Abu Dhabi

Finale in the Desert

Media release: 24th October 2013

Source: Porsche AG

After a year’s absence, the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup returns to Abu Dhabi for the season finale. The overall winner of the popular brand trophy series will be decided at a double-header on the ultra-modern Yas Marina Circuit. Points’ leader Sean Edwards from Great Britain has the best prospects to score his first Supercup title. But also holding title hopes at the season final in the capital of the United Arab Emirates are Nicki Thiim and Michael Ammermüller. TV stations Eurosport and Sky broadcast the decider event live.

Timetable

Session                     Day                 Local Time     UK Time      Duration       
Free Practice
Friday 15:15 11:15 45 minutes
Qualifying Saturday 10:55 06:55 30 minutes
Race 1
Saturday 15:30 11:30 14 Laps
Race 2
Sunday 14:35 10:35 14 Laps

Map

Third win for Nicki Thiim as Barker nets fourth

Media release: 2nd November 2013

Source: Porsche AG

Stuttgart. With his third win of the season, Nicki Thiim has moved into the lead of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup. Driving for the Attempto Racing squad, the Dane won the first of two final races in Abu Dhabi on Saturday, beating the strong guest driver Earl Bamber from New Zealand (FACH AUTO TECH). Third place went to VERVA Racing team’s Kuba Giermaziak from Poland. At the wheel of his 460 hp Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, which is based on the seventh generation of the 911, Nicki Thiim would only have to finish in the top ten in the last race of the season on Sunday to take home the title of the world’s top class brand trophy series which has run as support to Formula 1 since 1993. Thanks to his victory, Attempto Racing is the early winner of the team classification.

The surprise at the sweltering race on the Yas Marina Circuit in the capital of the United Arab Emirates was Earl Bamber. On the back of clinching the title of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia a week ago, the New Zealander set pole position in qualifying.

At just his second Supercup race, he got away cleanly at the start to lead the field and defended his position to the final lap. Shortly before the flag, he made a tiny error which Nicki Thiim used to sweep past and on to victory. Earl Bamber had to console himself with his first podium result in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup and the fastest race lap.

Finishing behind Kuba Giermaziak in fourth place was another Supercup rookie Ben Barker (Team Bleekemolen) from Great Britain. Fifth place was occupied by Frenchman Kévin Estre (Attempto Racing), the newly-crowned winner of the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland. With his sixth place, Germany’s Michael Ammermuller (Lechner Racing) theoretically still holds a title chance. The Porsche juniors Klaus Bachler (Austria/FÖRCH Racing) and Michael Christensen (Denmark/DAMS) landed on position seven and ten respectively. Michael Christensen managed to defend his lead in the rookie classification as the best Supercup newcomer. Frenchman Jean Karl Vernay from the MRS GT-Racing team, who receives support this season from Porsche for his Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup campaign as the winner of the International Cup Scholarship, had to park his Porsche with a clutch defect.

In memory of their colleague Sean Edwards, all the drivers gathered around his car with the starting number 14 on Friday prior to free practice. The Briton was killed in an accident on 15 October during a private coaching session in Australia. In Abu Dhabi, all competitors drive with a black ribbon on the front of their cars.

Nicki Thiim (winner): “It was a very beautiful and very emotional race for me. I was constantly thinking of Sean Edwards, particularly in the last lap. With him I achieved the greatest success in my career, winning the 24-hour race on the Nurburgring. I stayed behind Earl in the race and waited for him to make a mistake, which he then did with deteriorating tyres shortly before the finish. I could overtake without risk.”

Earl Bamber (second): “That was a fantastic race. If someone had told me when I arrived in Abu Dhabi that I would be second here, I’d have said they were crazy. A huge thank you to the team for their great support. Unfortunately I made a minor mistake in the last lap, but I haven’t had that much Supercup experience. Maybe I can do better tomorrow.”

Kuba Giermaziak (third): “That was the toughest race of the year for me. Ben stuck like glue to my bumper and it was extremely hard to fend off his attacks. But we had already found a great set-up for the car in qualifying. It was a wonderful feeling to finish on the podium, especially as it was not easy today emotionally. It’s very painful to have lost a great colleague and friend in Sean.”

Klaus Bachler (Porsche junior, seventh): “It was an exhausting race in the heat. I didn’t use the fan in order to have some additional speed on the straights. Because I was running on used tyres I knew beforehand that it wouldn’t be easy. But I’d expected a little more than seventh place. Still, I’ll take the points and I hope that things go better for me on Sunday.”

Michael Christensen (Porsche junior, tenth): “That was the toughest race I’ve ever contested in my life. My start wasn’t good and I lost a place. I was able to reclaim the spot, but it took me a while to find my rhythm.”

