Dramatic Season-Opener in Melbourne

Podium Finish for Wayne Gardner Harald Bloche - Motorsport News International The Porsche Pirelli SuperCup's season-opening race in Melbourne's Albert Park saw a truly international winner's podium after 15 action-packed laps on the 5.269 km...

Podium Finish for Wayne Gardner

Harald Bloche - Motorsport News International

The Porsche Pirelli SuperCup's season-opening race in Melbourne's Albert Park saw a truly international winner's podium after 15 action-packed laps on the 5.269 km Grand Prix circuit. Germany's Ralf Kelleners (Porsche Centre Rhein-Oberberg) snatched the lead in the last lap from Frenchman Stephane Ortelli (Eschmann-Manthey-Racing). Kelleners: "What a great start to the season. I'm really pleased, but at the same time I'm sorry for Stephane." Ortelli, the 1998 Le Mans winner, clinched the lead in the 5th lap, but then lost it when he ran out of fuel within shouting distance of the chequered flag. The davastated Frenchman commented: "My team worked through the night to repair my car after I had an accident in practice. I desperately wanted to reward them with a podium finish."

Pole-setter Pedro Couceiro from Portugal (Porsche Centre Rhein-Oberberg) experienced an almost perfect racing weekend, setting his first ever Porsche Pirelli SuperCup pole position. Losing the lead in the mayhem of the first corner he dropped back to fourth but fought his way up to take second, the best result yet in his SuperCup career.

Premiering in a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, motorsport celebrity Wayne Gardner delighted home crowds by bringing home a podium finish after starting from 16th, Gardner, who was invited by Porsche AG to pilot one of the 370 hp 911 GT3 Cup cars, was thrilled with his third. "I was surprised with my result. In the final lap I was getting low on fuel and thought after all that hard work I wouldn't even make it. I had a ball!" At the wheel of the second VIP Carrera, Australian motorsport hero Jim Richards once again showed his truly diverse colours, ploughing his way from 15th on the grid to take fifth in the 15 lap sprint. "I kept my nose clean, conserved my tyres and the car. That turned out to be the right decision."

Revving into his second Porsche Pirelli SuperCup season, Britain's Johnny Mowlem (Parabolica-McCulloch Motorsport) brought home his best result to date with fourth place. Said Johnny: "During qualifying I was off the pace with engine problems. My team tried everything to fix it and it worked."

Results (top 10):

Pos     Driver/Nat              Team                            Time
--------------------------------------------------------------------
 1      Ralf Kelleners/D     Porsche Centre Rhein-Oberberg 31:42.680
 2      Pedro Couceiro/P     Porsche Centre Rhein-Oberberg   + 8.551
 3      Wayne Gardner/AUS    Porsche AG                       10.474
 4      Johnny Mowlem/GB     Parabolica-McCulloch Motorsport  12.405
 5      Jim Richards/AUS     Porsche AG                       14.270
 6      Oliver Mathai/D      Kadach Tuning                    14.293
 7      Altfrid Heger/D      Oberbayern Racing                16.311
 8      Stephane Ortelli/F   Eschmann-Manthey-Racing          16.375
 9      Jean-Pierre Jarier/F Larbre Competition               18.858
10      Alessandro Zampedri/I Ebimotors                       22.810

Pos Driver Points --------------------------- 1 Kelleners 20 2 Couceiro 18 3 Mowlem 16 4 Mathai 14 5 Heger 12 6 Ortelli 10 7 Jarier 9 8 Zampedri 8 9 Maylander 7 10 Santaniello 6

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series General
Drivers Ralf Kelleners , Stéphane Ortelli , Wayne Gardner , Jean-Pierre Jarier , Johnny Mowlem , Jim Richards , Pedro Couceiro , Oliver Mathai , Altfrid Heger
Teams Larbre Competition