René Rast triumphs at greatest Porsche race in history
Stuttgart. It is the greatest success of his career: On the legendary Nürburgring-Nordschleife at the wheel of his Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, René Rast won the Porsche Carrera World Cup – the greatest Porsche race in history with 100 competitors from 25 countries. In a gripping duel for victory on the wet time-honoured track, the German put in a strong drive for his VELTINS Lechner Racing squad, relegating his Austrian team mate Norbert Siedler to second place with a gap of 1.9 seconds. Third place went to Germany's Lance David Arnold driving for the Motopark Oschersleben team.
The inaugural Porsche Carrera World Cup was a huge success. Drivers raved about the challenge of one of the world's most beautiful race tracks, as well as the excellent organisation of this record-breaking event and fans experienced one-make racing at its best. "I'm absolutely thrilled," said Matthias Müller, Chairman of the Board at Porsche AG, who visited the Eifel race with other board members. "I've only heard positive things from the race drivers, and we're already fielding the first questions about doing it again. As far as I'm concerned I don't see why not, but we should order better weather." Wolfgang Hatz, Board Member for Research and Development, added: "I was particularly fascinated to see 100 of these wonderful Cup-911s competing and the incredibly exciting fight at the front. And all this under extremely difficult conditions. It was unparalleled. The images that we've sent around the world are certainly unique."
The greatest Porsche race of all time was also a logistical challenge: Tyre partner Michelin supplied 550 slicks and 550 wet tyres to the Eifel, where the world's best Porsche Cup pilots delivered an unprecedented power play. Not only the Porsche Mobil1 Supercup, but also the well-supported Porsche Carrera Cups of Germany, Great Britain, France, Italy and Scandinavia counted this race of records as championship rounds of their respective series and sent their stars to compete. Not surprisingly, right from the start, the competition was fierce on the 25.380 kilometre Nordschleife with the field of Porsche 911 GT3 Cup all racing with engine oil from Mobil 1. With torrential rain adding to the pilots' difficulties which only stopped after the first half of the race, pole-sitter Norbert Siedler got away well after the flying start to take the lead. But in the first lap René Rast slipped past his team mate and never looked back.
However, for the reigning champion of the Porsche Mobil1 Supercup, his bid for the most prestigious win of the year was not a walk in the park. On the contrary: Not only did Norbert Siedler make fierce attacks on the front-runner over the course of the race, with Siedler just 0.3 seconds shy of the leader after four of six laps. Britain's Nick Tandy (Konrad Motorsport) also wanted to make his mark early on – but risked too much: In an attempt to snatch second place from Norbert Siedler in the Aremberg passage he braked too late, took a journey into the grass with two wheels and slid into the barriers. A similar fate befell seasoned Porsche Cup campaigner Uwe Alzen (Germany): As one of the great favourites, he lost contact to the lead in the first lap and ultimately had to give up all hopes when he came in to the pits after losing a wheel in a major off.
Pilots contesting the Category 2 with Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars from 2007 to 2009 also delivered breathtaking duels. Prevailing in the end was Timo Rumpfkeil (Motopark Oschersleben), a driver who normally stands behind the pit wall as team boss of the VERVA Racing Team in the Porsche Mobil1 Supercup. Like René Rast as winner of Category 1, Rumpfkeil receives 11,000 Euro in prize money and a valuable watch from premium manufacturer Tudor.
The fight for victory continued to provide thrilling racing. Now it was Lance David Arnold who ensured that the leading duo didn't feel too secure. The German used his wealth of Nordschleife experience to negotiate the most spectacular overtaking manoeuvre of the entire race, inching past Britain's Sean Edwards to clinch third and celebrate his greatest success of the season so far. At the flag, only 3.6 seconds separated him from victory. That Norbert Siedler experienced a moment fright in the closing phase of the race was of his own doing. While hunting the leader, the Austrian suddenly found himself with two wheels off the track in the Brünnchen passage but managed to quickly stave off trouble with his Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. Others weren't so lucky – only 86 competitors saw the flag. Amongst those who retired were two princes: For Carl Philip Bernadotte, son of Sweden's King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia, the wet Nordschleife proved to be slippery turf, as it was for Abdulaziz Al Faisal, a member of the Saudi Arabian royal family.
New Zealander Craig Baird, the world's most successful Porsche makes cup driver with 109 victories, occupied 38th place in the VIP-911 of Porsche AG. With the VIP-car fielded by Porsche Cars North America, Melanie Snow (USA), the 'world's fastest mum", did not see the flag at her first race on the Nordschleife.
René Rast (winner): "It's an indescribable feeling to have won the greatest Porsche race of all time. After the start I managed to overtake Norbert in the first lap and then tried to control the race. The key to success today was that I made not one mistake. Conditions were tough out there in the rain, particularly because I've never driven the Porsche on the Nordschleife in the wet. It was difficult to evaluate the grip level hence I was a little cautious at the start."
Norbert Siedler (second): "It's fantastic to be second at this incredible race. René was a tad quicker than me at the start and promptly overtook me. Later I was the faster one but it simply wasn't prudent to try to get past him. So I decided to bring home a safe second rather than risk coming home empty-handed."
Lance David Arnold (third): "That was the most awesome race I've ever contested. It was incredible fun driving the Cup-Porsche on the Nordschleife – in the rain. That's racing at its best! Overtaking Sean Edwards was not without risk. I almost took a trip onto the grass. But I couldn't resist giving it a go and my chance came on the Döttinger Höhe where it dips down. From eighth at the grid to third at the flag – I'm over the moon."
Overall result Porsche Carrera World Cup
- René Rast (D), VELTINS Lechner Racing, 1:00:48.621 hours
- Norbert Siedler (A), VELTINS Lechner Racing, + 1.9 seconds
- Lance David Arnold (D), Motopark Oschersleben, + 3.6
- Sean Edwards (GB), Team Abu Dhabi by tolimit, + 18.0
- Nicolas Armindo (F), Hermes Attempto Racing, + 29.8
- Kévin Estre (F), Hermes Attempto Racing, + 33.4
- Jeroen Bleekemolen (NL), Team Abu Dhabi by tolimit, + 37.0
- Martin Ragginger (A), Schnabl Engineering, + 39.6
- Patrick Huisman (NL), Team Bleekemolen, + 42.1
- Stefan Rosina (SK), VERVA Racing Team, + 1:10.8 minutes