Joyous Will Bamber redeemed in Round 8 after capricious Malaysia race weekend

Will Bamber steals the lead in Round 8.

It was an emotional weekend of ups and downs for FAW T2M’s Will Bamber as he executed a clean victory in Round 8 after being unable to finish the race in Round 7,  bolstering his championship chances and recovering from tough luck the previous day.

Will Bamber steals the lead in Round 8.

Bamber started Round 8 in a tough position in P3 behind two of the series‘ quickest drivers and fellow championship table toppers Chris van der Drift of Team Formax in P1 and Team Porsche Holding’s Martin Ragginger in P2.

His disadvantage was short-lived after the 24-year-old Kiwi flew from the lights into the inside lane on Turn 1, showing hawk-like instincts as he watched van der Drift defend an attack from the outside by Ragginger before swooping sharply into turn 2 and passing both race leaders to claim first place. 

With Bamber out in front, van der Drift was occupied with keeping his second place position as Ragginger piled on the pressure with steady onslaught of attacks, testing van der Drift at every chance and waiting for a mistake as Bamber gradually increased his gap.

The momentum held until the end of Lap 4, when a spin back in Pro-Am field brought out the safety car and evaporated Bamber’s lofty 1.5-second lead.  Seeing his opportunity to surefire pass but pulling out early after realizing he risked a penalty for passing before the safety lap completed.  Undeterred, van der Drift carried the momentum and kept Bamber on edge as he made another two bold attempts to pass only to have the door slammed in his face by brilliant defending from the race leader. 

Van der Drift and David Wall battle it out.

Van der Drift quickly saw the tables turn from offense to defense when Ragginger continued his barrage after the safety car.  Van der Drift exterted champion-level defense until suffering a moment of faltering pace after a wheel-lock that gave Ragginger the chance he needed to slip into second. 

Having waited patiently behind the front three for much of the race, Team StarChase’s Philip Hamprecht exploited van der Drift’s brief window of vulnerability, carrying out a decisive pass in Lap 10. 

With just three laps to go, Bamber continued his impeccable ride into victory to win first place with Ragginger not far behind in second and Hamprecht in third.  However, Hamprecht was later exlcluded from Round 8 by the race stewards, giving van der Drift his second podium of the weekend.

“First off, I want to thank Modena Motorsport for turning it around last night, there was a lot of damage from yesterday, so full credit to them and the time they spent.  We needed to do a bit of work on my start from yesterday, my reaction wasn’t super good, that was a key detail for this.  It was just one of those reaction moves where the middle opened and I took it, it stuck and I just tried not to look backwards,“ Will Bamber said in the press conference after the race.

Pro-Am podium

As the mid-season race weekend closed, Chris van der Drift stands at the top of the tables with 161 points, narrowly ahead of Martin Ragginger with 154 points and Will Bamber with 147 points.

Ragginger’s second place win earned another Dealer Trophy win for the Team Porsche Holding, furthering their lead in the standings with 154 points.  They are followed closely behind by Team StarChase, who leapt several spots up the table over the weekend with a total of 110 points.  Team C&D holds third place with 92 points.

It was an equally mercurial weekend for Pro-Am after a race stewards announced a technical violation that disqualified Kamlung Racing’s Evan Chen race points for Round 7 early on Sunday morning, shifting the table standings from a tie between him and Team Jebsen’s Yuey Tan to an outright lead by Tan.

With Tan starting in P1, he only needed to finish the race in order to capture a comanding lead in the Pro-Am tables.  Both Tan and Chen got off to a rocket start and were instantly at each other’s bumpers, with Tan just fractionally ahead.

Overall podium.

They continued their battle throughout the beginning of the race until Lap 4, when Chen made a grab at first place, forcing Tan to react defensively.  Unable to fully gauge Chen’s position going into Turn 9, Tan cut the turn and collided with Chen, resulting in Tan being sent hurling into the gravel and out of the race.

Clearly perturbed by his sudden change of luck, Tan was forced to watch the rest of the race, hands on hips, from the side of the track. 

What should have been a clear path to victory for Chen took a sudden twist in the last lap when an inexplicable loss of pace due to technical troubles sent him tumbling toward the back of the pack to finish the race in 7th.

With both leaders out, OpenRoad Racing’s Francis Tjia, who had kept a level-headed race with minimal challenges from front or back was handed a gift-wrapped victory, followed by Modena Motorsport’s Wayne Shen in second and Team Betterlife’s Li Chao in third. 

After two explosive races, Yuey Tan emerged ahead on the tables with 146 points to Evan Chen’s 138 points, with Li Chao in third with 119 points. 

Francis Tjia & Wayne Shen pose after victory.

“I’m very happy with the result. It was a little bit lucky to be honest, but you know, I will take luck any time I can get it.  After Yuey was out in the front, I suspected the other guy may have a penalty, so I decided to hold position and it worked,“ Francis Tjia said in the post-race press conference.

Round 8 was the first of an action-packed race day, with two invitationals between Porsche Carrera Cup Australia Pro-am and Overall later in the afternoon.

