Where we say in football that the match lasts for 90 minutes, we say in motorsport that the season is still long. That’s pretty much how Project 1’s situation could be described. After a moderate degree of success in the first race, we now have our goals clearly in view: driver’s title with Sean Edwards and best juniors with Sean Johnston and Jeffrey Schmidt.
At first, it didn’t look like Sean Edwards would be able to finish the weekend as the big winner. Achieving positions 3 and 2 in qualifying, and finishing the first race in 5th place, at first he appeared to be losing out to his opponents. However, the good thing about having a second race each weekend is that the drivers get a second chance and this is what Sean Edwards used on Sunday.
After a good start, the only driver who finished the race in front of him was double winner Nicki Thiim. “It was a good race for me and the team. We’ve worked hard and with second place today we’ve won a lot of important points for the Championship” said a happy Edwards, who also stayed fair. “An accident and no points are a disaster for any driver. It was me in Spielberg and here at the Lausitzring it was Kévin Estre. You don’t wish it on anybody but we’ll gladly take it. The competition stays exciting and we’re back in business.” With a total of 30 points, Sean Edwards has regained 2nd place in the Championship and at the same time has reduced the gap to leader Kévin Estre to 16 points. With ten races still left this season, there are plenty of chances to reach the top of the leader board.
Normally, people’s expectations of a rookie, a driver who is new in the Porsche Carrera Cup, are limited. Results inside the top ten are usually declared as goals and are realistic, but Jeffrey Schmidt would never have anticipated a result like he achieved today. His declared goal at the start of the weekend was a top ten finish. On Saturday, he narrowly missed his target, finishing in 12th place. What happened on Sunday, however, was a massive dream come true for the young Swiss driver. In only his 5th Porsche Carrera Cup race he found himself on the podium, finishing in 3rd place. The foundation of this fantastic result was 5th place in qualifying. From there he was on the attack, and gained 2 places during the race. “It’s absolutely crazy to have landed in 3rd place here at the Lausitzring in my fifth race. I was the only one in the first seven driving with old tyres, which made driving really difficult. Norbert Siedler, who was behind me, gave me a hard fight but I just did what my mentor Sean Edwards and our engineer Kosta have given me along the way. The car was just perfect and Project 1 have done an amazing job. A huge thank you to the team, it was just huge.” said the delighted Swiss driver, driving for ‘Team Deutsche Post by Project 1’. On the rookie leader board, Jeffrey Schmidt has gained 20 valuable points and moves to 3rd place, just 8 points behind the leader, American Connor de Phillippi.
Unfortunately, Sean Johnston didn’t have quite such a successful weekend. In the first race he finished in 18th place and in the second race the Project 1 junior driver sadly had to retire, although his hopes had been high after qualifying in 7th position: “The first race was really interesting for me and I fought hard. Unfortunately, I spun on oil and could only manage 18th place. In the second race I hoped for a lot more. I wanted to turn my seventh place in qualifying into a top result in the race, but unfortunately a broken radiator meant I had to finish the race early.
I’m really pleased for Jeffrey, Sean and the team, though, they’ve all had great results. At the Norisring I’ll be on the attack again.”
Team boss Paul Schlotmann is above all proud of the overall performance of the team and the path which Project 1 is on. “I’m pleased that, after the disappointment in Spielberg, we’ve been able to come back with a result like this. Jeffrey in particular deserves special praise. To defend himself against someone as experienced as Norbert Siedler and not to make a mistake is amazing. It shows us that Project 1 in on the right path. Sean Edwards together with Kosta is the perfect mentoring team for our two juniors. Today, the outcome of our work was third place for Jeffrey, and I’m sure that there will be many more results like that in the future.”
The Norisring in Nürnberg is seen as the Monaco of the DTM. The Porsche Carrera Cup teams and drivers will be battling for championship points there on 13th and 14th July. ‘Team Deutsche Post by Project 1’ will be on the attack again and looking to continue the improving trend.
The race can be viewed via an internet live stream on the official Porsche website.
News and background information about the race and about Project 1 can be found on the website and on Facebook.
