The beautiful Singapore skyline was the backdrop for Round 11 and 12 of the 2019 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia season. The daunting Marina Bay street circuit proved to be a tough challenger for the whole field, but for Absolute Racing teams it did play well with two precious wins over the weekend.
- Team StarChase edges closer to PCCA titles with a win
- First season podium for Tanart Sathienthirakul
- Pro-Am class win sends Bao Jinlong back to the top
Team StarChase’s Philip Hamprecht moved closer to the 2019 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia title after taking the win on Sunday. Zheng Tong Auto’s Bao Jinglong Pro-Am category victory in race two has helped him remain strong contender for the championship with one event left in the calendar.
Known for its difficult technical turns, minimal passing lanes and unforgiving corners, the Singaporean circuit has long been a tough challenge for drivers in Asia. The race weekend began with Friday’s single practice session, which allowed the drivers to get to grips with the 5.063km track. Hamprecht was the quickest as Tanart Sathienthirakul posted the third overall.
Saturday was a busier day for the team with the challenge of qualifying and one race. Under grey skies and dry track conditions followed as race one began with the Absolute Racing drivers building upon their pace from earlier sessions.
Hamprecht completed the qualifying laps with consistent, solid times which enabled him to start first on the grid for race as the quickest competitor was disqualified from qualifying and unable to join the race and thanks to his fastest lap of 2:17.230.
Whilst Sathienthirakul was fifth, however, a disqualification for Will Bamber meant that his position was promoted to fourth with a time of 2:18.182. Bao Jinlong kept his good form, qualifying seventh overall and achieving the pole-position in the Pro-Am class with a time of 2:19.981.
Round 11 of the season took place in the afternoon. Hamprecht, who began in pole, lost the first position at the start. The German youngster was closely followed by the second-place car until turn thirteen in the first lap where his opponent managed to slip into second place. From there until the end of the race, Hamprecht opted to keep himself out of trouble, collecting precious third-place points to stick at the top of the championship standings.
Slightly behind, Sathienthirakul dropped one position in the beginning of the 12-lap race. The Thai driver, who presented a car new livery this weekend at Marina Bay, couldn’t get the position back, crossing the finish line in fifth.
Like his Absolute Racing teammates Bao Jinlong hadn’t the best start to the race, losing his first position in the Pro-Am class. However, the Chinese kept the second place with great determination. The result put Bao Jinlong at the top of the Pro-Am category championship table and with just three races left the tension was mounting.
The Porsche Carrera Cup Asia weekend came to a close with race two on Sunday. Hamprecht lined up first on the grid for a second time as Sathienthirakul started third and Bao Jinlong in sixth.
Anyone who looked solely at the grid order and the end result would assume it was an uneventful race, as the top three podium finishers were the top three on the starting grid – but nothing could be further from the truth s no mistakes are allowed in a track like this. Hamprecht took control of the race from the green light to the checkered flag, repeating his triumph in the street of Singapore in 2017.
Sathienthirakul produced a faultless drive to complete a lights-to-flag race in the podium. He managed to hold the pressure in the first couple of laps to cross the finish line in third. The Thai driver equalled his best result in Carrera Cup Asia achieved in the last race of 2018 season at Shanghai.
Bao Jinlong returned to the top step of the podium in the Pro-Am category. The Chinese driver made a good start to maintain his comfortable advantage for 12 laps.
Victory in Singapore saw Hamprecht in the driving seat with two races to go, leading his nearest rival by 33 points with 43 points at stake in the season finale. Team StarChase is also leading the Porsche Dealer Trophy classification with 200 points, and only needs 5 points to conquer the title.
Claiming his maiden third place finish this season, Sathienthirakul has moved up in the championship standings to the sixth position. Bao Jinlong is back to the top of the Pro-Am classification, holding a 13-point margin for the rest of the field.
Round 11 and 12 points remain provisional subject to resolution of a protest.
Team Director Fabien Fior said, “Singapore Grand Prix is the highlight of Carrera Cup Asia calendar and we’re really happy to celebrate another couple of wins here again. We achieved our objective for the weekend, which means heading to the last round of the season with a comfortable advantage ahead of the chasing pack in the overall standings and leading the Pro-Am’s classification. These results here in Singapore have been particularly important for everyone’s morale and to face the last race of the season with confidence and high spirits.”
The last event of the 2019 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia season will be take place in China at the Shanghai International Circuit from November 9-10.