Slippery Porsche Supercup Start in Bahrain

Reading Porsche’s press release from the first round of the 2012 Supercup, it’s tempting to think “procession”: a race led from start to finish, with a follow-me-home podium. In-car shots of winner René Rast en route to victory might help that impression, but footage screened on Eurosport from the on-car cameras tells a different story.

Starting from the clean side of the track, pole man Norbert Siedler lost out to Rast when the lights went out: the canny two-time champion held the line from his dusty grid slot to the first corner turn-in, sticking his 911’s nose ahead of Norbert (below).

Siedler stayed close, punting Rast up the rear at one stage, but René was inch-perfect with track position, leaving no open doors. As Siedler’s tyres howled protest as early as lap two, Britain’s Sean Edwards stuck it up Siedler’s inside and kept his tyres together, eventually finishing P2: two and a half seconds behind René.

Tyre management was the story of this ten-lap torture. Track temps for the Formula 1 qualifying were in the mid-40s, so the Supercup Michelins were worked hard from the start. The F1 teams are all complaining of heavy tyre degradation here, and TV pictures show chunks of rubber being flung from front tyres at various parts of the track. Five laps in, the Porsches were sliding all over the shop, clearly demonstrated by the rear-facing cameras of cars out in front.

The differing fall-off in tyre performance led to some great battles down the field. Christian Engelhart and Michael Ammermüller (above) had a terrific scrap over fourth: Ammermüller’s rookie energy urging him on. Michael’s eventual move on Christian into tricky turn ten took some balls. Up front, Edwards showed style to stick with the winner. It’s early doors yet, but a smart man into his 911s might stick a few quid on Sean for the title.

Race two is tomorrow, with plenty mixed-up grid positions. The race will be shown on Eurosport and Sky around 11 AM. If I find race one online, I’ll share the link.

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