Spa Francorchamps has always been one of those legendary race tracks that I always wanted to compete on. Finally, this year I got the chance to race with the Porsche Mobil 1 Super Cup here at the
On Thursday I ran 1 lap around the circuit and already then I had realised how much of an elevation change there actually is. Especially the infamous “Eau Rouge” is simply crazy.
The first couple of laps I had to learn step by step, or more like turn by turn.
After I changed to my second set of tyres I was able to clock the 9th fastest laptime for the free practice session.
Just before qualifying started it looked like it would be rainy session, however, the clouds vanished and the sunray’s came through. I opted for the 2 set strategy like most of the other’s.
I had a really good car and the setup was just right. I managed to qualify 7th for Sunday’s race.
A yellow flag however spoiled my quickest lap.
With a bright blue sky, yet chilly 12 degree we commenced our race at 11 45 am.
During the warm up lap I was able get enough heat into my Michelin tyre’s, even though the track was slightly damp.
I had a great start and was able to get passed 2 driver’s into 5th place.
After the race pace was settled I was able to push a bit harder and catch up with the guy’s in front of me.
After a great exit at “Eau Rouge” I was able to catch the draft of Sven Müller and get in front of him.
However, after the long Camel Straight, turning into turn 5 he knocked me out of the race.
In the end I finished the race 17th.
Beside the fact that I was taken out, I had a great race weekend. It was my first time at Spa Francorchamps and considering the strength of field I’m very happy with the team’s and my own performance.
Hungaroring 25th-27th July 25, 2014
After a super-hot weekend in Hockenheim there was no cooling down in Hungary for the 6th round of the Porsche Super Cup. The Hungaroring is a challenging track. Sector 2 in particular can prove tricky with its demanding turns. The elevation change throughout also adds a new dimension.
Free practice did not go as Christopher had hoped. Running well-worn tyres was no excuse for Chris’ disappointing 12th place by the end of the session. Chris spent the evening reflecting on the day’s telemetry, fully aware he would need to pull his finger out for the qualifying the next day.
Saturday 11.45am the qualifying session got underway. Chris’ car had just minor tweaks to the set up but Chris focused hard on areas he could gain a 10th or 2. With the certainty that the qualifying times would be set on the second set of tyres, Chris and his team mates pitted after 3 laps on the first set and waited for the right moment. On the second set Chris set his qualifying time on the second lap. For a time he was in pole position but quicker times from Thiim, Giermaziak and Bamber pushed Chris back in to 4th position on the grid for Sunday’s race.
The forecast for Sunday morning was rain and rain was certainly threatening when Chris arrived at the track. Fortunately for weather held for the Porsche Super Cup, though the later F1 Grand Prix wasn’t so lucky!
The start was bad. An issue with the clutch left Christopher literally stranded. Between the start and turn 1 he had already dropped back 3 positions, and his teammate, Klaus Bachler had moved up to 6th. In 6th and 7th place the two Konrad Porsches battled it out, Chris attacking relentlessly but Klaus managing to defend his position. Chris put in some excellent sector times and remained close on Bachler’s tail. In the remaining laps the pair managed to catch up to the back of Riberas and Ammermueller, but the order was set and they failed to pass.
Giermaziak took the chequered flag in first followed by Bamber and Chris crossed the line in 7th behind his teammate in 6th. 7th place brings 9 much needed points for the Driver Championship standings and put Christopher in 3rd place in the Rookie Championship.
Chris after the race; “I had a really bad start, not sure what happened as I have never had so much wheel spin off the line. The race itself was good, though I was stuck behind Klaus from the start. 7th place is respectable and 3rd place in the Rookie championship isn’t too bad! I am really looking forward to my first ever race at Spa-Francor Champs, which will be the 7th round of the Porsche Super Cup.”
Only 50 km from Christopher's home in Austria is the newly overhauled Redbull Ring in Spielberg. Formerly known as A1 Ring, its newly built grand stand immediately strikes you.
Dispit it being Chris' home Grand Prix, he had only once had a test day there.
9 Turns aren't many, but the RedBull Ring is an amazing circuit & up there with my favorites.
Free practice started out great for Chris and his #9 Konrad Porsche. 4th place on used tyres indicated a strong performance for the race weekend.
Christopher set the 10th fastest qualifying time for Sunday's race. Top 10 is always a good result but after yesterday's free practice session Chris expected more.
"The car felt great but I was 0.2 sec slower on new tyres compared to yesterday on used tyres"
Weather conditons for Sunday's race were fantastic, nearly 30 degree and blue sky.
Christopher's start however, wasnt that fantastic. Just after Turn 2 Chris had already fallen back some 4 or 5 positions.
