Three Podiums for BWT Lechner Racing at the Start of Porsche Carrera Cup France
It looked as if JB Simmenauer had scored the first victory for BWT Lechner Racing in Sunday´s race at the Porsche Carrera Cup France at Magny Cours – but it didn´t hold: After long discussions a penalty against Florian Latorre was lifted again, so the Lechner driver had to put up with P2 in the end. Nevertheless, with two podium finishes already in the first race of the season on Saturday for Jaxon Evans and Simmenauer, it was a very good start for the Austrian squad in its first participation in this series.
19-year old Simmenauer started from P4, but soon managed to overtake Ayhancan Güven for third, putting pressure on Marvin Klein and finally getting past his fellow countryman. The BWT Lechner Racing driver was even able to close the gap to leader Florian Latorre step by step – which enabled him to take the provisional win when Latorre was given a 5 second time penalty for disrespecting track limits just before the end of the race: “This time contrary to yesterday I had a good start, so I could make use of my strong race speed very soon. The first three laps I was still struggling a bit, but then the car was perfect, the team really had done a very good job. I didn´t know that Florian had the penalty when I crossed the finish line, so I was surprised to be on top of the podium. Losing it then again is not nice of course but I trust the officials to make the right decisions.”
On Saturday, Evans, who finished fourth on Sunday after trying in vain to get past Klein, and Simmenauer made it to second and third on the podium behind race winner and reigning champion Güven. There was some drama during the last minutes of the race when it became clear that leader Florian Latorre was handed a 15 second time penalty due to a false start, which dropped him back to P5 in the end and Marvin Klein suffering from severe tyre problems, so that Evans and Simmenauer could get by him. “You have to be there when the chance opens up”, said the Porsche Junior from New Zealand. “I didn´t have a very good qualifying, so the final outcome of the weekend is really not too bad. I hope some of the other tracks to come will suit my driving style a little bit better.”
For Nicolas Misslin, one of the favourites for the Pro-Am title, it was for sure not the start into the season he had hoped for. On Sunday things looked very good for a very long time when he led the Pro-Am-field, but then during the last lap was hit from behind, spun and dropped back to P2 in the category. In the first race on Saturday, he had had a few unexpected problems, suffering from massive understeer and a locking brake problems, which let him finish only in P5. “It was definitely not my weekend, but there are more to come and I am sure I will be able to bounce back with the help of the team.”
German Richard Wagner, who suffered from a collision and a following spin on Saturday, finally finishing only in P16, had a much better race on Sunday when he came home in tenth place: “I just drove my race, stayed out of everything. I managed to put a lot of mileage in and I can feel that I am really getting into the rhythm again. I am grateful to be able to work with this great team and to make more progress in the future”, said the 20-year-old, who gained one position on the very last lap: “Some guy tried to attack me from behind, but completely missed his braking point, unfortunately hit my teammate Nicolas in front of me and spun him around, so I could simply go through!”
Team principal Walter Lechner was really pleased with the outcome of the first weekend: “To start with three podiums is more than we could have expected against our experienced competitors. JB showed a very strong performance, proving the qualities he has as a real racer. It´s a pity that Nicolas had such an unlucky weekend, but for sure he will be back on top soon. Maybe already next weekend in LeMans, which is the highlight of the French Porsche Carrera Cup season.”