Jean-Karl Vernay (Winner International Cup Scholarship, DNF): “Today was not our day. Tomorrow I start further up the grid and I’m hoping for a positive conclusion to my first Supercup season.”

Race result

1. Nicki Thiim (DK), Attempto Racing, 31:36.673 minutes

2. Earl Bamber (NZ), FACH AUTO TECH, + 0.719 seconds

3. Kuba Giermaziak (PL), VERVA Racing Team, + 9.280

4. Ben Barker (GB), Team Bleekemolen, + 10.649

5. Kévin Estre (F), Attempto Racing, + 10.959

6. Michael Ammermuller (D), Lechner Racing, + 13.916

7. Klaus Bachler (A), FÖRCH Racing, + 15.744

10. Michael Christensen (DK), DAMS, + 18.755

Nicki Thiim secures title with two wins at season finale

Media release: 3rd November 2013

Source: Porsche AG

Stuttgart. Scoring two victories at the season finale of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup in Abu Dhabi, Nicki Thiim secured the title in the world’s highest class brand trophy series. After his success at Saturday’s race, the 24-year-old Dane competing for Attempto 

Racing followed up with victory at Sunday’s event at the wheel of his 460 hp Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, which is based on the seventh generation of the 911. At the Yas Marina Circuit, he relegated his teammate Kévin Estre (France) to the second podium spot. The Attempto Racing squad had already clinched the team classification after Saturday’s race.

On the Formula 1 track in the capital of the United Arab Emirates, Nicki Thiim crowned a fantastic season with his double victory and celebrated another highlight in his career after winning the 24-hour race on the Nurburgring. The son of the DTM legend Kurt Thiim notched up his first accolades at the age of twelve in a kart. In 2006 he became the Danish Formula Ford champion, in 2008 he secured the title of the Seat Leon Supercopa. In the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland the Dane was the best newcomer of 2009. And he concluded his debut season in the Porsche Mobil1 Supercup in 2012 as the winner of the rookie classification. This year the blonde racer from the north laid the foundations for the overall Supercup win with his victories on the storied circuits of Silverstone and Monza.

The Porsche Mobil1 Supercup was not the only series on Nicki Thiim’s calendar this season. The Dane, who likes to spend his rare leisure time keeping fit, catching up with good friends and is incidentally an outstanding football player, is also a sought after GT endurance pilot. This year he contested the 12 Hours of Sebring in the Porsche of NGT Racing as well as various races in the sports car World Endurance Championship.

At the final Supercup race on the Yas Marina Circuit, Nicki Thiim took off from pole and underlined his commanding form with an unthreatened flag-to-flag victory. In third place behind his teammate Kévin Estre, the newly-crowned winner of the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland, came Jeroen Bleekemolen from the Netherlands, the double Supercup champion and Abu Dhabi winner of 2009. FACH AUTO TECH driver Earl Bamber from New Zealand again put in an inspired drive: After starting his first ever Supercup race from pole position on Saturday and finishing in second, the winner of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia achieved fifth today behind his compatriot Richie Stanaway (DAMS).

Luck was not on the side of Spa-Francorchamps winner Klaus Bachler in the sweltering race: The Porsche junior from Austria managed to match the pace of the front runners for quite some time, but had to park his Porsche 911 GT3 Cup trackside with only two laps to go to the flag. His Danish junior colleague Michael Christensen (DAMS), who had celebrated his first Supercup victory on the Nürburgring, crossed the finish line in seventh, earning him the rookie classification title as the best Supercup newcomer.

In memory of their colleague Sean Edwards, all the drivers gathered around his car with the starting number 14 on Friday prior to free practice. The Briton was killed in an accident on 15 October during a private coaching session in Australia. In Abu Dhabi, all competitors compete with a black ribbon on the front of their cars. Nicki Thiim (winner): “It was a very emotional weekend for us all. I did everything I could to show that I deserved the overall win. I dedicate this title to my friend Sean and would like to give the championship trophy to his family. I want to show that Sean is the champion of our hearts.”

Kévin Estre (second): “That was a great race to wind up the season. I’m happy with second place. Nicki was simply quicker and I couldn’t catch him. We gave the fans a great weekend with fair racing and I think that’s what Sean would have wanted. Our thoughts were with him.”

Jeroen Bleekemolen (third): “It’s a great feeling to stand on the podium again. It took long enough. The year for us was difficult, we suffered some setbacks but we never gave up and always bounced back. Now I’m looking ahead to next season.”

