China’s Tung Ho-Pin took his second career Porsche Carrera Cup Asia victory in front of an ecstatic home crowd in Shanghai today after an unforgettable 12-lap race. The Budweiser Team Absolute Racing driver clinched the win in Round 2, held as part of the Chinese F1 Grand Prix weekend, ahead of pole-sitter Rodolfo Avila of Team Jebsen, and Team Porsche Holding’s Martin Ragginger.
Fourth across the line after the race which was twice interrupted by Safety Car periods, was Round 1 winner Craig Baird of Clearwater Racing followed over the line by Porsche Carrera Cup Asia rookie and, at 17, the series’ youngest-ever entry, Nico Menzel of PICC Team StarChase and Team Yonda Dongfang’s Ro Charlz Skyangel. However, Menzel was later penalised for causing a collision with Malaysian Alif Hamdan, which dropped him down the order to 13th and promoted Skyangel to fifth.
The Class B race winner was Modena Motorsports’ Wayne Shen of Hong Kong, who grabbed victory in dramatic fashion from Team Kangshun’s Andersen P. Martono in the closing metres of the final lap. Martono was another driver to be penalised by race stewards after he collided with Team Jebsen’s Yuey Tan, putting him 17th on the results. That meant second place went to Johnson Huang of Team BC Racing, who took his first Class B podium in just the second race of second season. Third was Samson Chan of Hong Kong.
After the Shanghai double header, Baird leads the race for the overall title, but with a slim one-point lead over Avila. Tung and Ragginger are tied in third, just a single point adrift of the Macau driver, promising a thrilling championship battle over the coming 12 races. In Class B, Wayne Shen leads the charge, three points ahead of Tan, with Huang’s superb performance putting him third on the leaderboard.
With a victory which was nothing short of brilliant, Tung has very definitely found his Porsche Carrera Cup Asia mojo, and the Chinese driver could not have been more delighted with his win: “It’s an amazing feeling to win in front of the home crowd here in Shanghai. I think it was a very nice and fair battle. Rodolfo, Martin and me were all kind of equal in terms of pace and we managed to pull a slight gap from the guys behind us. For the audience, it must have been a very enjoyable race. The pace was really there in the car today, so a big thank you to Absolute Racing and my sponsor Budweiser.”
For Rodolfo, who wasn’t able to convert his Round 1 pole position into a podium finish, it was a much better day: “It was a very interesting race. I knew I had a better car than yesterday, but I noticed that I was still struggling at the same points as yesterday and they could catch up quite a lot. I knew it was going to be hard to stay on pole, but it was a good battle with Raggi. I was quite lucky with Safety Cars because my car, with a long run, tends to drop performance after a couple of laps so it could cool down during the Safety Car. After yesterday though, I’m really happy with second place.”
Ragginger was quick to admit his frustration at Avila’s straight-line speed, but gave full credit to the race winner: “It’s so difficult to pass Rodolfo. He’s so fast in a straight line. Ho-Pin did a good job, made no mistakes and took the chances we gave him. Congratulations to him, he deserves the victory.”
Wayne Shen, Class B champion in 2012, was glad to have got his quest for a second title off to a promising start: “I’m really chuffed, and I want to keep it up for the rest of the season. It was a really fun race, hectic with lots going on. I could see Andersen’s tyres were worse than mine, so I just had to be patient. He ran wide and I made my move stick.”
As the lights went out at the Shanghai International Circuit, Avila made an excellent getaway from pole, with Ragginger again in hot pursuit, while Tung got by Baird off the start to go third. Fifth in the order was Skyangel ahead of talented Malaysian Alif Hamdan. Impressive newcomer Chris van der Drift of Kamlung Racing, second in Round 1, was left stranded on the second row of the grid with a broken clutch. Testament to the high standard of competence within the 28-strong field, all drivers skillfully avoided making contact as they left the grid.
Behind the leaders, Menzel misjudged a move on Hamdan, catapulting the Malaysian off the track. Meanwhile, Team Betterlife’s Li Chao and Francis Tjia of OpenRoad Racing tangled with the tyre barriers, and Round 1 Class B winner Max Twigg came to a halt on the opening lap, bringing out the Safety Car for the first time. Twigg managed to get going again, limping back to the pits, while the Safety Car pulled off at the end of Lap 3.