Racing calendar – Porsche Carrera Cup Germany:
Hockenheim II 20.10.2013
For someone who won the prestigious 24 hour race at the Nürburgring and then a week later at his home Grand Prix in Monaco celebrated a fantastic victory from pole position, it was justifiable that he also planned to win his next race. Sadly, this wasn’t to be the case for Sean Edwards and his ‘Deutsche Post by Project 1’ team at the Red Bull Ring in Styria in Austria.
At first everything ran to plan. In free practice in the pouring rain, Edwards finished in first place in his yellow Porsche. In the ensuing qualifying session in dry conditions, Sean Edwards qualified in 4th place for the first race and 3rd place for the second. The two rookies, Jeffrey Schmidt and Sean Johnston had to get used to the new track. Jeffrey Schmidt achieved 12th place and 18th place and Sean Johnston 16th place and 20th place for the first and second races respectively.
The first race on Saturday started just like qualifying. From 4th position on the grid Sean Edwards had good prospects and, after a good drive, finished the race on the podium in 3rd place. “I wasn`t fast enough in the first five laps and after that I couldn’t make up the gap to the cars at the front. 3rd place is ok and the points are good for the team”, said Edwards, who has made Monaco his adopted home, about his first race in Austria.
The wet second race on Sunday was, however, a big disappointment. “The race was a disaster. Unfortunately, Nicki Thiim forced me into a spin with an unnecessary manoeuvre and after that I just drove behind. The car was damaged and undriveable. To finish in 13th place can’t really be called damage limitation and the big winner of the weekend was Thiim’s team mate, Kévin Estre. It’ll be really difficult to catch him in the championship now, but I’ll do everything I can to win as many races as possible this year”, summed up a disappointed Sean Edwards.
For Jeffrey Schmidt, the weekend in Austria similarly contained highs and lows. On Saturday, a great performance saw him take 10th place and finish, as hoped, within the top ten. On Sunday, a collision sadly ended his race. “Unfortunately, we didn’t have optimal timing in respect of the tyre choice, so in the first race I had to start a long way back. But I really enjoyed the race and I made my way up to 10th place. It was great”, said the euphoric rookie after a great performance on Saturday. A day later, things looked very different: “In the second race, straight after the start the tie rod was bent and the car was undriveable. I still tried and pushed hard but I was in 12th place and was also touched by Nicki Thiim so I unfortunately had to give up the race.”
The American Sean Johnston, who was racing for the first time at the Red Bull Ring, praised his technicians first and foremost. “I’m really pleased with the great work of my team. Just 10 days after the serious crash at the Nürburgring, they put a perfect car at my disposal. It’s a fantastic performance and tells me, yet again, that I’m driving with the right team.” Johnston took part in both races with the principle of ‘learn, learn, learn’ in mind. “The first race in the dry was really exciting and I had a lot of fun. We had some great overtaking manoeuvres and I learnt quickly and learnt a lot in my fight with the other drivers”, Johnston analysed his races. He explained “The mixed conditions on Sunday were new for me. During the race, the track got dryer and dryer and the tyres were worn down. I’m pleased with 15th place and 1 point. Now there’s a two week break and a chance to catch our breath and after that I’m looking forward to the Lausitzring”.
On the long journey home to North Germany, ‘Team Deutsche Post by Project 1’ will be stopping off at the Lausitzring. The team and the drivers will be using this test as preparation for the next two races in the Porsche Carrera Cup on 15th and 16th June. Up to now the Eurospeedway Lausitz has always been a good plaster for the ‘yellows’ from Lohne.
A little bit of peace can finally descend this weekend. Team boss Paul Schlotmann and his troupe have now been on the road for five races without a break. “It definitely wasn’t a perfect weekend for us and the constant highs and lows put a strain on body and soul. The boys and I are pleased to have a couple of days less stress and strain. But we’ll be well prepared for the Lausitzring and we’ll be on the attack again. It’s time for the first win for Project 1 in the Porsche Carrera Cup.
News and background information about the races and about Project 1 can be found on the website and on Facebook.
Racing calendar – Porsche Carrera Cup Germany:
Hockenheim II 20.10.2013