It was a tense Round 9 race for the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia in Singapore as multiple white-knuckled battles throughout the 25-strong grid wowed spectators, with the three race leaders missing the checkered flag to create a bit of last minute drama as Team Starchase’s Philip Hamprecht was handed a technical victory.
The qualifying session earlier in the afternoon demonstrated the level of competition seen throughout the 2017 season, with a marginal 0.0031 seconds seperating the fastest times. FAW T2M’s Will Bamber looked to be leading the grid after an all-out lap late in the session netted him the fastest lap at 2:18.627, just 0.001 seconds faster than Martin Ragginger and 0.031 seconds faster than Team Formax’s Chris van der Drift. Post-session adjudication shook up the grid however, with Bamber and van der Drift each handed a penalty for exceeding the track, bumping Bamber down to P3, hoisting Ragginger into P1 and leaving van der Drift in P2.
Gathering in front of the radiant Singapore skyline shortly after sundown, Round 9 saw some of the grittiest action so far this season. Straight off the line, van der Drift and Bamber were eager to make up for their displaced grid spots but a lazer start from Ragginger kept them at bay.
Further back, Team Starchase’s Philip Hamprecht charged the start to make a bold but well-executed push from his P5 starting position to overtake Porsche China Junior Team’s Zhang Dasheng to grab the fourth place spot.
With van der Drift and Bamber in hot pursuit, Ragginger kept to his mirrors as he put in expert defense while maintaining perfect racing lines.
As the race went into lap 5, van der Drift was forced to ease off Ragginger as the pressure from Bamber grew, giving the race leader brief reprieve and stripping van der Drift of any opportunities to mount an attack . Meanwhile, Hamprecht faced off with Porsche China Junior Team drivers Zhang Dasheng in 5th and Andrew Tang in 6th, going toe-to-toe as the young drivers tested his defenses.
Ragginger deflected an onslaught of attempts to overtake until the very end of the race when, distracted by the near photo-finish and with van der Drift close in his mirrors, all three race leaders carried on their battle unaware that the chequered flag had flow as they were entirely focused on the competition.
After a thunderous performance by all three drivers, Ragginger sealed his first place victory with van der Drift finishing 0.105 seconds later, and Bamber in third 0.352 seconds behind the leader.
Despite the strong finish, race stewards were forced to hand out 30-second penalties to all three race leaders after they missed the checkered flag, creating a bit of last minute drama as Philip Hamprecht, Zhang Dasheng and Andrew Tang were awarded first, second and third respectively.
“We were all really fast today. I was a bit fast in the beginning, then I saw Chris coming in a few parts. I was not so slow, but Chris and Will were both quite close to me, so I just tried not to make any mistakes. The last lap was a bit strange, I could see the flag, so I kept on fighting even though the race was over. Chris kept on fighting and so did I. We didn’t see the yellow flag so it was a bit confusing,“ Ragginger said in the press conference after the race.
Hamprecht’s ultimate win for Team Starchase furthered the team’s point chase with Team Porsche Holding from second place, closing the gap for the first place position earned by Team Porsche Holding’s Ragginger after an early season win-streak.
In Pro-Am, Kamlung Racing’s Evan Chen took the pole with a 2:20.571 lap time during qualifying after an unfortunate spin by rival Yuey Tan of Team Jebsen disrupted the Singapore native’s performance. Tan still managed a P2 with a respectable 2:21.727 time, with Modena Motorsports’ Wayne Shen starting in P3 after acehiving a 2:22.815 lap time.
With a rocket start from Chen, Tan was facing a tough hurdle to overcome two Overall drivers before being able to catch up to the race leader. Adding to Tan’s troubles, a close grouping among the mid-pack in Turn 3 forced Tan to hit on his brakes, sending him tumbling back several spots to fifth place.
His absence gave way to Modena Motorsports’ Wayne Shen, who slotted into second and began his march to the front, where he continued pushing for most of the race. Shen’s ambtious drive saw him slightly overreach in Lap 8 as he took a turn too fast and went spinning to the back of the pack.
Then it was a battle for Team Betterlife’s Li Chao, who briefly slotted into third before facing huge pressure from OpenRaod Racing’s Francis Tjia. Tjia managed to overtake Chao, but the battle left the two occupied while Yuey, down but far from out, crept his way forward.
With just minutes to go in the race, a bold maneuver by Tan saw him overtake Tjia to finalize the podium with Chen in first, Tan in second and Tjia in third.
“My start was ok, I just did my best to follow the cars in front. Lap after lap, I just couldn’t see the lights and the signals, so I had no idea which lap we were on. I just tried to keep carrying on. In that regard, it was a weird race, but it was a great race and a good way to finish my first night race,“ Chen said in the press conference after the race.
As tensions build in the championship table and the time ticks away toward the end of the season, Round 10 will see the fight continue as the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia once more takes to the Singapore streets for an late afternoon race on Sunday.
Porsche Carrera Cup Asia – Provisional Round 9 Results
|1||99||Philip HAMPRECHT||Team StarChase||28:13.522|
|2||19||ZHANG Dasheng||Porsche China Junior Team||28:14.100|
|3||10||Andrew TANG||Porsche China Junior Team||28:17.948|
|4||15||Tanart SATHIENTHIRAKUL||Absolute Racing||28:19.647|
|5||29||Akash Neil NANDY||Force Asia Racing||28:28.605|
|6||77||CUI Yue||Team Jebsen||28:31.426|
|7||86||Martin RAGGINGER||Team Porsche Holding||28:32.781|
|8||7||Chris VAN DER DRIFT||Team Formax||28:32.886|
|9||12||Will BAMBER||FAW T2 Motorsport||28:33.133|
|10||88||YUAN Bo||Team C&D Auto||28:37.183|
|11||68||Even CHEN||PA||Kamlung Racing||28:48.361|
|12||5||Yuey TAN||PA||Team Jebsen||28:57.970|
|13||21||Frances TJIA||PA||OpenRoad Racing||29:01.294|
|14||9||LI Chao||PA||Team Betterlife||29:22.877|
|15||78||Suttiluck BUNCHAROEN||PA||True Visions Motorsports Thailand||29:24.840|
|16||23||Paul TRESIDDER||PA||Paul TRESIDDER||29:25.758|
|17||69||Christian CHIA||PA||OpenRoad Racing||29:47.608|
|18||28||John SHEN (PA)||PA||Modena Motorsports||30:01.708|
|19||8||Sontaya KUNPLOME||PA||Racing Spirit Thailand||30:08.668|
|20||17||FUNG Yui Sum||PA||Arrows Racing||30:08.948|
|21||16||Wayne SHEN||PA||Modena Motorsports||30:09.862|
|22||22||SIU Yuk Lung||PA||LKM Racing||30:11.883|
|23||2||Eric KWONG||PA||Arrows Racing||30:21.735|
|24||55||BAO Jinlong||Zheng Tong Auto||DNF|
|25||11||Ricky YOON||PA||RC Racing||DNF|