LKM Racing’s Earl Bamber took a thunderous victory in Round 2 of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia today, held as part of this weekend’s Chinese F1 Grand Prix, charging ahead of the battling field to cross the line more than six seconds ahead of Porsche Holding’s Martin Ragginger who drove a thunderous race from fifth on the grid after a puncture in qualifying.
Third across the line after one of the most eventful and exciting races in the series’ 12-year history was PICC Team StarChase driver Alexandre Imperatori followed by China’s Tung Ho-Pin of Budweiser Team Absolute Racing.
The fight for the Class B win was just as enthralling, with Dorr Havelock Racing’s Yuey Tan taking a superb victory, fending off a final late challenge from Clearwater Racing’s Mok Weng Sun. Third in the class was Round 1 winner and category pole-sitter Alif Hamdan of Nexus Racing who did well to climb back through the field after a spin on lap four dropped him down the order.
Said Bamber, whose win strengthens his position at the top of the overall leaderboard: “It was tough to get a start as it’s the first time anyone’s started in the wet in one of these cars, so you just have to guess. I got a good start and then it was just a matter of keeping my head down. The drying track was very greasy, but we’ve done some ice racing with Porsche which was good practice! It’s going to be a great race tomorrow.”
Commented Ragginger: “It was a nice race. It was a difficult starting position after our puncture in qualifying and I had to make my way through [the field]. It was not so easy in the beginning as I was trying to pass Ho-Pin but then I got on the wet stuff and Egidio went past me again. It took a bit to get past them, and then I closed up to Alex and we touched a little bit but it was alright.”
Imperatori too had a tough race “It was wet but wasn’t raining any more so there was less and less water on the track. After the start I had to fight a bit to keep my position, but it was clean and fair. I was hoping to keep my position and to close up to Earl. It was going well on first two laps but the rear tyres completely overheated. I was sliding around and losing too much time every lap. We couldn’t do any more today but hopefully tomorrow we can do better from pole.”
A thrilled Tan, who has bounced back from an unlucky opening race in Malaysia, was happy to be back on track: “I’m really delighted today! Things went pretty good in the dry yesterday so we were hoping for dry, but the rain came and we got tyres on at the last minute so it was a bit of a panic. Once we got on track I got a great start and it was really good racing. Towards the end the tyres were a little bit old and the track was getting dry so we lost quite a lot of rear end grip. On the penultimate lap I went pretty sideways and Weng managed to close in. It was a great race form Weng too!”
As the 28-strong field thundered away from the grid throwing up a spectacular spray as the rain pounded down, Bamber got a brilliant getaway and immediately set about pulling away from the chasing pack. Tung stormed past Imperatori into second while Ragginger stole the march on Mentos Racing’s Egidio Perfetti, but the positions were not to hold. In what was a frenetic opening lap, Imperatori reclaimed his place from Tung, and Ragginger ran wide, handing fourth temporarily back to Perfetti. Team Jebsen’s Rodolfo Avila was in the mix too, and as the cars crossed the line at the end of the opening lap it was Bamber out front leading Imperatori, Tung, Ragginger, Perfetti and Avila, with Hamdan heading the Class B pack in seventh overall.
Ragginger was a man on a mission, challenging Tung, while further back Zheng Tong Auto’s Zhang Da Sheng was piling the pressure onto Hamdan, while Avila dropped back down the order, making a successful move on Zhang before running wide. Ragginger was taking no prisoners, passing Tung and then moving up to second after Imperatori ran wide.
Hamdan’s spin saw him drop down the field, giving the category lead to Wayne Shen followed by Mok and Tan. Mok then piled on the pressure to Shen, the latter finally caving in and running wide, rejoining behind Hamdan. Mok himself then became the target, Tan sniffing victory and taking the lead on lap eight.
Three of the four China Junior Development Programme drivers were, as in Malaysia, evenly matched, with Zhang Da Sheng losing a couple of positions at the start, and Jason Zhang Zhi Qiang of Team C&D leading the trio an impressive sixth overall until Zhang Da Sheng got by in a spectacular maneuver in the closing stages of the race. Zhang Da Sheng then took the fight to Perfetti on the final lap, pressuring the reigning Class B champion into making an error with the chequered flag in sight.
Race finished early for Team Synsanly’s Bao Jin Long after he ran into Team Betterlife’s Li Chao, Team Yongda Dongfang’s Ro. C. Skyangel stopped with technical problems, and Bentley’s Yeung of Tiger Racing Team fell victim to the treacherous track conditions.
After one of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia’s most thrilling races, showcasing the depth of talent, skill and experience throughout the field, all eyes will be on Round 3 held just prior to the start of China’s most prestigious race, the Chinese F1 Grand Prix.
Porsche Carrera Cup Asia
Round 2 Provisional Results
Pos No Driver/Nationality Class Entrant/Nationality Time
1 1 Earl BAMBER (NZL) LKM Racing Team (HKG) 28:50.273
2 86 Martin RAGGINGER (AUT) Team Porsche Holding (CHN) +6.151
3 99 Alexandre IMPERATORI (HKG) PICC Team StarChase (CHN) +14.167
4 58 TUNG Ho-Pin (CHN) Budweiser Team Absolute Racing (CHN) +23.422
5 55 ZHANG Da Sheng (CHN) Zheng Tong Auto (CHN) +29.228
6 66 Jason ZHANG Zhi Qiang (CHN) Team C&D (CHN) +32.808
7 88 Egidio PERFETTI (SIN) Mentos Racing Team (SIN) +34.736
8 18 ZHANG Zhen Dong (CHN) Team Basetex (CHN) +40.057
9 20 Rodolfo AVILA (MAC) Team Jebsen (HKG) +43.799
10 5 Yuey TAN (SIN) B Dorr Havelock Racing (SIN) +48.166
11 12 MOK Weng Sun (SIN) B Clearwater Racing (SIN) +48.834
12 72 Alif HAMDAN (MAS) B Nexus Racing (MAS) +56.721
13 98 Henri RICHARD (USA) B Silicon Tech Racing LLC (USA) +59.372
14 11 Ringo CHONG (SIN) Team Kangshun (CHN) +61.210
15 16 Wayne SHEN (HKG) B Modena Motorsports (HKG) +64.206
16 21 Francis TJIA (HKG) B OpenRoad Racing Team (HKG) +64.620
17 9 LI Chao (CHN) Team Betterlife (CHN) +65.165
18 28 John SHEN (HKG) B Modena Motorsports (HKG) +68.347
19 33 Samson CHAN (HKG) B Samson CHAN (HKG) +72.496
20 51 Johnson HUANG (TPE) B BC Racing Team (TPE) +79.595
21 68 MAK Hing Tak (HKG) B Kamlung Racing (HKG) +94.531
22 3 Michael S. (INA) B OpenRoad Racing Team +94.855
23 2 Kenneth LAU (HKG) B Prince Racing Hong Kong (HKG) +114.412
24 22 SIU Yuk Lung (HKG) B LKM Racing Team (HKG) +118.045
25 6 Michael CHOI (HKG) B Prince Racing (HKG) 1 Lap
– 78 Bentley YEUNG (HKG) B Tiger Racing Team (HKG) DNF
– 8 Ro.C. Skyangel (SIN) Team Yongda Dongfang (CHN) DNF
Source. Porsche Carrera Cup Asia