Sepang. Spectacular racing over the weekend for Round 8 and 9 of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia at the Sepang International Circuit.
A wet qualifying round on Saturday morning made for a cautious few laps before skies cleared, and the teams that then made the switch to slicks were those that posted the fastest qualifying lap times.
The rain and wet stayed well away for the Saturday afternoon Round 8 race, where right off the grid a four-car collision in the rear of the pack made for slow going in the first two laps behind the Safety Car, but the action would not end there. The fourth lap saw Alexandre Imperatori and Martin Ragginger make contact, causing both to spin out and lose their respective P2 and P1 positions.
This cleared the way for current series leader Earl Bamber to storm forward from his P6 starting point and claim victory, followed by Rodolfo Avila and Ho-Pin Tung in P2 and P3.
Alif Hamdan crossed the finish line in P4, followed by Zhang Da Sheng, Jason Zhang Zhi Qiang and Zhang Zhen Dong in another impressive display of the great young talent coming from the Porsche China Junior Development Programme.
Hamdan’s placement saw him finishing on the top of the Class B rankings, followed by Max Twigg and Francis Tjia claiming P2 and P3 spots.
Sunday’s Round 9 race began with Martin Ragginger in pole position, a spot that he would fight to maintain throughout the race, culminating in his P1 finish for the day. Behind Ragginger on the starting grid were Ho-Pin Tung and Earl Bamber from the fourth starting position, as P3 starter Alexandre Imperatori was forced to begin Round 9 from the pit due to car trouble, virtually taking him out of contention for the podium.
By the third lap, the race saw a reshuffling of the leading three drivers, with Ho-Pin Tung experiencing a setback that dropped him back to fifth, behind Nexus Racing’s Alif Hamdan, Team Jebsen’s Rodolfo Avila and Earl Bamber, who took advantage of the tumult to get himself right behind the race-leading Ragginger.
For the next seven laps until the end of Round 9, the race saw a great display of control from Ragginger coupled with an equal display of patience on the part of Bamber, who followed close behind looking for an opening that the Austrian driver just would not provide.
By the end of the white-knuckle battle for the top spot, standing on the podium were Team Porsche Holding’s Ragginger, LKM Racing’s Bamber and Rodolfo Avila in the second podium of the weekend for the driver from Macau.
Finishing P1 in Class B and fourth in the overall rankings was Alif Hamdan, followed by Porsche Carrera Cup Asia newcomer Max Twigg for Clearwater Racing and Dorr Havelock Racing’s Yuey Tan in second and third place, respectively.
Next up, Porsche Carrera Cup Asia Round 10 heads to Marina Bay Street Circuit as the support race for the 2014 Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix.