Virtual Porsche Supercup: De Silvestro & Wohlwend caught in midfield chaos
The ladies of the Virtual Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup were once again caught in the midfield chaos, as iRacing specialists Ten Voorde and Guven delivered again spectacular duels.
After the very successful opening weekend on the virtual Barcelona racetrack, the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup held the second double-header round of its digital championship edition on the Silverstone circuit, with Dutch driver Larry ten Voorde and Turkish racer and Porsche Junior Ayhancan Güven again among its protagonists. The drivers, both winners of one of race each, entered the past weekend equal on points and again dominated the qualifying session: Güven took pole position with a stunning lap with under a minute from the chequered flag, stripping his rival ten Voorde of the first place.
The two ladies in the field, Formula E reserve driver and Porsche works driver Simona De Silvestro and W Series frontrunner Fabienne Wohlwend, struggled for pace in the 10 minutes qualifying and started respectively from the 18th and 2st grid slots.
With race fans patiently awaiting for real championships to restart, Porsche Supercup was among the real racing series to jump on the opportunity to provide its drivers, teams and supporters with a digital platform. The opening round was very well received for featuring the real starting grid, a competitive software like iRacing and a professional approach to the championship. The race action, despite widely entertaining, inevitably reflected the different levels of simracing experience throughout the field, with ten Voorde and Güven frankly on another level from the rest of the entry list. The second race weekend confirmed the same values.
As the lights went out for the first Silverstone race, ten Voorde snatched the lead from Güven. But it was another messy start at the back of the grid, with some drivers seemingly jumping the start. Fabienne Wohlwend in the Vodafone Group Porsche 911 GT3 car was immediately tagged and flipped on the main straight, effectively terminating her race in the very opening metres. More crashes occurred in the first sector: among the involved drivers was series newcomer and Porsche specialist Patrick Pilet, who had a great qualifying session but saw his race compromised after a contact with Van Klujk at Copse. Max Van Splunteren had a great first lap and brought himself up to third, behind his compatriot and teammate ten Voorde and Güven.
After two very chaotic laps, defined by several incidents and spins, positions settled with Simona de Silvestro in 19th place.
Nick Tandy, another competitive simracer, attacked and passed Van Splunteren for third place following an incredible move around the outside at Copse. The battle, though, allowed the frontrunners to check out and gain some free air.
De Silvestro was up to 17th place, also taking advantag from a spin by Marc Cini, who went off after a tight battle with the recovering Pilet. The Swiss lady then had a quite lonely race in P17, running approximately six seconds behind Fredricsson.
Vanthoor also spun at turn 3, losing one position to Conwright. Dylan Pereira, among the fastest drivers in Barcelona, struggled a bit more at Silverstone but held on to a top-10 position.
Ayhancan Güven, despite some minor damage to the front-end of his Martinet by Alméras car, never allowed his championship rival to slip away. The pressure built up in the final laps, until an incredible final corner plot-twist: Güven launched a very late attack and made the decisive move stick despite a slightly controversial contact. Ten Voorde spun but still crossed the finish line in second place.
Tandy was third and Van Splunteren fourth, while Kohler and Evans rounded out the top-6 after a prolonged battle.
Guest starter De Silvestro was P16.
As per series regulations, the second starting grid was set based on the previous race results. Güven thus was again leading the first row from ten Voorde. At the second start, Güven kept his cool and had a better start, while Max Van Splunteren moved again up to third.
It looked like a cleaner start in the midfield, with only Vanthoor and Sven Muller hitting trouble in the first corners.
Tandy dropped to 8th, just behind Dylan Pereira. The two ladies survived the opening lap and were initially P20 (De Silvestro) and P23 (Wohlwend).
The leaders engaged in a tight fight for P1, as ten Voorde desperatley tried to find his way past the 22-year old Turkish driver. This allowed Van Splunteren, Kohler and Pereira to close in and join the action at the front. In the high-adrenaline battle, Van Splunteren lost his car coming off of Becketts, paving the way for Kohler and Pereira for the lowest step pf the podium.
Soon after, the driver from Luxembourg found a way past Kohler, taking advantage of a small mistake from his opponent.
Meanwhile, De Silvestro was hit again by bad luck, as she was likely involved in a crash and retired. Wohlwend moved up to 21st position, then advanced to 20th the following lap.
With 5 minutes left on the clock, the leaders resumed their tight fight: ten Voorde attempted a first attack at Brooklands, then repeated the same move one lap later, with Güven pushing him wide and slightly into the grass. When the Dutchman finally made it stick, Güven was quick to switch back and reclaim the leadership at Luffield.
It was another thrilling last lap drama to mark the second race though: in the midst of the decisive action, the lapped car of Jaap Van Lagen spun right in front of the incoming leaders, with Güven forced to take evasive action by going offline at Copse. It was enough to hand over the victory to Larry ten Voorde, who took his second seasonal win ahead of Güven and Pereira.
Fabienne Wohlwend crossed the finish line in a positive 17th place out of a massive 31-cars grid.
Ayhancan Güven and Larry ten Voorde keep sharing the top of the standings on equal points (90), as the series will return to entertain drivers and race fans in one week time (Apri 25th) on the Spa Francorchamps circuit, where the real Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup made its debut in 1993.