DAVID SAELENS BECOMES FIFTH DIFFERENT WINNER IN FIVE ROUNDS OF THE PORSCHE MICHELIN SUPERCUP WITH INDIANAPOLIS WIN INDIANAPOLIS - June 18 - David Saelens from Belgium, who earned the pole positions for both rounds of the Porsche Michelin...
DAVID SAELENS BECOMES FIFTH DIFFERENT WINNER IN FIVE ROUNDS OF THE PORSCHE MICHELIN SUPERCUP WITH INDIANAPOLIS WIN
INDIANAPOLIS - June 18 - David Saelens from Belgium, who earned the pole positions for both rounds of the Porsche Michelin Supercup at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this weekend, turned his first pole position into a win here Saturday with a .35 of a second victory in his Pro FuturaRacing Team Kadach Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car.
Saelens, who got a good jump at the standing start, led the entire race despite being challenged near the end by veteran Allesandro Zampedri of Italy, who won the Supercup race in Spain earlier this season.
"My pit crew signalled 'one lap to go' a lap too early, and before I realized it, Zampedri was right on my bumper," said Saelens, who then put full effort into the last lap to preserve his win.
The battle behind Saelens and Zampedri was anything but a runaway, however, as four time Supercup champion Patrick Huisman, 1994 champion Uwe Alzen, and former American Le Mans Series driver Christian Menzel grinded it out for the final podium position.
Alzen, who started seventh, came up on the first lap to challenge Huisman, and the two cars touched, sending Huisman onto the grass, but allowing Patrick to get ahead into third place. Perhaps the best racing of the session was Huisman and Alzen vying for that third spot, with Uwe passing Patrick with only three laps to go to regain third place. But Alzen was caught passing under the yellow flag on a previous lap and was relegated to 14th place with a penalty.
Other incidents included a Geoffroy Horion spin and contact with Tim Bergmeister on lap four - putting both cars out - and guest driver and motocross star Travis Pastrana, who spun on lap nine while running 13th and could not get out of the gravel trap.
"I was running pretty well, and felt that, with seven laps to go, I was getting hooked up," said Pastrana, "but I spun in the wrong place and got stuck."
The other guest driver, AUTOMOBILE executive editor Mark Gillies, finished 13th, but moved up to 12th after the Alzen penalty.
"I felt much better in the car today than in the previous sessions. We added a little downforce for the race which gave me more confidence in the corners, and I could hold my own with the guys who were near me," said Gillies, who had qualified 16th.
In the point standings, Patrick Huisman - with a win a Monaco, two seconds, a third and a fourth - retains his lead by three points over Zampedri, who now has a win and three seconds to his credit. David Saelens is now third, 12 points behind Zampedri. Another full points race will run here at Indy on Sunday, with all three driving trying to leave the U.S. with the series points lead.