In Friday’s sixty minute free practise session, Christopher had to go out with his used tyres from the previous race weekend in Zandvoort (NL). Having “destroyed” one of his three sets of tyres in the Qualifying session in Zandvoort, he had only two tyre sets for the two races, both of which had lots of mileage on them!
Still overshadowed by the sudden loss of our good friend Sean Edwards earlier this week, the Porsche Carrera Cup commenced the Qualifying session at lunchtime on Saturday. With great optimism, and high hopes of a good performance Christopher set the 5th fastest lap time for the 1st race on Saturday. Unfortunately he was one of several drivers to pick up a penalty for “exceeding track limits” meaning his fastest lap was cancelled. His # 9 Konrad Porsche was put back to P10 on the grid for the first race and P10 for the second race. Overall Christopher was happy to start with two Top 10 positions for both races.
The 1st race of the weekend was scheduled for 6pm. A minute of silence was held for Sean Edwards with the cars on the grid and the driver’s and their mechanics standing beside. After a very emotional and heart-warming tribute video to Sean Edwards the race began. Christopher had a fantastic start off the line and by lap 1 he was already on P8. Having made last minute changes to his setup prior to the race, the car quickly starting getting to speed. Chris fought his # 9 Loctite sponsored Porsche up to P6. Disaster struck when with only 5 laps to go Christopher suffered a tyre puncture on the rear left caused him to run wide at the last turn, hitting a small pot hole by the curb and resulting in great damage to his car. One corner later, Chris found himself in the gravel ditch, ending his race.
The weather forecast for Sundays race was rain and indeed rain it was! 30 minutes before the “pre grid”, the clouds opened and all the teams were forced to quickly change to a rain setup &
This was his first race in the rain in the Porsche Carrera Cup Championship and with no previous experience of racing at the Hockenheim ring, the start was definitely not his best.
After the first 6 laps Chris finally nailed the ideal wet racing line and with the tyres up to optimal operating temperatures, produced some quick lap times, fighting his way back from 17th place to 14th. After the race Chris shrugged his shoulders with a smile and said “Well, for the first time in the rain, it wasn’t too bad, however a Top 10 finish was definitely the target & possible! “
It's been a while since Christopher had been at the Oschersleben circuit in east Germany.
The last time he was there was in 2005 with the German Formula Renault Championship.
Not much had changed except Turn 1.
The weather forcast for the weekend was dry with 20% chance of rain throughout Saturday & Sunday.
In Friday's free practise Christopher was 9th fastest on old used tyres and only 0.5 seconds behind the quickest.
Hope's were high for saturday's early qualifying session.
Christopher and his engineer Wolfgang had worked out a great setup with which Chris was so happy and confident with, that he was able to clock the 3rd fastest laptime in Qualifying for both race 1 and race 2 !
In his very last lap though, Chris would have been able to set the fastest laptime, if it hadn't been for the red flagging of the Qualyfing.
Saturday late afternoon it was time for Race 1 !
Really excited and happy, Chris started his formation lap from P3 up until right at the end of the warm up lap, his driveshaft snapped, resulsting him to be pushed into the pits and having the driveshaft replaced which eventually made him loose his race. Joining the race after an incredible quick repair job by the Konrad Motorsport boys, Chris was already 7 laps behind.
For Sunday's 2nd race Chris started again from P3 in his #9 Porsche GT3 Cup.
The 35 minute race saw many ups and downs but non the less, Chris managed to finish the race in P7.
Christopher and the Nurburgring.
For the 2nd time, Christopher and Konrad Motorsport showed up at the Nurburgring but this time to race at the GP track only.
If you have been following Christopher, then you may know that he has been racing the VLN endurance series for 3 years now and considers the Nurburgring his "home track".
Christopher before the race weekend:
"I'm really looking forward racing the Porsche Carrera Cup at the Nurburgring. Sadly its "only" the GP track but my heart is racing already"
In friday's free practice Christopher set the 8th fastest laptime on used tyres.
For saturday's qualifying Chris set himself a top 5 target, however due to damper issues, Christopher's #9 Porsche GT3 Cup suffered from alot of understeer.
"It's a shame that the rear left damper had a problem and slowed me down during qualifying."
For the 1st race on Saturday, Chris started from P17. Right in the first lap another car spun and hit Chris on the left rear tyre, causing a tyre puncture which resulting in visiting the pit lane for a quick tyre change.
Resuming the race in P28, Chris fought his way back to P19 where he eventually finished.
