Porsche Michelin Supercup
NEWS ON RADIO
Podium: Richard Westbrook (GB), Uwe Alzen (D),
David Saelens (B), PMSC Bahrain 2006
with Next Car,
13th March, 2006
Uwe Alzen from Germany claimed victory at the first round of the Porsche Michelin Supercup on the Bahrain International Circuit, yesterday. In the third of twelve laps, Alzen overtook David Saelens from Belgium who had qualified his Porsche on pole position just one-hundreth of a second ahead of the German. For Alzen's Porsche Zentrum Koblenz-Team SPS squad, the season-opener on the 5.412 km Grand Prix circuit in the Arabian Kingdom was the team's inaugural race in the international makes cup series. Back in 1994 Uwe Alzen took championship honours of the Porsche Supercup.
Up until the ninth lap, David Saelens resisted the pressure from last year's Bahrain victor, Richard Westbrook from London, but finally had to relinquish second position to the Briton and settle for third. Westbrook also competes with a new team this season: The Monaco-based Racing Team Morellato together with Porsche Zentrum Essen contest the Porsche Michelin Supercup for the first time.
Taking up the sprint from seventh Fabrice Walfisch fought his way towards the front of the field. The Frenchman successfully fended off a determined attack from Patrick Huisman to take the flag as fourth. Richard Lietz from Austria started from fourth on the grid to claim eighth after 12 laps. Fading tyres towards the end phase hindered a better result. Lietz maintained that his suspension set-up for the race was possibly out of sync with the slicks.
Bad luck plagued new-comer Olivier Maximin (France). At his first outing in the series, the Frenchman qualified his Porsche on eleventh position. By the sixth lap had already gained four places. The Frenchman then took a sip from his water bottle: Whilst braking for the hairpin at over 250 kilometres per hour a jet of water shot out of the bottle causing Maximin to choke. The result: a spin and a coughing fit. From position 14 the GT specialist crossed the finish line back in eleventh place.
Ex F1 driver Luciano Burti (Brazil) was sidelined in lap one with a faulty clutch.
Uwe Alzen (winner): “I thought I'd forgotten how to race! That was a great start for our SPS team and me. I put David under pressure right from the get-go. He made a mistake and I took advantage of it, but not without him fighting. Once I had passed him Richard Westbrook suddenly loomed large in my mirror. Only towards the end did he back-off a little.”
Richard Westbrook (second): “What a fantastic start for a new team and me! Our race set-up was very conservative, maybe somewhat too careful to attack Uwe. Although, unlike me, he had a fresh set of slicks on his car while I was on used tyres from qualifying. I had one advantage over David. His car seemed to become more jittery with each lap. During the entire race I had one eye on the championship, so I didn’t take too much of a risk. This year the field is incredibly strong, so every point counts.”
David Saelens (third): “I am happy with the outcome. My team and I did the maximum. I got some oversteer after a while, and Uwe overtook me when we exited a corner, and my car came a little bit sideways.”
Fabrice Walfisch (fourth): “Thanks Patrick. That was a super fight: hard but fair. My tyres had already begun to fade after four, five laps so I had no chance to close the gap to the top trio. All I could do was wait and hope that they would make a mistake.”
Patrick Huisman (fifth): “That was tough. At one stage Fabrice touched my car and I slid off the track. A shame, I had the speed to stay at the top. Still, the points are important.“
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