Porsche Carrera Cup Asia is underway
Imperatori sweeps to victory and Hamdan extends Class B lead
Porsche Carrera Cup Asia – Round 3
Tue 22.04.14, 11:11AM
Shanghai. PICC Team StarChase driver Alexandre Imperatori returned to the dominant form which saw him take the 2012 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia championship, as he swept to a convincing win in Round 3, held in support of the Chinese F1 Grand Prix in Shanghai. Starting from pole, Imperatori wasted no time in pulling out a gap from second-place finisher Martin Ragginger of Porsche Holding, crossing the line 3.666 seconds ahead of the Austrian at the end of the 12-lap race. Third was defending champion Earl Bamber of LKM Racing who had started from fourth on the grid and shaved more than a second of last year’s fastest lap in the new Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (Type 991).
In Class B, talented Malaysian youngster Alif Hamdan of Nexus Racing took his second class victory this season, learning from his error in Round 2 which saw him finish down in 12th. Behind Hamdan a pitched battle saw OpenRoad Racing’s Francis Tjia prevail after a prolonged and thrilling chase with Round 2 Class B winner Yuey Tan of Dorr Havelock Racing.
Imperatori’s win may have looked effortless but it was anything but, the talented driver knowing full well the power of the field behind him: “You have to stay on the limit as you know the guys behind are pushing very hard. I knew once I built up a gap then I could start to manage the race. Towards the end we had a few small issues, but we can address those. Everyone is improving in the cars all the time, so we must do the same. I predict a long, hard battle for the championship this season, so we will have to be on our toes all the time.”
Ragginger, as a true professional never happy to settle for second best, knows there is more work to be done: “I’m still struggling with the car, especially in the dry today. I couldn’t follow Alex this time, he was too quick. The rain yesterday helped a bit, but in the dry everything has to be perfect.”
Hamdan was pleased with his progress so far this season but eager to get out on track again: “We got the set-up right for the dry, and kept out of trouble. I’d say we’re half way with the new car. I need a bit more time in the car, so am looking forward to Zhuhai.”
As the lights went out, Imperatori got a brilliant getaway but Ragginger was immediately in hot pursuit, lights ablaze. Tung Ho-Pin held off a hard-charging Bamber, in the melee Team Jebsen’s Rodolfo Avila getting by the New Zealander and up to fourth. The Macau driver then took the fight to Tung who again defended well until Avila eventually found a way past. Next, the Budweiser Team Absolute Racing driver had Bamber upon him, passing him on the second lap.
Meanwhile, Zheng Tong Auto’s Zhang Da Sheng fell victim to a racing incident with Mentos Racing’s Egidio Perfetti who started from the third row of the grid, but recovered well to cross the line 11th behind Ro C. Skyangel.
Back at the front, Imperatori had managed to put some distance between him and Ragginger, while Bamber was piling massive pressure onto Avila, who was fighting hard to pull free from the relentless attack and retain the final podium place. Meanwhile in the mid-field, some superb racing was being played out with on-the-limit overtaking and some brilliant defensive driving.
Lap 7 saw Avila slip up, still unused to the brakes on the new Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (Type 991), forfeiting the podium to Bamber but recovering quickly from a spin to hold off Tung and take home fourth place points.
Zhang Zhen Dong of Team Basetex drove a storming race from 10th on the grid to cross the line sixth ahead of reigning Class B champion Perfetti, with Jason Zhang Zhi Qiang also impressing with an eighth place finish. The two Chinese drivers, along with Zhang Da Sheng and Team Synsanly’s Bao Jin Long, are part of the new China driver development programme and are showing marked improvement with each outing.
After a truly momentous start to its 12th season, with three races in support of the Formula 1 World Championship in Malaysia last month and Shanghai this weekend, the Porsche Carrera Cup turns south to China’s Pearl River Delta Region for a double header at the country’s first purpose-built motorsport facility, the Zhuhai International Circuit. With neighbouring Hong Kong, Macau and Guangzhou, along with Zhuhai, all passionate fan bases of the series, Rounds 4&5 from May 9 to 11 are guaranteed to be a true celebration of the very finest in racing technology and sporting excellence.