Hardt 8th and Hemroulle 14th in Monza
The Porsche Michelin Supercup will remain a central element of the activities of the GT-Motorsport-Department of the Spa-Francorchamps based Mühlner Motorsport SPRL beyond the 2006 season.
For this reason an interesting deal was put together for the season finale of the Porsche Michelin Supercup in Monza. The 4-times Belgian Touring Car Champion Jean-Francois Hemroulle took over car number 9; Hemroulle has already driven in 3 24-Hr races in a Mühlner Team Porsche (Spa 2004 + 2005, Nürburgring 2005) and tested the current 997 Cup car in July. Jörg Hardt, who is currently successfully competing in the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland, drove the number 10 sister car.
Although it was a first time out for the constellation of team, drivers and 997 Porsche with Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes (PCCB), and neither driver had been to the circuit in the Royal Park in Monza in a couple of years, both set reasonable times in first practice. Hardt put in the 11th quickest time and Hemroulle was 17th in the both qualitatively and quantitatively strong field.
In qualifying, Hemroulle was able to improve lap by lap and actually set his best time in his last lap, by which time the tyres were no longer at their best. His 12th position put him immediately behind his team-mate, Hardt. The latter was not really satisfied with his 11th place "For sure it took a while to get used to the PCCB but if I'd been able to put my best time for each sector into a single lap then I'd have qualified 4th" he calculated
At the start of the 13 lap race, both Mühlner drivers lost ground, dropping back to 12th (Hardt) and 14th (Hemroulle). Whilst Hardt was able to stay with the top ten, Hemroulle made a small mistake in the 2nd lap and dropped back to 19th and into a hard fought midfield battle where places changed at every corner. These battles, at times 3 abreast into the braking zones of the chicanes, were entertaining but cost both time and contact damage, not just to the bodywork but also to the geometry on the rear axle, with the left rear being "out". Notwithstanding this, Hemroulle fought his way through to 14th at the end and his team-mate Hardt ended 8th, sandwiched between the two Porsche works junior drivers for a solid top ten result
"In Jörg Hardt and Jean-Francois Hemroulle we've got two top drivers who have here punched below their weight, for understandable reasons. In a field of this quality, both Jörg Hardt and Jean-Francois were missing seat time and in particular didn't get the best out of the PCCB. I'm sure that after the opportunity to test and the resulting experience they'd gain, both would be capable of Supercup wins" explained team boss Bernhard Mühlner. "I'm very happy and thankful that Porsche Import Belgium is supporting our comeback"
In the Porsche Michelin Supercup, which supports Formula 1 races in Europe, Bahrain and the USA, using identical Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars from the new 997 range, the Mühlner Motorsport Team were able to get a podium first time out in Imola and numerous top ten finishes in their first season in the series.