summer temperatures, Rast took up the race from pole position to score an emphatic lights-to-flag victory. This season he clinched wins in Monaco, on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife at the Porsche Carrera World Cup, in Silverstone and at the 200th Supercup race on the Grand Prix track of the Nürburgring.
And again in Abu Dhabi he was in a class of his own: Rast saw the flag 5.342 seconds ahead of Frenchman Kévin Estre (Hermes Attempto Racing), the winner at Monza and recipient of the rookie classification title as best Supercup newcomer. Third place went to Germany’s Christian Engelhart, who won the season-opener in Istanbul for his Konrad Motorsport squad.
After René Rast secured the title, five drivers battled for vice championship honours.
One of those was Nick Tandy. But after scoring his first Supercup win on Saturday, bad luck hampered the Briton in race two. After the start he moved briefly into the lead but braked far too late and hit the rear of Rast’s Porsche. With a damaged radiator he was forced into retirement.
One small consolation: As the driver with the greatest number of fastest race laps he received the Tudor Fastest Lap Award and took home a valuable Tudor wristwatch.
Tandy’s retirement opened the way for Norbert Siedler. Driving for VELTINS Lechner Racing, the Austrian didn’t have much luck in the race finishing seventh, but it was enough to secure the vice championship behind his teammate René Rast.
Third went to Poland’s Kuba Giermaziak (VERVA Racing Team), the winner of the Budapest and Spa-Francorchamps races, who didn’t find his stride at the double-header events in Abu Dhabi and was unable to use his – albeit theoretical – chance to claim the title.
Mathias Lauda experienced a special conclusion to the season. Driving for the Konrad Motorsport Austria team, the son of racing legend Niki Lauda finished in the top ten for the first time in tenth at his maiden Supercup season.
René Rast (winner):
“That was a finale that you can only dream of as a champion. My car ran perfectly from the first to last lap. I messed up the start a little so that Nick drew level with me, but I immediately put on the pressure. He then made a mistake in braking and when he pulled back onto the track he hit the right rear of my Porsche. Afterwards I had a free run and used my advantage well. I won the most important races this season, the Porsche Carrera World Cup on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife, Monaco, Silverstone and the 200th Supercup race on the Grand-Prix circuit of the Nürburgring – the season couldn’t have gone better for me and my team.”
Kévin Estre (second):
“The second podium result of the weekend – I’m very pleased with that. It was a fitting conclusion to my very successful season. I was the best rookie in all the races I contested. Winning the rookie of the year award was my main goal this year. This makes me as happy as I was after my first Supercup win in Monza. Now I want to build on these successes next year.”
Christian Engelhart (third):
“That worked out well. I kicked off the season with a podium result in Istanbul and now concluded it on the podium in Abu Dhabi. The race was relatively trouble free. I didn’t have a chance to get past Kévin but there was such a gap behind me that I had nothing to worry about.”