An excellent run for Stephen Grove in Round 4 of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup at Silverstone, Great Britain saw him claim a second place finish in class.
The Team Australia driver took home yet another best-ever result in Porsche Supercup, going one spot better than his previous best which was third in Austria last time out.
Second in class at Silverstone was good enough for 24th outright in front of a massive British Grand Prix Sunday crowd of 141,000 people.
For the second time in as many rounds, Grove made up a raft of spots on the opening lap with a lightning-speed start.
From 27th on the grid, the experienced Melburnian sliced his way past four cars as the lights went out, two of which were Pros before they passed him back later in the lap.
By the end of Lap 1, the #28 of Grove ran 25th outright which already put him up to second in Pro-Am.
Maintaining a strong pace throughout the 13-lap race, consistently in the 2min: 6s, Grove staked his claim at the pointy end of the Pro-Am field.
On Lap 10 he got past Pro-class runner Chris Hoy and up into 24th, however, was aware of his mirrors as fellow Pro-Am driver Philipp Sager closed in.
Spots of rain began to fall around the Silverstone Circuit in the last few laps, making for tricky conditions as cars were sliding around on the damp track.
The three-time Carrera Cup Australia Pro-Am champion kept his head down right until the chequered flag, despite coming under immense pressure from Sager on the final lap.
At the line, Grove was 0.4s in front of his competitor marking the multiple Bathurst 12 Hour class winner’s second class podium of the Supercup season, with the trophies presented by English-Australian singer-songwriter Leo Sayer.
Grove’s fastest lap of the race was a 2:06.380s, coming on Lap 3 as he reeled in Hoy in the early exchanges.
The strong Silverstone showing sees Grove close the gap to Sager to just 8 points in the series standings; Grove himself sitting in third on 60 points.
Speaking after the race, Grove said he was thrilled with the result and believed it galvanised the hard work that has been going on behind the scenes over the first four rounds.
Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup heads to Germany next for Round 5 at the Hockenheimring from July 26-28, 2019.
STEPHEN GROVE QUOTEBOARD:
“Listen, Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup is obviously one of highest levels of one-make racing in the world and you’re racing against some of the best drivers in the world. To get second in class at this level for me is an outstanding achievement. I’ve done a lot of racing over my journey but to come here on a really high-speed track and get second is pretty special. I’m absolutely rapt.
“The field is so competitive so it’s really hard to pass because a lot of the guys you’re out there with are very experienced racers. That makes the start super important and really the make or break moment of your race. I’ve been working really hard on my starts; the Red Bull Ring one was good but this one was another blindingly good get away. I got four drivers off the line, two of which were Pros but then they came through a few corners later. From there it was head down for the remainder of the race. I worked my way up to Chris Hoy and then went through the process of working out where he wasn’t as strong and then passing him. After that I just had to fend off Philipp Sager until the end because I knew he was coming fast — and I managed to keep him at bay. Starts are everything in Porsche Supercup, if you can get a good one you can make up a lot of spots.
“Looking at the season so far, second is obviously now my best result of the season. The European tracks are different, the way they set cars up here is different, so there’s been a lot of work behind the scenes. Brenton has done an enormous amount of work from Australia, he’s really been helping engineer the car set-up from Australia on race weekends. He’s been invaluable because he’s been able to pour over data and engineer the car during the night for me here being different time zones. I just think that the last two rounds we’ve been starting to put together a good car. The car was really, really good today, so I’m really happy with where we’re heading. Can’t wait for the next one.”