Imola: Round One race report

Guest driver Luca Riccitelli Wins Season-Opening Round in Imola Stuttgart/Imola. Drivers from three countries stood on the winner's podium at the opening round of this year's Porsche Michelin Supercup in Imola (Italy). Under cloudless skies Luca...

Guest driver Luca Riccitelli Wins Season-Opening Round in Imola

Stuttgart/Imola. Drivers from three countries stood on the winner's podium at the opening round of this year's Porsche Michelin Supercup in Imola (Italy). Under cloudless skies Luca Riccitelli won the 13 lap sprint in front of cheering home crowds. Invited by Porsche AG to drive one of the guest Carreras, the popular racing professional secured a red light to chequered flag victory. As guest driver Riccitelli is not entitled to score points.

Maximum points went to Frenchman Christophe Bouchut, who started the sprint from seventh on the grid and ploughed his way through to finish second. The quadruple Carrera Cup winner and reigning FIA GT champion travels to the second round of the Porsche Michelin Supercup in Barcelona (28 April) leading the points table.

Despite experiencing difficulties due to a dirty windscreen, youngster Marc Lieb from Germany climbed the podium in third. As part of the UPS Porsche Junior team Lieb is also not entitled to collect points.

Newcomer Richard Westbrook gave an impressive performance at his first ever Supercup race. The Londoner started from 14th and fought his way through to finish eighth. Hungarian youngster Istvan Racz also gave a stunning debut. During the turbulent opening phase of the sprint Racz managed to reach third but fell back after making a minor error to finish ninth.

Pole-setter Emmanuel Collard's (France) foot slid from the brake pedal in the seventh lap and his race ended in the gravel trap.

Luca Riccitelli (winner): "Winning was the last thing I expected. My start was perfect and I took the lead immediately. During the first two laps I concentrated on learning how the car behaves in dry conditions. I still can't believe it."

Christophe Bouchut (second): "Everything ran beautifully after setting a disappointing qualifying position with seventh. My car was perfectly set-up, I was in top form and in the first few laps I attacked. From our tests I knew that the Michelin slicks could handle an aggressive driving style so I made the best possible use of that. I also won a lot of time with my braking. Now I can't wait for Barcelona."

Marc Lieb (third): "My start was super. I immediately shot to the front. Emmanuel left the track in front of me twice and as a result I had so much mud and dust on the screen that for one lap I could hardly see. By the time I could see again I'd lost time to the leaders. Under the circumstances I'm happy with third. It+s a fantastic feeling to stand on the podium in front of huge crowds."

Alessandro Zampedri (fourth): "Starting from eighth I was able to pass a lot of competitors at the start. In about the eighth lap I started to experience a little oversteering and couldn't put as much pressure on the guys in front of me. But I'm extremely pleased with my team, my car and with my race."

Timo Berhard (fifth): "My start was somewhat weak and I lost a place, but I made it up later and caught up to my team mate Zampedri. We then got into a fantastic duel which was hard but fair. In the final three laps I increased the pressure, but Alex countered and I didn't want to do anything too radical. We+ve both scored points and so the weekend wasn't so bad for us."

Race result:
1. Luca Riccitelli (F), Porsche AG,26:19.888
2. Christophe Bouchut (F), Larbre Comptition Chereau, +1.089
3. Marc Lieb (D), UPS-Porsche-Junior Team, +4.115
4. Alessandro Zampedri (I), PZ Rhein-Oberberg, +6.302
5. Timo Bernhard (D), PZ Rhein-Oberberg, +6.625, 6
6. Wolf Henzler (D), Kadach Tuning, +7.361
7. Stephane Ortelli (MC), Kadach Tuning, +12.063
8. Richard Westbrook (GB), Kadach Tuning, +17.809
9. Istvan Racz (H), Bovi Motorsport, +18.229
10. Mike Rockenfeller (D), UPS Porsche-Junior Team, +19.606

-hb-

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About this article
Series General
Drivers Emmanuel Collard , Stéphane Ortelli , Timo Bernhard , Luca Riccitelli , Christophe Bouchut , Marc Lieb , Mike Rockenfeller , Wolf Henzler , Istvan Racz , Richard Westbrook