Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland, round 6, Circuit Park Zandvoort (NED), preview: Two champions lead

Richard Westbrook returns to Zandvoort (Netherlands) with good memories. On the “Circuit Park“ track last year the Brit scored his first victory in the Carrera Cup Germany – in what was only his second race. But because he joined the 2006 season halfway through the season, Westbrook was not eligible to earn championship points.

In 2007 Westbrook returns to the Dutch venue as the leader of the championship. After wins on the Hockenheimring, in Oschersleben and on the EuroSpeedway Lausitz the Londoner holds a five-point advantage over second-placed Uwe Alzen (Germany) after five of nine rounds. Alzen’s best results in 2007: two second places and a third. Last year, the 39-year-old Porsche stalwart joined Westbrook on the podium in third.

The Brit and the German are rightly regarded as two of the elite drivers in the Porsche one make series. Alzen claimed the title in the Carrera Cup Deutschland in 1992 and is the reigning vice champion. Westbrook was crowned the champion in the Carrera Cup Great Britain in 2004. Both have also demonstrated their excellence in the Porsche Mobil1 Supercup, the only GT racing series that is run exclusively as support to the FIA Formula One World Championship: Westbrook won the championship in 2006 and currently leads the points. Alzen was the overall winner in 1994 and runner-up in 2006.

Heading the field of young pursuers, Nicolas Armindo is hot on the trail of the two front-runners. Only one point separates the 25-year-old Frenchman from Uwe Alzen. On the EuroSpeedway, Armindo put in a brilliant performance clinching pole position, turning the fastest lap and winning the race. Armindo tackles his fourth year in Germany’s fastest one make race series.

Like Armindo, 22-year-old Chris Mamerow is in his fourth year in the Carrera Cup Deutschland. As one of the youngest drivers in the starter field, Mamerow consistently scores good results and climbed the podium at the Hockenheimring as well as the Norisring after he finished third. At the Norisring he turned the fastest race lap and presently is only five points in arrears of Armindo.

With two pole positions and two second places, Joerg Hardt (Germany) demonstrated his speed, but these were offset by two zero results, which put him in fifth on the points table, just ahead of former champion Christian Menzel (Germany). After experiencing his fare share of bad luck in the opening phase of the season, Menzel scored his first victory in 2007 at the fifth round on Nuremberg’s Norisring, five weeks ago.

For all drivers the 4.3 kilometre track in Zandvoort’s Circuit Park presents formidable challenges. Over crests and into dips the circuit follows the contours of the dunes, combined with blind passages and corners with a camber to the outside. The approach to the Scheivlak corner is regarded as enormously challenging: the right-left kink is tackled at far over 200kph in the 400 hp Porsches. The Scheivlak and the following Marlboro Bocht can be driven in fourth gear as can the Arie Luyendijk Bocht, where the 911 GT3 Cup reaches over 160kph.

In Zandvoort the Carrera Cup race takes place after the DTM round. On Sunday, 29 July at 14:45 hrs 38 drivers will take off on one of the most beautiful and challenging tracks of the year.