Virtual Porsche Supercup: Fabienne Wohlwend scores first points
After the Spa double-header of the new virtual Porsche Supercup series, W Series driver Fabienne Wohlwend scored her first points, while Porsche works driver SImona De Silvestro hit more troubles.
The virtual edition of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup, the fastest one make series in the world, reached on Saturday its third weekend of competitions. As many top motorsport series during the pandemic era, the Porsche organized championship moved to the virtual world with a large field of real teams and drivers.
After the first two double-headers of Barcelona and Silverstone, iRacing specialists Larry ten Voorde and Ayhancan Güven entered the Spa Francorchamps weekend still equal on points, having shared all the victories in dominating fashion.
Simona De Silvestro, driving the #89 ABB Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, qualified in 19th place, one position ahead of the other female racer, the W Series frontrunner Fabienne Wohlwend in the #87 Vodafone Group entry.
Larry ten Voorde confirmed himself at the top of the field, while Güven slightly struggled in his qualifying run and put his Martinet by Alméras Porsche in third. It was then Dylan Pereira in the BWT Lechner car to claim the first row alongside ten Voorde, while guest driver Leok Hartog had an outstanding debut and was fourth.
As the lights went out, Güven immediately stripped Pereira of the second place. But it was not long until the first crashes wiped out large part of the field: on the main straight a first contact eliminated a couple of contenders - with Fabienne Wohlwend promptly taking evasive action - then a spinning car created more chaos at La Source. De Silvestro had a good start and took to the run-off to avoid the carnage at turn one. Ahead, Güven went into attack mode on the Kemmel straight, but ten Voorde held on and Pereira followed closely.
After the first corners of the historic Spa Francorchamps circuit, Simona De Silvestro was running in 13th place, with Fabienne Wohlwend in 17th. Soon after, the Swiss racer hit troubles and dropped to the back of the field, likely involved in an incident in the second sector away from the cameras' views. The unlucky racer was forced back to the pits and out of the race.
Leon Kohler had a very good opening lap and moved up to fourth; but despite an uncommon qualifying result for Güven, the usual values were restored at the front, with the Turkish Porsche Junior driver glued again to ten Voorde's car. Pereira, looking very comfortable on the Belgian racetrack, remained very involved in the battle. When the leader came increasingly under pressure from Güven on the fourth lap, the race witnessed its decisive moment: the leading pair made contact at Rivage and ten Voorde spun out into the gravel, paving the way for Güven and Pereira. The Martinet by Alméras driver, though, slowed down and allowed back past the Dutchman in order to avoid a penalty. After the big plot twist, Pereira led Kohler, ten Voorde and Güven.
The two championship contenders showed matchless pace and quickly passed Kohler in spectacular fashion at Blanchimont and at the Bus Stop Chicane. When Güven resumed his attacks on ten Voorde, Dylan Pereira took the chance to open a small gap on his followers. After another minor contact, Güven straight-lined the Les Combes chicane but positions were restored.
Fabienne Wohlwend slowly advanced through the order and moved up to 14th place.
With a safe 3 seconds advantage, Dylan Pereira crossed the finish line to claim his first victory in the Virtual Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup, ahead of Larry ten Voorde and Ayhancan Güven.
An exciting last corner action saw a 3-cars battle for 13th place, as Fabienne Wohlwend crossed the line in P14 and recoded her first championship points.
As per the series regulations, the second-header grid was set based on the first race results.
It was another messy first corner, with one car going upside down at La Source and a huge collision on top of Radillon.
Pereira held the lead from Güven and Vanthoor, while ten Voorde lost valuable positions in avoiding the crashes at Radillon and had to recover from sixth. Wohlwend did an outstanding job at avoiding the first lap madness and advanced to P10, just ahead of De Silvestro who was starting 22nd on the grid.
Ayhancan Güven dived on the inside of La Source on the second lap, stripping Pareira of the lead and breaking away from the rest of field. Meanwhile, his championship rival tried to make his way back up to the front and moved past both Mawson and Van Kujk. One lap later, the Dutchman was back into the top-3, passing also Laurens Vanthoor.
In a surprising mistake, Pereira spun at the Bus Stop chicane and left ten Voorde in free air again. The driver from Luxembourg lost momentum after the mistake and went off again at Rivage, trying to avoid the lagging Van Kujk.
In the midfield, De Silvestro and Wohlwend held on to P11 and P13 in the first half of the race, before a costly mistake saw the 31-year old Swiss racer going wide at Bus Stop. She initially surrendered 11th place to Richard Lietz, but the Porsche Formula E reserve driver faced a further strike of incidents in the latter stages of the race - among them an unlucky contact with Wohlwend at Stavelot that sent both into the barriers. De Silvestro ultimately retired, while the W Series driver resumed the action with a slightly damaged car.
Hartog, after an amazing qualifying performance and an unlucky first race, completed a stunning comeback and battled hard with Vanthoor and Tandy for fourth place. It was the newcomer to ultimately emerge on top and, in clear air, closed in on Mawson as well.
After the 25 minutes race, Güven crossed the line in first, almost 5 seconds ahead of Larry ten Voorde. Joey Mawson completed the podium. Fabienne Wohlwend made more visibile progresses and finished P13 - her best season result, collecting more points.
With only one double-header round to go, the Virtual Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup will make its return to the (virtual) track on 16th May on the Autodromo di Monza, where the first championship will be assigned.