Absolute Racing teams enjoyed one of the most successful weekends of the 2019 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia season, securing a race one outright win and a Pro-Am class victory during rounds 10 and 11 at Bangsaen Street Circuit in Thailand.
- Race one winner Hamprecht is the new championship leader
- Home hero Tanart close to the podium
- Bao Jinlong is back in title hunt
The fifth meeting of the year gave the Absolute Racing-run squads much cause for celebration. After clocking the best time in qualifying for Team StarChase, Philip Hamprecht went on to claim his second overall win of the season, moving to the top of the standings in the process. Home hero Bunjong Motorsport’s Sathienthirakul narrowly missed out on the podium as Zheng Tong Auto’s Bao Jinlong returned to the championship to win in the Pro-Am class.
Hamprecht’s pole-position and lap record and Sathienthirakul’s fifth quickest time in Qualifying were a testament to the strong performance of the Absolute Racing-run cars in this gruelling street circuit.
Changeable weather conditions delivered high drama on-track throughout the 13th edition of the Bangsaen Grand Prix, but the first race was held on dry conditions. Race one took place in the afternoon in the usual hot and humid conditions.
Starting from pole, Hamprecht led half of the race on the narrow circuit, but ended up crossing the finish line in second. Later in the day, the race winner was excluded from the results following a decision by stewards on technical grounds, driving up #TeamStarChase to the top podium spot.
Heading into the second race from fourth on the grid and leading the championship standings, Hamprecht didn’t take ‘unnecessary risks’. He had a relatively smooth and uneventful race to finish in fourth, collecting valuable points to keep the lead in the championship.
Race one victory, combined with a fourth place finish, launched the German driver into first in the drivers’ championship standings by 15 points over his closest opponent. Team StarChase has moved into championship lead in the Porsche Dealer Trophy standings.
Racing in front of thousands of local supporters and fans, Bunjong Motorsport’s Sathienthirakul had an immaculate race one running close to the front-runners. He eventually finished fourth, equalling his best 2019 PCCA season result.
On Sunday’s scorching hot Round 10 of the season, Sathienthirakul dropped one place off the start line to sixth, and then spent the duration chasing down the fifth placed driver for the next spot. After the 10-lap mark, Sathienthirakul finally made the move to fifth, but the stewards of the competition considered the overtaking manoeuvre irregular. The Thai driver dropped to seventh after a 30-second (converted from drive through) penalty. Sathienthirakul sits now seventh in the overall drivers’ standings.
Street circuits are unforgiving to any mistakes and Bao Jinlong learned it on the hard way on Friday’s Free Practice 1. Due to the extents of the damages, Zheng Tong Auto team was forced to find a replacement car for Free Practice 2 with the Chinese team and driver taking over the cockpit of the Absolute Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup spare car.
Qualifying went much better for Bao Jinlong, who was forced to sit out last round in Malaysia, with the Zheng Tong Auto driver posting the fastest lap time in the Pro-Am class.
The reigning Pro-Am class Champion strong form was seen again on Saturday’s 14-lap race with Bao Jinlong taking a lights-to-flag win, crossing the finish line half second ahead of the second best in the class. Despite heavy pressure early on in the race, the Chinese driver stuck closely to his race lines to complete an error-free run. To wrap up the weekend, Bao Jinlong finished second in the “Gentleman Driver” class on Sunday.
Bao Jinlong lies now second in the Pro-Am class, a mere 7 points from the leader.
Team Director, Ingo Matter said: “All in all our drivers results did quite well here at Bangsaen. The weekend showed the massive strength and determination of the team in the fight for the championship titles. Philip did what he had to do, and we are now in a privilege position for the remaining of the season. Tanart performed well in front of his crowd, and Bao Jinlong bounced back strongly after his free practice unlucky moment. We now look forward to Singapore, a track that should suit our cars well and where we should be fighting for good points.”
Next up for PCCA will be held on 21st/22nd September at the Marina Bay Street Circuit in Singapore.