Craft Nexus Racing ace Earl Bamber took his second Porsche Carrera Cup Asia victory today to put him top of the championship leaderboard ahead of Team Eagle’s Martin Ragginger of Austria who finished third in Round 5 behind Team Jebsen’s Rodolfo Avila of Macau, who took his second podium finish of the weekend.
In Class B, points leader Egidio Perfetti took the win to strengthen his championship advantage, with Asia Racing Team’s Li Chao of China in second. OpenRoad Racing’s Francis Tjia took the final podium place after Dorr McElrea Racing’s Yuey Tan dramatically spun out on the final lap.
Bamber now leads the race for the 2013 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia overall championship with a four point advantage over Ragginger, with Avila a further ten points adrift. In Class B, Perfetti has a comfortable lead of 36 points ahead of Tan, with Li Chao just a single point behind the Singaporean.
Said Bamber following his second victory: “We’ve been good at starts this season, and we got a great jump off the line. I was hoping to get ahead of Martin, and then put in three or four hard laps, which we managed to do. The car was fantastic, and Craft Nexus gave me a very strong car. I’m just looking forward to the next race!”
Avila had it all to do in the race, keeping Bamber within striking distance but at the same time holding off an unrelenting Ragginger: “My main concern was Martin. He’s ahead of me in the championship, so that was the priority. Our pace was very good. At one point, near the beginning, I thought Martin could catch me, but then I saw the three of us stabilized our lap times. At the end of the day, it’s good for me, the team and our championship campaign – a good weekend all round.”
Ragginger admitted he never had a realistic chance of getting by Avila. Asked if there had been a window of opportunity, he was adamant: “Never!” he said. “It’s so tight. We had a good pace but it’s difficult to pass here.”
Class B points leader Perfetti was pleased to have his Mentos Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car back in optimum form after technical problems earlier in the weekend: “It was a good result, and the car is now back to how it was in Shanghai. Both myself and Francis got a good start, but I think my tyres were a bit better and I tried to stay with them. I made a mistake on the back, so then I just tried to control the race a bit.”
Francis Tjia had predicted a tougher race than in Round 4, and his was certainly not short of drama: “I passed Egidio into Turn 1, but I knew he was quick and after a couple of laps it was too difficult to keep him behind me. I made a mistake – braked a bit late – and went onto the grass and gravel and a few cars passed me. It was only on the last lap when Yuey and Li Chao were battling and Yuey went out that I got the podium position back, so I’m very happy.”
Li Chao was delighted to take his first Class B podium: “As a Chinese driver I’m very happy to be on the podium at a home track of Zhuhai. In yesterday’s race I was a bit unlucky, but today I was more consistent and finally I’m here (on the podium)!”
Bamber stole the march on pole-sitter Ragginger as the lights went out, and didn’t put a wheel wrong for the entire 12-lap race. Avila and LKM Racing Team’s Keita Sawa also got by Ragginger at the start, while reigning champion, PICC Team StarChase driver Alexandre Imperatori, also dropped back down the order from his third row grid position.
While Sawa had been running in third, first Ragginger got by and then a flying Zhang Da Sheng of Team Basetex passed him too, demoting the Japanese driver to fifth in the order ahead of Budweiser Kamlung Racing’s Tung Ho-Pin of China.
At the end of Lap 2, Bamber had pulled out a margin of just over a second, with Ragginger closing in fast on Avila. Behind Zhang Da Sheng in fourth, Sawa, Tung and Team Yongda Dongfang’s Benjamin Rouget were tightly packed.
On Lap 8, Tung was desperately looking to find a way past Sawa and made his move with the Japanese ace defending his position. The move cost Tung dearly, dropping him down the order to eighth behind Imperatori.
