Martin Ragginger of Team Porsche Holding sealed his P1 start position for Round 9 after clocking a blistering 2:18.281 lap time, leveraging his depth of experience on the Marina Bay Street Circuit after a rough and tumble qualifier saw heavy penalties distributed.

round-9-qualifying-martin-raggingerWith little experience on the tight corners and close walls featured in the circuit, KLM Racing’s Maxime Jousse adapted quickly to the tricky track clocking the initial fastest time at 2:17.913, but suffering penalties for crossing the track lines.  After penalties, the French reigning champion of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia will start in P3.

Nico Menzel of PICC Team Starchase offered an ambitious start to the qualifying, charging out of the gates to set the fastest time early on in the 30-minute session after nailing the top time in the practice session the day before – a much needed boost of morale for the young driver after he failed to earn a podium during the Australia stop.

Unfortunately, Menzel’s lead lasted only 10 minutes, with the red flag coming out around the 15- minute mark after Absolute Racing’s Yuan Bo struck the wall, halting the action while giving Jousse and other drivers a chance to re-think their strategy in the pits.

The downtime proved a boon for Ragginger who exited the pit with renewed vigor, surpassing Menzel’s time by fractions of a second, leaving Nico Menzel starting Round 9 in P2 followed by Mitchell Gilbert in P4.

Porsche China Junior Team’s Andrew Tang put in an admirable performance during his first time racing the Marina Bay Street Circuit with the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia in his home city. But he too battled with the concrete cage surrounding the track, spinning once and striking the barrier as entered the track tunnel.

round-9-qualifying-vutthikorn-singapore-flyer“It’s a street circuit, but you hit a lot of high speeds and the corners are not that slow. It’s quite bumpy and very tricky as well.  It was my first time and I have to compete with guys like Martin and Nico who know the track a bit better and are very good drivers, so I was really pushing too keep the pace,”  Maxime Jousse said in a press conference after the qualifying race.

Despite a brush with the wall that took him out the qualifying session less than halfway through, Absolute Racing’s Yuan Bo still managed to set the fastest time for Class-B at 2:20.171, earning the Chinese driver P1 for Round 9. It was the Chinese driver’s second time encountering the tight perimeter of the fenced-in track, having hit the wall during the practice session the day prior.

“It’s my first time here so I’m still learning the track.  As I finished my first take, I was preparing to get in the pit.  But I was thinking about another corner then jumped the curb and hit the wall – it was a stupid mistake.  But tomorrow I think things will be better,” Yuan Bo said in the post-race press conference.

Just one second behind Bo came est Cola Thailand’s Vutthikorn Inthraphuvasak, who managed a last minute burst of pace to seal P2 in an almost flawless qualifying match, with Thai driver managing to cautiously avoid any contact with the wall despite several close calls.

Showing his home turf advantage, Team Jebsen’s Yuey Tan breezed through the qualifiers with the third best timing for Class-B, sticking close to Team Jebsen teammate Cui Yue as the two handled what Tan affectionately dubs “23 corners of concrete madness”.

With a festive atmosphere surrounding the Formula 1 support race, Porsche Carrera Cup Asia drivers are eager to participate in the first night race of the season.  With a tight point spread among the top tiers of both Overall and Class-B, Round 9 is a crucial race as the season championship heads into Malaysia before the spectacular season finish in Shanghai together with the World Endurance Championship.

Porsche Carrera Cup Asia 2016 Round 9 Qualifying – Results

Pos No Driver/Nationality Class Entrant/Nationality Time
1 86 Martin RAGGINGER (AUT) Team Porsche Holding (CHN) 2:18.281
2 99 Nico MENZEL (GER) PICC Team StarChase (HKG) 2:18.374
3 68 Maxime JOUSSE (FRA)   Kamlung Racing (CHN) 2:18.646
4 88 Mitchell GILBERT (AUS) Absolute Racing (CHN) 2:18.881
5 19 ZHANG Da Sheng (CHN) Fun88 Team Sunfonda (CHN) 2:19.505
6 10 Andrew TANG (SIN) Porsche China Junior Team (CHN) 2:19.888
7 6 YUAN Bo (CHN) B Absolute Racing (CHN) 2:20.171
8 77 CUI Yue (CHN) Team Jebsen (HKG) 2:20.221
9 18 Vutthikorn INTHRAPHUVASAK (THA) B est cola Thailand (THA) 2:21.253
10 5 Yuey TAN (SIN) B Team Jebsen (HKG) 2:21.337
11 21 Francis TJIA (HKG) B OpenRoad Racing (HKG) 2:21.562
12 55 BAO Jinlong (CHN) Zheng Tong Auto (CHN) 2:21.968
13 78 Suttiluck BUNCHAROEN (THA) B True Visions Motorsports (THA) 2:22.667
14 16 Wayne SHEN (HKG) B Modena Motorsports (HKG) 2:23.130
15 9 LI Chao (CHN) B Team Betterlife (CHN) 2:23.244
16 28 John SHEN (HKG) B Modena Motorsports (HKG) 2:24.675
17 23 P. TRESIDDER (AUS) B Paul TRESIDDER (AUS) 2:26.257
18 22 SIU Yuk Lung (HKG) B LKM Racing (MAS) 2:27.025
19 3 MICHAEL S. (INA) B OpenRoad Racing (HKG) 2:27.483
20 17 FUNG Yui Sum (HKG) B Arrows Racing (MAS) 2:27.795
21 8 Sontaya KUNPLOME (THA) B Racing Spirit Thailand (THA) 2:27.823
22 11 Jeffery CHIANG (HKG) B RC Racing (SIN) 2:29.095
23 2 Kenneth LAU (HKG) B Prince Racing (HKG) 2:31.388
24 7 WANG Xi (HKG) B Team Formax (MAS) 2:33.508
Ben Potter
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