News from the 2018 Season
MEXICO : A podium placement and a victory to take the Rookies Championship
Located at over 2,200 meters above sea level, the Hermanos Rodriguez Autodromo presents an unusual route with very particular conditions. Many tight turns, a straight line at high speed and a stint in the stadium with more than 300,000 spectators. Under a spring-like sun, here is the road to the Rookie title of the Supercup, the goal posted at the beginning of season.
During the free practice session, everyone had new tires and everyone needed to adapt to the lack of grip of the track. Despite the 17 corners of the circuit, the gaps were very small, which suggested a very competitive final for these last 2 races. Florian finished this session honourably in 7th place within 5 tenths of the best time.
For the qualifying session on Saturday morning, the track was perfectly dry despite the flooding of the previous evening. Florian is first session would be cancelled on the first set of tires for not respecting the limits of the track. It is perfectly resumed on the second try to produce 2 perfect rounds. Unfortunately, the set-up of his car was not optimal which would only allow him to get only the 10th and 6th positions on the starting grid.
For both races, Florian must show his evolution over his main competitor in the Rookies Championship. Race 1 seemed delicate with a start in 10th position. Thanks to a great start and a very good first lap, Florian quickly moved up to 7th place, then after a very good lapse, he gained an extra place to finish at the line in 6th position. His direct competitor finishing right behind him. This gave Florian an 11-point lead as we went into his last race.
No risk at the start of Race 2, Florian let his competitor pass him without putting up a fight, then stalled behind him and drawing out the race until the finish.
Florian conceded just one point to the competition and won the Rookie Championship with a 10-point advantage thanks to 9 podium finishes including 5 wins in 10 races. Thanks to this superb record, he also took 6th place in the overall rankings, which is remarkable for a first season at this level of competition.
“After winning the French Cup last weekend, I was ready to win this title. Thanks to an excellent start, I was able to finish 6th in Race 1 and get one more point in the standings. Race 2, I wanted to let Larry, and my race with him, know that I had no risk to take. So, I had my eyes on the overall rankings and my 7th place finish allowed me to gain 2 positions to finish 6th overall. "
MONZA : End to the European races and a new Rookie win
A few days after SPA, another big name in motorsports is the PORSCHE SUPERCUP MOBIL 1: the circuit of Monza. This is the fastest circuit of the championship that allows the Porsche 911 to exceed 290kms / h. In this first weekend of September, all engineers watched the weather sites constantly: will it rain or not?
Free practice on Friday was important for Florian because the program scheduled for winter testing could not be completed due to heavy rains. It took 45 minutes to learn this circuit and refine the preparation of the car. Any water disrupts the program because during the first lap, it is necessary to return to the pit to change for the rain tires. It will finally take a few laps before Florian takes the lead in the lap times until the exit of a competitor who interrupts the session. As the rain stopped, everyone took advantage of the weather change to use new tires. It was therefore on a track that was beginning to dry up that Florian completed these tests with a brilliant 4th place.
For qualifying on Saturday, the start will finally take place between a few drops on a dry track. It is thus that the race begins on a fresh circuit with slick tires, and a group of drivers ready to take on the conditions. The race looks particularly complicated but thanks to a well-prepared team, Florian takes advantage of the first set of tires to implement the work he could do. The second time, after a last-minute small adjustment, becomes essential. Florian manages to achieve the 6th best time despite the impossibility of finding a rhythm without embarrassment.
Starting in the 3rd row of the race and after a new start (which becomes a habit now for Florian), he finds himself stuck behind a competitor who makes several mistakes, thus dragging him into his tumble until he has to take the escape from the problems to avoid the accident. Nevertheless, he is not discouraged and from 12th place he manages to gain 5 places to finish the race in 7th position.
In view of the lack of preparation due to bad weather, this result is very honorable and keeps Florian in the running for the TOP 5 in the General Classification and allows him to widen the gap on his competitors in the Rookies Ranking. The lead the Team has in 4th place overall, is also preserved.
