A1-Ring report

Porsche-Pirelli-SuperCup - Eighth Round at the Austrian Grand Prix ------------------------------------------------------------------ First Win of the Season for Oliver Mathai (D) - Title Decision at Final A1 Ring. Oliver Mathai from Germany...

Porsche-Pirelli-SuperCup - Eighth Round at the Austrian Grand Prix ------------------------------------------------------------------

First Win of the Season for Oliver Mathai (D) - Title Decision at Final

A1 Ring. Oliver Mathai from Germany claimed his first victory of the season piloting his silver Walker Gillet-Manthey Racing Porsche at the eighth and penultimate round of the Porsche-Pirelli-SuperCup. With this succes the student from the town of Hildesheim joins the title expecants. The championship decision must wait until the final round next week on the Nurburgring.

Ranking second on Austria's new 4.323 kilometre A1-Ring circuit was Frenchman Jean-Pierre Malcher (F, Oberbayern Motorsport). Malcher, who won the championship 1995, started from fourth and drove a clean race, profiting also from a ruckus between points leader and pole setter Patrick Huisman (NL, Manthey Racing) and his toughest rival Patrick Simon (D, Oberbayern Motorsport). During the opening phase of the race Simon shunted Huisman into a gravel trap. Huisman however managed to right his Porsche and finished the 16 lap sprint at an admirable fifth, still with a tenuous hold on the points lead. Patrick Simon was dealt a 20-second penalty which relegated him to seventh.

Porsche old-hand Harald Grohs from Germany (Manthey Racing) gave both, his premiere and final performance at the A1-Ring. After 25-years of active racing, the experienced veteran retires at the end of the season. However, beforehand Grohs gave a fine demonstration of his ability finishing his race in third place.

Right at the beginning of his career, and creating quite a stir, is 19-year old Robert Lechner from Salzburg in Austria. Lechner, who last week secured the German Formula Renault championship, accepted an invitation from Porsche to test his skill in an unfamiliar RTL-VIP Carrera. His result of fourth place marked him out as one to watch over the coming years. Tobias Moretti, famous for his lead role in a popular TV series, also gave an excellent performance in the second RTL-VIP Carrera. Considering it was his first ever race in an automobile, the Austrian still managed to finish his race 15th ahead of two regular Porsche-Pirelli-SuperCup drivers. Said Moretti: " At the start I got a fright when they all took off like crazy. Then a few cars spun in front of me but I stayed out of the fray. I concentrated on driving a smooth and clean line until I saw a competitor ahead. When I outbraked him my pulse leapt to maybe 200! It was wonderful."

Race result (top 10)

Pos     Driver/Nat              Team                            Time
 1      Oliver Mathai/D       Walker Gillet-Manthey Racing 27:01.863
 2      Jean-Pierre Malcher/F   Oberbayern Motorsport        + 3.961
 3      Harald Grohs/D          Manthey Racing                10.855
 4      Robert Lechner/A        RTL-VIP Carrera               23.922
 5      Patrick Huisman/NL      Manthey Racing                24.078
 6      Andrej Kulundzic/YU     Zepter Racing-Farnbacher      24.617
 7      Patrick Simon/D         Oberbayern Motorsport         28.507
 8      Massimo Galimberti/I    Knupfling Motorsport          29.683
 9      Werner Groebl/A         Farnbacher Motorsport         35.586
10      Toranosuke Takafi/J     Kadach Tuning                 37.742

Standings (top 6): Pos Driver Pts --------------------------- 1 Huisman 128 2 Simon 117 3 Malcher 115 4 Mathai 113 5 Farnbacher 110 6 Dupuy 107

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Series General
Drivers Patrick Huisman , Oliver Mathai , Harald Grohs , Robert Lechner , Jean-Pierre Malcher , Patrick Simon