MIM driver takes podium in opening round with a great drive and excellent strategy management
“It’s a great way to start the season”, said a smiling Pascal Wehrlein just before climbing onto the podium to celebrate a well-deserved second place for himself, Porsche and obviously MIM. The 28-hear old driver, winner of the previous edition, once again confirmed that he has everything it takes to shine on the 2.6 Km track which shares part of the layout with the F1 circuit. Starting from sixth on the grid, Wehrlein made his way to second in a difficult race, often interrupted by safety car periods. And he did so by producing the finest driving in the race, making best use of the two Attack Modes periods and topping it off with a sensational overtaking on Lucas Di Grassi.
The Monaco Increase Management driver had showed early on in the weekend that he had a very strong pace. After taking P4 in practice 1, he had been fastest overall in the second session and easily entered the top 4 in his qualifying group, only losing in the quarter finals to Jack Dennis by a mere 0.029 secs and despite recovering 4 tenths in the last sector of his flying lap. Even a third row start was good for him though, as Wehrlein managed to snatch P5 away from Ticktum already on Lap 6, after an early caution period. Pascal drove his #94 (his birthyear) Porsche in the Attack Mode zone on lap 14, and soon he was able to catch and pass former team-mate Andre Lotterer for fourth. After Mortara’s crash into the barriers, the race resumed on lap 20 and five laps later Wehrlein initiated his second Attack Mode spell, jumping Hughes who had did the same on the following lap and entering podium zone! But Wehrlein’s masterpiece came on lap 29 with an unexpected attack on Di Grassi under braking that left the Brazilian driver unable to react.
At that point, with five laps added to the initial total of 36 to compensate for those run under the Safety Car, Wehrlein worked on building up a comfortable cushion on the drivers behind, being too far away – and on the same energy level – to try and get closer to leader Jack Dennis. As he crossed the finish line a comfortable second, though, Wehrlein had showed an impressive pace throughout the race distance. “Yes, the pace was awesome”, he commented “and repays us for the last two months of hard work. Mexico was our best race last year, too, but we want to keep up the good work to be competitive on all tracks, because we’re here to fight for the championship!” And surely, 18 points in the bag are a good tally to begin with.