"My race was crazy. I lost a few positions right at the start in the first 2 turns. From then on I was fighting my way back through the field which at this level isnt easy!"
Eventually Chris managed to regain 11th place but with 3 laps to go he pushed just a bit too hard, spinning at the exit of turn 9 onto the start - finish straight.
The 18th car that saw the chequered flag was Chris in this #9 GT3 Cup Porsche.
"A disappointing result after such a promising free practice session on Friday. The car was fantastic to race but I just pushed it too hard and made 1 too many mistakes and lost the race and important points"
Racing at any new racetrack for the first time is always a challenge but the first time at Monaco takes this to a whole new level. No run off areas, tight city streets, and a far from ideal
surface, meaning a single mistake can be the end of your weekend. Despite his relative inexperience of the track, Christopher managed P13 on used tyres. It wasn’t easy, Chris in the #9
Konrad Porsche entered each session with great respect towards the track.
Just as in Barcelona, Chris and his other 27 competitors had just 30 minutes to set their qualifying times. As the session got underway, Chris put in some reasonable lap times, hovering around 10th place. Midsession, as Chris pitted to get his second set of new Michelin tyres, other’s started making mistakes. Yellow flags and even one red flag of the session ruined any chance of a decent lap time on the new tyres. With 4 minutes to go, Christopher’s fastest lap was cut short when Jeffrey Schmidt (CH) lost control of his car, crashing at the exit of “Tabac” corner, resulting in the second red flag of the session. At the end of qualifying Chris had to settle for P15 for Sunday’s race
Despite barely being able to see the red lights through an overhanging TV camera mast, Chris still managed a good start! Any advantage gained was soon lost when in Turn 1 “Sainte Devote”, Philip Hirschi ran into the right side of Chris turning him nearly sideways and knocking him back several positions. On completing Lap 1, Christopher found himself back on P19. The race was on! Overtaking in Monaco is nearly impossible, but time your manoeuvres right and there are overtaking opportunities.
With just 5 laps to go and on P16, Chris managed his last overtake of the race on Thomas Biagi.
Entering the right hander before the Tunnel “Portier” Chris was side by side with Thomas. When the Italian “closed” the door on Chris and they had contact. Thomas Biagi spun out and Chris could pass. Christopher Zoechling saw the chequered flag in 14th position.
Friday’s free practice session compared to the German Porsche Carrera Cup free practice is just 45 minutes, 15 minutes less to test settings and set up changes on the car.
After the session ended, Chris had clocked in the 7th fastest lap time on Friday. Things were looking good for Saturday’s Qualifying!
Feeling optimistic and with much enthusiasm, Christopher entered his first Porsche Super Cup Qualifying session. In the very first few laps, Chris had placed his #9 Konrad Motorsport Porsche GT3 Cup on 3rd place. As the session continued, lap times got quicker and Chris decided to go back out on a new set of Michelin Tyres.
Having beaten his previous time, his #9 Porsche could be found on P8. Content with his hot lap, Chris returned to the pits, only to unfortunately watch himself fall back in the field in the last
3 minutes of qualifying.
Eventually, as the session ended, Christopher’s time placed him on P12 for the race, however a mere 0.401 sec behind pole
In fact in this fiercely competitive field, the first 19 driver’s all clocked times within 1 second! The result of Saturday’s Qualifying just goes to show how close & challenging the 2014 Porsche Mobil 1 Super Cup is going to be.
Sunday 11.45 am, Chris is all set to race his very first Porsche Mobil 1 Super Cup of his career.
Conditions at the track were ideal. Sun shining, 25 degree Celsius and a great atmosphere for the Formula 1 GP at the Circuit de Catalunya. Race distance was set for 14 Laps.
Two unlucky drivers suffered broken drive shafts on the starting grid meaning the race began with 2 formation laps. When the race finally commenced after the 2nd formation
lap, Chris in his #9 Konrad Porsche was off for a great race.
“The first lap was crazy, there was lots of car contact between drivers, it was just crazy!” – Chris comments on his first lap of the race.
Chris fought his way through the pack till he managed to catch up to the Lechner Racing driver Clemens Schmid in 7th place. For several laps he was engaged in a fierce battle with the fellow Austrian. Showing great determination and perseverance Chris eventually squeezed passed Clemens with a skilful move, attracting the attention of the Eurosport commentators.
Christopher’s review of the race
“It was fantastic! Being part of the Formula 1 event alone is an exhilarating experience. I had a great battle with Clemens Schmid for 7th place. There was some rubbing here and there but it was all fair sport!
The entire Konrad Motorsport team did a great job and my thanks go out to every one of them.
I’m really looking forward to the Monaco Grand Prix in 2 week’s time. It is set to be the highlight of the season – and definitely the highlight of the year for me!”