"Not being able to prepare correctly for this track, I did not know where I was going to be in front of my opponents, I was very happy with the session in the rain even if it was not useful. For the rest of the weekend, I performed well in the dry conditions, I had full confidence in the team because I had no negative marks and I finished with the 2nd fastest time of the race. I was stuck in the first round because I had to perform better. I am also very happy to be able to increase my lead in the Rookies Ranking. "
SPA : Always in the loop
After the summer break, the Porsche Supercup Mobil 1 resumed on the Belgian Ardennes circuit SPA FRANCORCHAMPS on August 25th and 26th. The rainy weather and the winter temperatures marked of the end of the summer holidays.
This famous circuit is particularly appreciated by Florian who, for several years, has always performed positively on this track. Nevertheless, the weather conditions were very different from what Florian had tested with his engineer previously, and thus, put them in difficulty. They could not find the level of competitiveness with the opponents during the free practice session. They remained at the track late at night to study the problems and try to find solutions.
After a rainy night, the team woke up to a dry track just in time for the qualifying rounds. Unfortunately, due to the previous day, Florian couldn’t show his true talents. He finished in 14th place in the qualifying rounds.
After the earlier rainfall, the race day had a change in store with plenty of sunshine, but the morning began with low temperatures of 5 degrees. Starting in the 7th row is never easy at this level of competition, but Florian would not give up. Thanks to a great start and a magnificent first lap, he quickly moved back into ninth place, overtaking 5 positions. After, he continued to fight and pushed his car to its limits bringing him to the end of the race in 8th place.
This lack of performance in qualifications will not ultimately cost Florian too much. Thanks to a reinvigorated car and lots of moment during the race, he finally saved the day with this 8th place in the General Classification and 1st place in the Rookie classification.
Still in contention for the Top 5 overall standings, Florian remains at the top of the Rookie standings. This result also allows the team to consolidate its 3rd place in the team rankings and France to take control of the National rankings.
"It was a difficult weekend because we had a hard time finding a competitive car, and we managed to not lose too much, especially with the win in the Rookie standings - hard work and perseverance rewarded us".
HUNGARORING : Good work, but no reward
Under scorching heat, the Hungaroring circuit in Budapest hosted the 6th round of the PORSCHE SUPERCUP MOBIL 1 championship for 2018. This particularly complicated circuit left no room for error as the race for the championship continued.
The usual format offers a free practice session on Friday of 45 minutes. The work program developed for Florian for this session made him use his two sets of tires from the beginning of the timed session. The various set ups are thus refined and improved until the end of training. The final time for this training session wasn’t perfect but the practice strategy was perfectly mastered. Despite being in 17th place at the end of the timed sessions, the team was absolutely not worried, controlling the conditions and allowing Florian to continue to progress.
The qualifications confirm that the performance is there. On the first set of tires, Florian is deprived of his best time due to going out of bounds in turn 9. Then he is caught out of bounds again during his return to the box. This was more embarrassing because he wasn’t given a proper time and he was given an official warning that could lower his starting pole position. Therefore, once he changed to the 2nd set of tires, he left the box with come limitations meaning that he now needed a perfect performance without the slightest mistake. This successful exercise left him in 6th place and only 17 hundredths of a second away from the top 3. Despite this good result, Florian did have some regrets especially because he could not fully embrace this very technical circuit as he had hoped.
With a temperature of 35 ° the race was set to begin. Florian’s 3rd place pole position allowed him to get off to a perfect start. He focused on the first breaking point in 4th position allowing him to gain 2 places and then tried to pass the driver in 3rd place. However, Florian left a little too much room on the inside thus allowing his opponent to rush in and block Florian in the middle of the track. At this level of competition, as soon as a bit of open space is given, everyone tries to rush into it. At the end of the first round, Florian finds himself in 10th place even after beautifully overtaking his opponents. Regardless of his efforts, Florian crossed the finish line in 10th place.
Overall, Florian retains the lead in the Rookie rankings, remains close to the top 5 overall which also allows the team to consolidate its 3rd place overall ranking.
"The places lost in the first 2 corners cost me a lot, we had the performance and talent, at least for 3rd place, but it's so hard to double on this circuit that I've never managed to get out of the group thus blocking me from going any faster."