Bamber crossed the line 0.799 of a second ahead of Avila in second, with Ragginger taking a well-earned podium finish after a challenging weekend. Zhang Da Sheng, although missing out on a podium this weekend, continued to demonstrate his continued improvement in pace this season with a strong performance to take fourth ahead of former Porsche Carrera Cup Asia champion Sawa, Rouget and Imperatori. Said Zhang: “I’m very happy, even if I’m not on the podium. Nearly, nearly there but I need to work harder. The competition is tougher this season. In the first lap, I was beside Sawa, but he braked too late and I got by him, but the other three were too fast for me.”
It was an unlucky weekend for Team Betterlife’s Wang Jian Wei. After a heavy off in Round 4, chassis damage meant he was unable to take the start in Round 5.
After a spectacular Zhuhai weekend, and with the competition for the championship titles heating up with every passing race, the stage is set for a thunderous return to the demanding Ordos circuit in Inner Mongolia from July 5 to 7.
2013 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia
Round 5 Results
|1||7||Earl BAMBER (NZL)||Craft Nexus Racing (MAS)||19:43.331|
|2||20||Rodolfo AVILA (MAC)||Team Jebsen (HKG)||+0.799|
|3||86||Martin RAGGINGER (AUT)||Team Eagle (CHN)||+1.512|
|4||78||ZHANG Da Sheng (CHN)||Basetex Racing (CHN)||+7.586|
|5||38||Keita SAWA (JPN)||LKM Racing Team (HKG)||+13.929|
|6||8||Benjamin ROUGET (FRA)||Team Yongda Dongfang (CHN)||+15.623|
|7||99||Alexandre IMPERATORI (HKG)||PICC Team StarChase (HKG)||+16.306|
|8||58||TUNG Ho-Pin (CHN)||Budweiser Kamlung Racing (MAS)||+17.478|
|9||88||Egidio PERFETTI (SIN)||B||Mentos Racing (SIN)||+24.665|
|10||96||LI Chao (CHN)||B||Asia Racing Team (CHN)||+32.568|
|11||16||Wayne SHEN (HKG)||Modena Motorsports (HKG)||+33.276|
|12||21||Francis TJIA (HKG)||B||OpenRoad Racing (HKG)||+34.083|
|13||3||*Daniel BILSKI (HKG)||B||Team Carrera Cup Asia (CHN)||+38.390|
|14||11||Ringo CHONG (SIN)||Team Kangshun (CHN)||+38.962|
|15||66||Jason ZHANG Zhi Qiang (CHN)||Team C&D (CHN)||+46.873|
|16||28||John SHEN (HKG)||B||Modena Motorsports (HKG)||+1:02.904|
|17||27||Adrian Henry D’SILVA (MAS)||B||Nexus Racing (MAS)||+1:03.279|
|18||22||SIU Yuk Lung (HKG)||B||LKM Racing Team (HKG)||+1:04.066|
|19||18||Marcel TJIA (HKG)||B||OpenRoad Racing (HKG)||+1:21.179|
|–||5||Yuey TAN (SIN)||B||Dorr McElrea Racing (SIN)||DNF|
|–||68||Peter LI Zhi Cong (CHN)||Kamlung Racing (MAS)||DNF|
|–||83||Dr. MA Chi Min (HKG)||B||Dr. Ma Chi Min (HKG)||DNF|
|–||33||Samson CHAN (HKG)||B||Samson Chan (HKG)||DNF|
|–||72||Alif HAMDAN (MAS)||B||Nexus Racing (MAS)||DNF|
|–||9||WANG Jian Wei (CHN)||Team Betterlife (CHN)||DNS|
Fastest Lap: Earl Bamber/Craft Nexus Racing/1:37.687/156.981
Points after Round 5
|1||7||Earl BAMBER||Craft Nexus Racing||92|
|2||86||Martin RAGGINGER||Team Eagle||88|
|3||20||Rodolfo AVILA||Team Jebsen||78|
|4||38||Keita SAWA||LKM Racing Team||70|
|5||8||Benjamin ROUGET||Team Yongda Dongfang||50|