At Silverstone, the situation became clearer at the head of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup. René Rast, the reigning double champion, leads Sean Edwards and Norbert Siedler by one point. Twenty points further back, the equivalent of a victory, Kevin Estre, the best 2011 rookie, is keeping the other title contenders at bay. Just as the season reached the halfway mark the icsport management driver fought his way up to fourth in the overall classification thanks to his sixth-place finish in England.
The British Grand Prix was held in typically English, but worse than usual, weather early on in the weekend. The camp sites were flooded and car parks were forbidden all of which tested the fans’ enthusiasm to its limits. However the 125 000 spectators who turned up on Sunday were rewarded with more clement skies. “On Friday, we took three hours and forty-five minutes to reach the circuit because of the traffic jams at the car parks,” said Kevin. “We made it just in time for the briefing!”
In free practice for the Supercup full wets were the order of the day. Estre did not shod new tyres and set a promising third-quickest time, which he failed to repeat on Saturday during a tricky qualifying session. “We were on slicks and two minutes before the session went green the rain began to fall so everybody swapped to grooved tyres. Then the track began to dry out and we had to choose between two strategies for the last fifteen minutes: use the two sets of new rubber available or use just one at the end of the session and keep one for the race. We opted for the second solution that left no margin for error.”
Fifteen drivers were covered by a second after qualifying, an exceptional situation. The driver of the Hermes Attempto team was under seven-tenths off pole, but he ended up eleventh on the grid, his worst qualifying position of the season. “The setup was a gamble given that the conditions were in perpetual evolution, and also we hadn’t run in the dry in free practice. The car was understeering too much, which is a big handicap at Silverstone.”
But Kevin managed to salvage something in the race on a dry track. “I moved up a place at the start and then I had a good run through the Loop out of which I emerged in sixth place. I was stuck behind two slower drivers that I couldn’t get past. I tried several times and there was a bit of panel bashing, but above all I had to score points. I preferred not to take too many risks and hold on to sixth place as in the Porsche championships retirement is out of the question.”
The next round of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup will take place on 22nd July as a curtain-raiser to the German Grand Prix on the Hockenheim circuit, where the first four in the classification already raced at the end of April in the German Porsche Cup. Estre set the third-best time in qualifying behind Edwards but in front of Rast, and finished second in the race sandwiched between the Brit and the German bagging the fastest lap. Before that he will be at Magny-Cours for the French national celebration this weekend for a one-off in the Porsche Matmut Carrera Cup, which he won last year.
Source : Kevin Estre