As racing resumed, Avila once again got away well, but Ragginger was looming large in his mirrors. As the Austrian tried a move on the inside of Avila, Tung neatly swept past to grab second. The following lap though, Ragginger reclaimed the position from Tung, who then had to hold off a hard-charging Baird.
In a repeat of the earlier scenario, Ragginger closed up to Avila and set about getting past. As the Macau driver moved to the outside to defend his position, Tung nipped through on the inside to seize the race lead in a brave, perfectly-executed move. Despite a nudge from Avila, Tung held firm and set about pulling away.
Tung’s hard work pulling clear of his rivals came to nothing though when the Safety Car was called out for a second time on Lap 8. The smell of victory was strong through, and at the restart the following lap, Tung got away well and, despite a last-lap wobble at the parabolica, stormed home to a well-earned victory.
The drama in one of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia’s finest races in many seasons was not over though. Menzel found his way past Skyangel in the closing stages of the race, while Team Jebsen’s Yuey Tan, who had led the Class B field for the entire race, was taken out by Martono on Lap 10. Martono inherited the category lead until the final lap when Shen made his move to seize the Class B win. At the front of the pack, Ragginger’s frustration at not finding a way past Avila saw him push too hard, allowing Baird to get by momentarily, until the Austrian grabbed the position back just metres before the flag.
Having once again ignited the flame of sportscar fascination amongst the Shanghai fans with a superb season-opener, the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia will be back in action next month, with another double-header, this time at the Korea International Circuit from May 15-17. At South Korea’s F1-standard circuit, the battle for the overall and Class B 2015 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia championship titles will resume in earnest.
Porsche Carrera Cup Asia 2015 Round 2 – Results
|1||58||TUNG Ho-Pin (CHN)||Budweiser Team Absolute Racing (HKG)||28:09.136|
|2||20||Rodolfo AVILA (MAC)||Team Jebsen (HKG)||+1.985|
|3||86||Martin RAGGINGER (AUT)||Team Porsche Holding (CHN)||+2.305|
|4||12||Craig BAIRD (NZL)||Clearwater Racing (SIN)||+2.990|
|5||8||Ro Charlz SKYANGEL (SIN)||Team Yonda Dongfang (CHN)||+9.385|
|6||55||BAO Jin Long (CHN)||Zheng Tong Auto (CHN)||+10.243|
|7||16||Wayne SHEN (HKG)||B||Modena Motorsports (HKG)||+16.832|
|8||72||Alif HAMDAN (MAS)||Alif Hamdan Motorsports (MAS)||+19.693|
|9||51||Johnson HUANG (TPE)||B||Team BC Racing Team (TPE)||+23.557|
|10||2||*Samson CHAN (HKG)||B||Samson Chan (HKG)||+24.999|
|11||5||Yuey TAN (SIN)||B||Team Jebsen (HKG)||+30.306|
|12||3||Michael S. (INA)||B||OpenRoad Racing (HKG)||+30.396|
|13||99||Nico MENZEL (GER)||PICC Team StarChase (CHN)||+33.148|
|14||88||Hugues RIPERT (HKG)||B||Spark Motorsport (HKG)||+37.697|
|15||9||LI Chao (CHN)||B||Team Betterlife (CHN)||+38.216|
|16||23||Paul TRESIDDER (AUS)||B||Paul Tresidder (AUS)||+40.862|
|17||11||*Andersen P MARTONO (INA)||B||Team Kangshun (CHN)||+47.090|
|18||80||Sontaya KUNPLOME (THA)||B||Racing Spirit Thailand (THA)||+66.754|
|–||18||Vutthikorn INTHRAPHUVASAK (THA)||B||Chang Racing Team (THA)||DNF|
|–||65||ZHU Jun Han (CHN)||B||Absolute Racing (HKG)||DNF|
|–||69||Christian CHIA (CAN)||B||OpenRoad Racing (HKG)||DNF|
|–||22||*SIU Tit Lung (HKG)||B||LKM Racing (HKG)||DNF|
|–||17||FUNG Yui Sum (HKG)||B||Arrows Racing (HKG)||DNF|