HOCKENHEIM : A whim of the weather that can change all things
This month, the races are back to back. After England, Germany was next to receive the SUPERCUP on the Hockenheim race track on the 21st and 22nd of July. The race promised to be difficult with all the main teams competing for the championship.
Hockenheim is a track that Florian had little prepared this winter and so the 45 minutes of free practice on Friday was very important. The team had therefore prepared a program that would have to optimize the conditions despite scorching and very stormy weather. During the first 35 minutes, the conditions continued to improve. A few laps from the end of the race, Florian was able to put all his eggs in one basket to finish with the second-best time of the session.
One hour before the qualifying session, the weather decided to take a turn for the worst. The track flooded. All the mechanics and engineers must, in only a few minutes, review and modify any settings needed on the cars. The race began with rain tires. With 10 minutes remaining in the race, Florian tries the slick tires and this is the right choice. His main opponents followed suit. Florian kept the pole position until 3 laps from the end. Embarrassed by the much slower drivers who kept the rain tires, he was unable to improve his time as the track dried. His opponents quickly overtake him, one after the other, returning him to 15th position.
Starting in 8th position does not guarantee your safety in a platoon of 31 cars. Regardless, Florian was still able to fight his way up the rankings. Despite a very solid race, he will only manage to climb to 13th place overall.
Midway through the championship, Florian continues to knock at the door of the TOP 5 and best Rookie. This position is very encouraging for upcoming events. With little experience at this level, everything remains possible to reach new podiums.
"It’s too bad the qualifying session was a gamble with the weather because I think we could have scored a lot more points in less changing conditions. But I still managed to save some points which keeps me in the lead of the Rookies standings."
SILVERSTONE : A crown in English territory
For the 4th round of the Porsche Supercup Mobil 1 Championship, gave it their all on the very demanding English circuit at Silverstone. With nearly 6 kilometers of track, on a particularly hot summer day and with more than 300,000 spectators, everything came together for a great day of racing in the English motorsport.
Very successful in the free practice round, Florian was at ease on this English course finishing 2nd after being able to officially test the course with Porsche. The pre-race set up offered by the team Martinet by Alméras were perfect for him. Everything looked good and every member of the team thought that Sunday’s race would have something in store.
During the qualifying session on Saturday, Florian was untouchable, keeping the best time from the beginning to the end of the session. It is already a highlight of the day with this result that few drivers managed to grant themselves. After the euphoria, the Alméras clan quickly got back to work to perfect Florian's car and prepare for the next day’s race. Nothing is ever given in the Supercup series…
For his first start in pole position, Florian did not hesitate and took on the best on team Ammermüller, the leader of the championship. He perfectly mastered the first laps then continued tenth by tenth, until having more than a 2 second advantage over the next driver. Unfortunately, the Safety Car had to make an appearance after the clash of two cars and thus negates the efforts made until then. At the restart, Florian must again contain the assaults of his pursuer, which he will perfectly master up until he crossed the finish line.
From this fourth race in this championship series, the team and personal goals are achieved: a podium, a pole position and a victory. A fighter like Florian will not let go and he will have to count on himself for the podium placement at the end of the championship series. After such an early season, he can only rev up his ambitions.
This English domination allows Florian to take the lead of the Rookie Championship, to move up in the general ranking to 4th position thus taking team Martinet by Alméras to 3rd place of the team rankings.
"My first Supercup victory here at Silverstone is really fantastic. I managed to get a good pole start, restart after the Safety Car and put pressure on team Ammermüller without making a mistake." A big thank you to the team, Philippe Alméras and Pierre Martinet without whom all this would not be possible ".
RED BULL RING : Two-fold progress
The third round of the SUPERCUP MOBIL 1 championship had an appointment with the drivers at SPIELBERG on the RED BULL RING circuit on July 1st, 2018. The drivers were welcomed with good weather and sunny skies.
The free practice session allowed the team to continue the tests that were already well refined during the CARRERA CUP Germany round, during which Florian placed 5th and 4th in both races. This very constructive session validated the race settings for the Saturday qualifying session.