Michael Christensen (Porsche junior, seventh): “Luckily we did better today than yesterday. The car was quick over the entire distance. Although my start wasn’t perfect, I managed to make up a couple of places. I couldn’t get past Kuba Giermaziak, but it was still a somewhat conciliatory conclusion to the season, not least because I’ve won the rookie title.”

Klaus Bachler (Porsche junior, 22nd place): “It was a perfect race for us right up until shortly before the finish. I got away well at the start, managed to overtake Richie Stanaway after the safety car phase and was catching Jeroen Bleekemolen. Our car was running superbly. A huge thank you to my team. We all worked well together to improve, especially in the second half of the season. Unfortunately there was no happy end for us today. Two laps to the flag the NO FUEL PRESSURE lamp came on and that was that.”

Barker ends season on a high

Media release: 3rd November 2013

Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup rookie Ben Barker saved his best for last in his inaugural season in the F1 support series, narrowly missing a maiden podium in the series’ double-header finale.

Having been made to wait nearly two months since his last Supercup outing before getting on track at the spectacular Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi, the 22-year old Briton was determined to give a good account of himself and end the season on a high to help the process of securing the sponsorship necessary to guarantee a spot on the grid for 2014.

Yas Marina presented Barker with one of his biggest challenges of the campaign, another new circuit that he had been unable to test at prior to the event, but he ended the lone 45-minute in seventh position on the timesheets and with raised optimism ahead of qualifying. There was more to come in the timed session too, with his first set of new tyres allowing the Team Bleekemolen driver to post a 2min 14.04secs effort which put him fourth fastest, and just two-tenths off the pole time.

Aware that the time had been lost in the opening sector of the lap, Barker was confident that he could improve on his second set of tyres, but the run did not go to plan as the red flags flew, interrupting his lap. More frustratingly, the flags came out with the #10 machines just two corners from the timing line, and only a tenth down on its original time, which potentially would have been good for third on the grid for race two. Instead, Barker had time for just one flying lap after the interruption, but could not repeat his earlier effort and had to make do with eleventh spot.

“I was chuffed with fourth on the grid for race one, so only managing a place on row six next time around was particularly frustrating,” the BRDC SuperStar admitted, “The timing of the red flag  was only a matter of seconds out, but it made a big difference to the outcome of the session. Eleventh on the grid definitely wasn’t a true representation of the pace I had.”

Despite a reasonable getaway in the first of the weekend’s races, Barker found himself caught out as the field bunched up on the opening lap, dropping to fifth as a result, but the pace of the Bleekemolen car remained evident and he was soon back into his starting position. Now in the hunt for a podium finish, the Briton caught Kuba Giermaziak but, in attempting to pass for third, used more than the prescribed circuit at turn eight. Although he emerged in front of his Polish rival, Barker knew that he have to give the position back and duly ceded at the following corner.

Once back in fourth place, the former Australian F3 champion and 2012 Carrera Cup UK runner-up kept the pressure on but,  as his tyres started to wear, any advantage he may have had over Giermaziak waned, allowing the Pole to keep hold of the final podium place.

“It was unfortunate not to take my first Supercup podium after being so close and matching the fastest lap of the race, but that's the way it goes sometimes, especially in such a highly-competitive championship,” Barker admitted, “I just ran out of road on my best attempt at passing Kuba and had to give the place back, but the performance of the Bleekemolen car was so good for so long that I was optimistic for race two.”

The second race was always going to be a taller order for the Briton, but another good start allowed him to get a run on both Jeroen Mul and Michael Ammermuller going into turn seven. Although he came close to passing both on the inside, Ammermuller eventually held on to his place as the #10 slotted into tenth place. Sticking with the former Red Bull protégé for the entire race, Barker  picked up another place as the pair disposed of Klaus Bachler along the way, but the closely-matched pace of the frontrunners prevented any further gains before the chequered flag.

“I had the same pace as the train ahead of me but, with this competition and equal machinery, I couldn’t get close enough to have a go at anyone,” the CARS-backed driver admitted, “It shows how vital qualifying is, and I paid for not quite getting that better lap in before the red flag came out.”

The meeting had been run under a cloud following the tragic death of points leader Sean Edwards since the Monza round and, despite unofficial attempts to have the finale run as a non-points event, eventually produced a new champion in the shape of Dane Nicki Thiim. Barker ended his rookie campaign tenth in the overall standings and third amongst the series newcomers.

"My congratulations go to Nicki, who sealed the championship under hugely difficult political circumstances,” Barker noted, “I think everyone respects the fact that he has given his championship trophies to Sean's family….

“As for me, I hope that my performances this year have raised interest from both teams and sponsors, as I really want to be back on the grid next year to show what I am really made of! I’d like to thank everyone for their support this season and hope you will continue to follow me in future….”