For the 2nd race on Sunday morning, Chris started from P20, after having received a 5 grid penalty from saturday's first race.
After a great 35 minute race, Christopher placed the #9 Konrad Porsche on P13.
Chris after the race"
"Without the unneccassary penalty a Top 10 resulst would have definitely been in there ! "
Race 8 & 9 were held at the "Franconian Monaco" along side the DTM (German Touring Masters).
For Christopher this was the very first time at the Norisring and the very first time racing on a street circuit which is quiet a difference to a regular race circuit.
For instance, approaching Turn 1 of the "only 4 turns" race track, it is very bumpy and very easy to lock up the front wheels due to the lack of ABS.
Coming out of turn 3 there is the famous "wall of champions", where the driver must fight for every centimeter of track but try to avoid contact with the massive conrete wall.
For Saturday's first race Chris had qualifyied 15th and for Sunday's race 8th.
"I only managed P15 for first race because with 34 cars on the short 2.3 km track, traffic was high, I couldn't get a clean lap hence my slow laptimes"
The race started well for Chris, right after Turn 1 chris was already in P13 and then fought his way up all the way to P9.
Finishing the first race of the weekend in P10.
"My aim for this weekend's races are Top 10 , so to finished 10th in the first race after starting from P15 made me quiet happy"
For Sunday's race Chris was very optimistic and was aiming for a Top 5 finish.
After the 4th lap Chris was racing in P3 !
It looked like a safe bet to say that he would finish his only 3rd race of the championship on the podium but the tecnical devil never sleeps.
The accelerator cable burst just 400m before the finish line, which left Christopher stranded on the track and very frustrated.
However, Christopher is looking forward to the next round of the Porsche Carrera Cup which will be held at the Nürburgring on the 16. - 18. August
Christopher has already participated in one of the 19 races in the German Porsche Carrera Cup Championship, which was held at the Nurburgring in May along the legendary 24 hours of Nurburgring.
On the 2. July Chris was invited by Franz Konrad, Owner of Konrad Motorsport, to join the team for a test day at the Hockenheimring.
During the testday it was then confirmed that Christopher Zoechling will partner up with the team to finish the 2013 Championship.
5 race events remain, with 2 races per events, totalling it to 10 more races.
The remaining 5 events are:
More news & updates will follow soon
On the same race weekend as the legendary 24 hour Nurburgring race, the Porsche Carrera Cup Germany held its third race of the 2013 season.
Konrad Motorsport invited Christopher to join them in this special race piloting the #29 Porsche Carrera Cup.
Some of you may wonder and ask, if this is the same Porsche 911 GT3 as the one Chris races in the VLN or the 24 hour races.
Christopher on the 911 GT3 Carrera Cup Car:
Frankly spoken, there isnt much of a difference between the Carrera Cup car used in the VLN and 24h race and the one used in the German Carrera Cup.
The only differences are that the German Carrera Cup car has no ABS brakes, less downforce and a tiny bit less horse power"
Saturday's qualifying went very well for Chris and his #29 Porsche Cup Car.
During qualifying Chris was hovering around P3, P4 for quite some time. In his last lap, telemetry showed that he was on a pole position laptime, however other driver Nicki Thiim punctured his water cooler on track, and the loss of water resulted in a slippery road surface, making it impossible for Chris to get his pole time.
Christopher finished his qualifying in 5th place.
Chris after the Quali:
"I'm very happy ! The car felt great and everything just worked together. Unfortunately if it wasnt for the spilled cooling water of Nicki, I could have started tomorrows race for the first row."
In the evening Chris was told that all 3 cars of Konrad Motorsport have been penalised for having taped off the water cooler. The penalty was that all 3 cars were place 5 positions back of the
their original qualiying result.
Sunday's race started in surprisingly dry conditions and even the sun showed itself for a while.
However Christopher's start of the race wasnt too "sunny". Right at the start Chris fell back 1 position and in turn one another driver got spun and Christopher had to evade resulting in a further loss of 2 positions.
Fighting back from P13 Chris was engaged in several great battles, including R. Lukas which was highlighted several times on TV.
Christopher fought his way up to P9 until in the last lap, after a small mistake and bump into the crash barrier, Chris rejoined the race and finished in 10th.
Christopher after the race:
"First of all thanks to Konrad Motorsport for giving me the chance to race here and big thanks for providing such an amazing car! I was sad to hear that we all got penalised after Quali, as I am sure I could have fnished on podium!"