In Overall, it was a clean, competitive race with all drivers going full speed but keeping it friendly.  With the Porsche Carrera Cup Australia drivers earning the inside lane for both races after winning a coin toss earlier in the weekend, Porsche Carrera Cup Australia’s David Wall eeked out an early lead after Turn 1 but immediately faced a challenge from Chris van der Drift, who came shooting from P2 to overtake Wall in Turn 1 of the second lap.

Austrlia’s Andrei Heimgartner occupied third place for much of the beginning of the invitational, facing minimal pressure from Hamprecht until the young driver managed to close the gap in Lap 6 to eventually overtake. 

With a last minute dash by Wall to put pressure on van der Drift, the two were fighting fiercely as they crossed the finish line, with van der Drift earning first by a margin, followed by Wall in second and Hamprecht in third.  

“A big thank you for everyone for having us.  To come to one of the best tracks in the world and bring our series over here and race is obivously big as well.   We had a great weekend and we are looking forward to the next one,“ David Wall said in the invitational press conference.

For the Pro-Am Invitational, Tan took to the track with vengeance after his misfortune earlier that day, starting from P2 but immediately piling pressure onto P1-starter Dean Cook of Porsche Carrera Cup Australia and making the pass on Turn 3. 

Tan held the front for the rest of the race, while Evan Chen charged from P5 to gradually overtake several drivers before making a beautiful technical pass on Tim Miles with 5 laps to go, finishing second on the podium, with Miles in third – with the entire grid earning cheers all around from both Porscche Carrera Cup Asia and Australia team members, family and fans.

The Porsche Carrera Cup Asia will take to the track again on September 15-17 as it joins the Formula 1 at the Marina Bay Street Circuit for one of the highest-profile races of the 2017 season.

Overall points Final after Round 8 (top 5)

Pos Comp No Driver Entrant Points
1 7 Chris van der DRIFT Team Formax 161
2 86 Martin RAGGINGER Team Porsche Holding 154
3 12 Will BAMBER FAW T2M 147
4 10 Andrew TANG Porsche China Junior Team 117
5 19 ZHANG Dasheng Porsche China Junior Team 107

Pro-Am points – Final after Round 8 (top 5)

Pos Comp No Driver Entrant Points
1 5 Yuey TAN Yu Hian Team Jebsen 146
2 68 Evan CHEN Yi Fan Kamlung Racing 138
3 9 LI Chao Team Betterlife 119
4 16 Wayne SHEN Modena Motorsports 110
5 21 Francis TJIA OpenRoad Racing 106

Dealer Trophy – Final after Round 8 (top 5)

Pos Comp No Driver Entrant Points
1 86  Team Porsche Holding Martin Ragginger 154
2 99 Team Starchase Phillip Hamprecht 110
3 88 Team C&D Auto Yuan Bo 92
4 55 Zheng Tong Auto Bao Jinlong 90
5 68 Kamlung Racing Evan Chen 89

Porsche Carrera Cup Asia – Round 8 Results

Pos No Driver Class Entrant Time
1 12 Will Bamber   FAW T2 Motorsport 30:21.657
2 86 Martin Ragginger   Team Porsche Holding 30:22.466
3 7 Chris van der Drift   Team Formax 30:24.196
4 10 Andrew Tang   Porsche China Junior 30:25.983
5 19 Zhang Dasheng   Porsche China Junior 30:31.034
6 29 Akash Neil Nandy   Force Asia Racing 30:32.084
7 77 Cui Yue   Team Jebsen 30:32.459
8 88 Yuan Bo   Team C & D Auto 30:34.374
9 55 Bao Jinlong   Zheng Tong Auto 30:39.469
10 21 Francis Tjia PA OpenRoad Racing 30:43.117
11 16 Wayne Shen PA Modena Motorsports 30:51.060
12 9 Li Chao PA Team Betterlife 30:52.493
13 69 Christian Chia PA OpenRoad Racing 30:55.454
14 23 Paul Tresidder PA PAUL TRESIDDER 30:57.188
15 8 Preeda Tantemsapya PA Racing Spirit Thailand 31:00.736
16 68 Evan Chen Yi Fan PA Kamlung Racing 31:02.172
17 2 Kenneth Lau PA Arrows Racing 31:02.235
18 3 Michael S. PA OpenRoad Racing 31:03.325
19 22 Siu Yuk Lung PA LKM Racing 31:09.623
20 28 John Shen PA Modena Motorsports 31:10.948
21 17 Fung Yui Sum PA Arrows Racing 31:11.887
22 15 Tanart Sathienthirakul   Absolute Racing 30:46.709
DNF 78 Suttiluck Buncharoen PA True V isions Motorsports Thailand 12:02.201
DNF 5 Yuey Tan Yu Hian PA Team Jebsen 8:56.527
EXC 99 Philip Hamprecht   Team StarChase 30:23.364
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Bringing its signature brand of exhilarating motorsports competition to millions across the region and beyond, the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia has earned an impressive fan and media following since its launch in 2003. 2016 saw a formidable international field of brilliant professionals competing wheel-to-wheel with dedicated privateers. A proven testing ground for fledgling talent and a showcase for the world’s leading GT competitors, today the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia is the number one choice for the region’s finest drivers.