11 May Konrad Motorsport misses podium at Supercup season opener
Strong team-performance by Konrad Motorsport at the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup’s season opener in Barcelona: In an exciting race Christian Engelhart missed the podium only narrowly and finished fourth. His Austrian team-mate and Supercup-rookie Christopher Zoechling contributed to a perfect team-result with position seven. Klaus Bachler was classified twelth.
Already the qualifying on Saturday showed how strong and balanced the starting field of the new Supercup-season is: Despite lap-times less than two tenths of a second behind the pole-position, the Konrad-spearheads Christian Engelhart and Klaus Bachler had to start the race from positions six and eight. “It is incredible – I am only 0.15 seconds behind the pole-position and only seventh,” Engelhart commented the extremely close competition. “Even the Supercup has never been that balanced and competitive before.”
The Konrad-drivers made a huge step forward in the race: After the start Christian Engelhart was able to improve to position four quickly. Especially in the last third of the race he was clearly faster than Ben Barker in front of him. He put the young Britain under immense pressure. Again and again his green and white Porsche race car showed up in Barker’s rear mirror. But for an overtaking maneuver the checkered flag came too early after 13 laps. “Our race-setup worked really well, we were for sure fast enough for the podium,” reported Christian Engelhart afterwards. “But Ben defended his position bravely and fair. I would have needed a little bit more time.” In contrast to Engelhart, his team-mate Klaus Bachler was the unlucky man of the race. After position six, a time-penalty dropped him back to twelth.
An excellent debut in the Porsche Supercup experienced Christopher Zoechling, who sits behind the wheel of the third Konrad-Porsche. With position twelve in qualifying the 26-year-old was a little bit disappointed. But in the race he showed his talent and won many positions. Especially the battle with his fellow-countryman Clemens Schmid entertained the numerous spectators. In the end the Supercup-rookie finished on a respectable seventh place. “It was a really tough race, especially in the first lap everyone fought extremely hard,” he showed his happiness about the successful debut. “My target was to finish within the top-10 and I have reached it clearly.”
Team principal Franz Konrad drew a positive conclusion: “We can be really satisfied with the season opener. Our squad is among the frontrunners in the team-championship. If the race had been a little bit longer, Christian would have brought a trophy home,” explained the 62-year-old. “Also Christopher Zoechling convinced me during his first appearance in this really competitive series. Our performance is a good basis for Monaco!”
There is no break ahead for his squad: Already next week the second race weekend of the Porsche Carrera Cup Germany in the Motorsport Arena Oschersleben is on the schedule for the team from Verl (Germany). Only one week later the engines start to run again also in the international Supercup: In the streets of the Principality of Monaco the three Konrad-drivers want to attack again.