Le Mans, 21 September – Rudy van Buren was forced to settle for less in his first major race this season. Though the 28-year-old Dutchman was able to follow closely behind the leading pack, a late incident saw him dropping back into the midfield.
The first Porsche Carrera Cup race of 2020 was held on the legendary Circuit de 24 Heures du Mans, as a support series race to the postponed world-famous endurance race. Coming off three strong weekends in other Porsche racing categories, Rudy faced a massive field of 52 other drivers here, mostly competing in the German and French championships.
Both free practice sessions around the 3.8-mile circuit went fairly well. He set the 12th fastest time in the opening heat; the red flag-riddled second one got him to P18. The sixty minute qualifying heat presented some issues though, as Rudy explains: “We had minor braking problems and the pedal felt increasingly soft, so I had to pump the brakes as the issue persisted. The brake pedal suddenly went long on a fast lap, after which I locked up the wheels and suffered a flat spot. I had to enter the pits to get one used tyre re-fitted, which left me without any slipstream to achieve 16th on the grid.”
Rain hindered the event on Saturday before it even got started and the 45 minute long race, which was broadcast live on national television in France and Germany as well as on YouTube and Facebook through Porsche’s channels, commenced behind the safety car. As the 53 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars were unleashed, Rudy immediately gained some positions. An incident after several laps saw the safety car return on track, which it left again just over twenty minutes before the end. At the restart, the Dutchman passed even more opponents and climbed up to 8th.
As he was trailing the leading pack of cars, disaster struck. In Rudy’s words: “A French driver was passing me in a chicane. I was prepared to surrender that spot there, but he left me no room as I slid against his car and we both spun. I dropped back to 20th and the car picked up some damage, which left me unable to put up a fight in the closing stages.”
Another incident brought out the safety car once more and after a total of nine laps, Rudy had to settle for 21th, nearly 23 seconds behind the winner. However, this also resulted in tenth place in the Porsche Carrera Cup Germany standings, which netted him six points for the title battle.
Rudy: “It is like it is. If this was ‘that bad weekend’ of this season, at least it’s over now. I’ve put that behind me as I’m completely focussed on the next racing weekend.” The next Porsche Carrera Cup Germany event marks three races around the Sachsenring on 2-4 October, as well as a test day. After that, the series will visit the Red Bull Ring (16-18 October), Circuit Zandvoort (30 October-2 November) and Oschersleben (6-8 November).