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Bamber, Loeb and Ragginger in all-star Macau podium

Macau. Three drivers, each making their debuts on Macau’s demanding Guia street circuit this weekend, filled an all-star podium for the Porsche 911 50th Anniversary Carrera Cup Asia at the 60th Macau Grand Prix today. Earl Bamber took victory for LKM Racing in the wet, nine-lap end-of-season invitational, followed across the line by nine-time World Rally Champion Sébastien Loeb, who proved just as potent in the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup as he was on the toughest rally stages.  Third was Team Eagle’s Martin Ragginger of Austria in a brilliant comeback from fifth on the grid after a difficult qualifying session.

Taking the Class B victory was Alif Hamdan of Nexus Racing, who managed to dramatically snatch victory from category pole-sitter Francis Tjia of OpenRoad Racing on the final lap.  Taking the final podium spot was Kevin Tse, making his debut with the series and flying the flag for Macau.

With a wet track and persistent rain, the field took their places on the grid and the race began behind the Safety Car. As it pulled in at the start of Lap 3, racing got underway with Bamber immediately on the attack to pole-sitter and team mate Keita Sawa of Japan, getting by him at Mandarin Bend and seizing the lead.  Almost immediately, Loeb loomed large in Sawa’s mirrors, neatly getting by before the start of Lap 4.

As Loeb set about closing the gap to Bamber, an incident between Team C&D’s Jason Zhang Zhiqiang and Team Yongda Dongfang’s Benjamin Rouget brought out the Safety Car once again after both cars ended up in the barrier at R Bend. That closed up the field and at the restart on Lap 6, Bamber got away well and set about building a gap from Loeb, eventually taking the flag 4.227 seconds ahead of the Frenchman.

Ragginger meanwhile had got by Team Jebsen’s Rodolfo Avila and was on the tail of Sawa, getting by to go third.

Behind Avila, Team Basetex driver Zhang Da Sheng rounded out an impressive debut at Macau as did Ryo Ogawa of Bright Motorsport, who was the top finisher from the Porsche Carrera Cup Japan drivers, ahead of Tsubasa Kondo of Improve Racing in eighth place.

The Porsche 911 50th Anniversary Carrera Cup Asia was one of the most exciting and memorable in the 11-season history of the championship, and one which showed the extraordinary talent of the three drivers who came, saw and conquered the Guia Circuit at their first attempt:  Earl Bamber, Sébastien Loeb and Martin Ragginger.

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