Spa-Francorchamps report

Porsche Pirelli SuperCup 1998, 7th Round at the Belgian Grand Prix ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Patrick Huisman is Champion - Chase for Runner-up is on Spa-Francorchamps. With the green light to ...

Porsche Pirelli SuperCup 1998, 7th Round at the Belgian Grand Prix ----------------------------------------------------------------------

Patrick Huisman is Champion - Chase for Runner-up is on

Spa-Francorchamps. With the green light to chequered flag victory Patrick Huisman from the Netherlands stormed home to take the 1998 championship title, two rounds before the season's end. Starting from pole position for the seventh round of this year's Porsche Pirelli SuperCup in Spa-Francorchamps, the 32-year-old racing professional managed to immediately put four seconds between himself and the next competitor in the first lap. Huisman clearly dominated the 1998 season bringing home six pole positions in succession for his Walker Monroe- Manthey Racing team, as well as wins from Monaco, Silverstone, Hocken- heim, and now Spa. With this victory, Patrick Huisman sets a new Porsche Pirelli SuperCup record as the first driver ever to take two champioship titles. Said the champ: "When I glanced in my rear vision mirror in the second lap I relaxed and eased the pace. I didn't want to make my team boss, Olaf Manthey, too nervous." The weekend for Huisman's racing team was perfect after team mate Oliver Mathai (D) swept across the finish line second. With a victory in Austria, two thirds and now a second placing. Mathai slips into third overall place behind countryman Jurgen von Gartzen from Oberbayern Motorsport. Von Gartzen experienced a dis- appointing weekend finishing the 10 lap sprint seventh. The 40-year-old claimed victory at the 1995/96 Spa rounds, and went to take runner up honours both years. With his seventh von Gartzen retains a tenuous hold on second overall with 83 points, just ahead of Mathai with 82 points and Stephane Ortelli with 81 points. Ortelli, who took third, here in Spa piloting his PZ Rhein-Oberberg 911 GT3 Cup Porsche, said: "I always make to the podium when it rains. I wish the race was longer because I'm sure I could have given the two leaders a run for their money."

Altfrid Heger, champion of the inaugural 1993 Porsche SuperCup series, secured fourth for his Porsche Zentrum Koblenz/Zakspeed Racing team, just ahead of Germany's Ralf Kelleners (Porsche Zentrum Rhein-Oberberg) in fifth. On the most challenging circuit of the Porsche Pirelli Super Cup calendar, Italy's Maurizio Monforte achieved his second best race result with sixth. The Ebimotors/Porsche Italia pilot commented: "I love Spa, I love the rain...and I can't wait for the Monza round." Formula 1 veteran, Jacques Laffite (F) proved his driving proficiency and Spa experience by clinching eighth behind the wheel of his Kadach Tuning Porsche. AFN Oberbayern pilot Johnny Mowlem from England, who set his fastest SuperCup qualifying result with fourth, maintained his position for most of the race, however while braking into the Busstop chicane he clipped Kelleners' rear and was forced to retire.

Race results (top 10):

Pos     Driver/Nat              Team                            Time
--------------------------------------------------------------------
 1      Patrick Huisman/NL    Walker Monroe-Manthey Racing 28:40.685
 2      Oliver Mathai/D       Walker Monroe-Manthey Racing   + 2.914
 3      Stephane Ortelli/F    PZ Rhein Oberberg                6.684
 4      Altfrid Heger/D       PZK Zakspeed                    12.626
 5      Ralf Kelleners/D      PZ Rhein Oberberg               18.007
 6      Maurizio Monforte/I   Ebimotors-Porsche Italia        20.419
 7      Jurgen von Gartzen/D  Oberbayern Motorsport           23.974
 8      Jacques Laffite/F     Kadach Tuning                   24.867
 9      Andrej Kulundzic/YU   Zepter Racing                   26.754
10      Patrick Simon/D       PZK Zakspeed                    29.349

Point standings:

Pos     Driver       Points
---------------------------
 1      Huisman         128
 2      v.Gartzen        83
 3      Mathai           82
 4      Ortelli          81
 5      Heger            68
 6      Kelleners        62
 7      Schmickler       55
 8      Monforte         51
 9      Galimberti       50
        Kulundzic        50

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Series General
Drivers Ralf Kelleners , Stéphane Ortelli , Patrick Huisman , Jacques Laffite , Johnny Mowlem , Oliver Mathai , Altfrid Heger , Jurgen von Gartzen , Olaf Manthey , Patrick Simon
Teams Team Zakspeed