Absolute Racing teams celebrated the first Porsche Carrera Cup Asia wins of the season at Suzuka (May 25/26).
– Team StarChase’s Philip Hamprecht wins Round 2
– Bao Jinlong returns to the Pro-Am Class top
– Round 3 results remain provisional
Team StarChase’s Philip Hamprecht took the honours in the first ever Porsche Carrera Cup Asia weekend in the world-famous Suzuka Circuit. The German youngster repeated the feat in race two, but a post-race penalty demoted him to seventh. The team appealed the decision and the Round 3 results remain provisional.
Bunjong Motorsports’s Tanart Sathienthirakul collected a fourth place finish in race one as Absolute Racing’s Yuan Bo inherited a fourth position in the second race. Zheng Tong Auto’s Bao Jinlong stated his intent on the Pro-Am Class challenge with a convincing performance, collecting one win and a second-place finish. The Chinese driver was also promoted to third overall in Round 3, his maiden overall podium position in the series.
Hamprecht has once again produced a strong qualifying session in which he ended up the fastest man on track. The German youngster set also the fastest second best time of the session, allowing him to start from the pole-position on Sunday race.
Guest driver Yuan Bo improved on his final lap to go seventh while Sathienthiraul lined up one place behind with his quickest lap. The Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia regulars shared the fourth row of the grid in Round 3 in the exact same positions. Bao Jinlong set the pace in the Pro-Am Class in the qualifying session, securing the first spot in the Pro-Am Class grid for both races.
The first race of the weekend took place on Saturday afternoon. After a competitive run in qualifying, Hamprecht lost his lead at the start out of the rolling start. With the Carrera Cup Asia cars lining up behind the Carrera Cup Japan pack, Hamprecht had to deal with the traffic, finding himself under pressure from those behind him. The race finished under safety-car conditions and #99 Team StarChase Porsche crossed the finish line in second place to be promoted to first spot following a stewards’ enquiry right after the race. With the shift in standings, Team StarChase took home their first Porsche Dealer Trophy of the year.
Lining up from eight in the grid, Tanart Sathienthirakul put up a strong performance to finish sixth overall. The Thai driver was promoted two places up in the final result, finishing fourth overall and moving up to the fourth in the drivers’ standings. Teammate Yuan Bo, who decided to take part in this event to prepare the next Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia race that will take place in Suzuka next month, crossed the finish line in eight.
In the Pro-Am Class Bao Jinlong led all the way from the start, avoiding plenty of push-and-shove behind, to finish one second ahead of the second place finisher. The Chinese driver was ninth overall at the flag.
A very uncharacteristic second Carrera Cup Asia race at Suzuka on Sunday saw Zheng Tong Auto’s Bao Jinlong and Absolute Racing’s Yuan Bo taking the third and fourth positions overall.
Hamprecht led the race all the way from the start to the chequered flag, but five of the top six finishers, including Tanart Sathienthirakul, were handed a 15 second penalty for waving on race restart. The German driver was demoted to seventh as his Thai teammate dropped to 12th.
The team strongly believe that both drivers did not violate any rules and therefore appealed the penalty immediately. Hence the race result will depend on the decision of a sport tribunal.
Saturday’s Pro-Am Class winner couldn’t repeat the result on Sunday, but a second-place class finish Bao Jinlong allowed him to finish provisionally in third overall, his best result so far in Carrera Cup Asia. Zheng Tong Auto may have claimed its maiden Porsche Dealer Trophy race win.
In an attempt to keep with the frontrunners on race restart, Yuan Bo had a gravel excursion in the last corner, losing a few positions. He still managed to recover to ninth place before subsequently being promoted to fourth.
Commenting about the weekend, Fabien Fior said: “We knew since testing here on Thursday what to expect, especially in terms of how competitive we were on track. Philip has performed extremely well throughout this weekend and deserved the two race wins, Tanart delivered two strong races, Bob put up clock up and Bao Jinlong was on top of the game in Pro-Am Class. We strongly believe that Philip and Tanart did not violate any rules on race two restart and therefore we appealed the penalty immediately. While the appeals process rubs its course, we will move forward with our focus firmly set on Fuji”.
The fourth and fifth rounds of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia takes place on June 15th and 16thin Fuji, Japan.
Pictures @ Porsche Carrera Cup Asia