During the first part of the timed sessions, Florian did not find the necessary space to race as he wanted among the 32 competitors. The first set of tires will therefore remain a poor representation of the true level of competition Florian and his car have. Fortunately, during the 2nd trail, and after some adjustments on the car, Florian had a very good lap time which placed him in 3rd position.
Starting from the second row, Florian made a good start and took over second place in the third corner. This overtaking will not be validated by the race director who will ask a little later Florian to make room for the competitor he had just doubled. At the end of a breathtaking and highly contested race, he will cross the finish line in 3rd place within two seconds of the winner.
Thanks to this great result, Florian got his first podium placement in the 3rd round of the championship and is awarded his trophy by Mark Webber. He is back in 7th place for the overall standings and is back on the heels of the Rookie leader thanks to his new ranking. As a result, associated with that of his teammate puts the MARTINET by ALMERAS team in 3rd place in the overall team rankings and France in 2nd place in the Nations rankings.
"This is my first podium in the PORSCHE SUPERCUP MOBIL 1. I am really happy. The race was highly contested, and my car was very competitive. After the 3rd place placement in the race against the clock, we showed that we were very competitive and that we can be counted on for the rest of the season."
MONACO : Rookie podium
From May 24th to May 27th, Florian raced on the urban circuit in Monaco. With summer weather conditions, he discovered during the second round of the championship series that any driver’s dreams can be tamed. The particularly narrow passages, the tunnel, the vibration, all brought together on one of the most difficult tracks in the world.
A major challenge in the streets of Monaco awaited the drivers, especially beginners like Florian. The only free practice session is used to discover and learn as quickly as possible all the turns and to make the most of all the experience of Team Martinet by Alméras because there is no time to lose on this track. Florian will come out with an honorable 11th place for the future.
The race in Monaco is a particularly complicated exercise, hence the importance of timing. After the use of the two sets of tires, Florian finished in a very good 10th place. First among the beginners and only 1 second from the first line time.
Starting line departures in Monaco are very often hectic. This year however, has challenged the rule. Florian, placed on the outside of the track, will have a hard time in the first corner. He did pretty well losing only one place in the standings. He then managed a race without fault. At the finish, he was eleventh place overall and second place on the Rookies podium.
This excellent result allowed Florian to collect valuable points in the overall standings and places him close to the top three Rookies in the championship.
"Monaco is legendary, but it's the event as a whole, not just the circuit! Some curves are impressive, and when we climb the vibrations challenge us. We do not have the right to miss, otherwise it is direct into the rail. It's all the more difficult because you do not roll a lot, so every minute of track experience is important. I'm happy to have finished in the second position of the Rookies podium for a first time in Monaco: it's honorable."
BARCELONA: 1st promising performances in the Supercup.
The first meeting of the Porsche Supercup Mobil 1 season took place on the Barcelona circuit with the Formula 1 Grand Prix from May 11th to 13th, 2018.
With sunny weather and good temperatures, Florian made his debut among the 30 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup at the highest level of competition offered with this car.
Saturday at the end of the day, the qualifying session would reveal the level of performance of Florian among the world leaders in the category. From the beginning, Florian is in trouble but during a passage in pit lane for the second round, the team modifies a few things allowing Florian to go full throttle. For the last lap, Florian who got out from the pits first, signs off on the best time that would only be beaten at the end of the session by a professional driver and a Junior Team Porsche driver. This 3rd place demonstrated a good performance in an intense and indecisive session from the beginning all the way through to the end.
"It makes me really happy to qualify third place in the first meeting. My team provided me with an excellent car and I just regret that I had to delay my last lap because of the traffic. Without it, I may have been able to take the win. "
The weekend races took place in front of filled stands just before the F1 Grand Prix. After an uncontrolled start, Florian connected with a succession of racing facts. However, bad decisions ultimately lead to 18th place. The two safety cars laps reduced the overall race time and allowed Florian to get back into 14th place to finish.
This first experience for this season confirms a level of performance among the best but also shows that Florian will have to fight among the more experiences drivers.