Epic battle as charge to 2014 Porsche Carrera Cup title roar
Porsche Carrera Cup Asia – Preview Rounds 8&9
Thu 14.08.14, 11:11AM
Shanghai. Following a two-month summer hiatus, the region’s premier GT championship - the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia - awakes with a roar as it resumes the battle for the 2014 overall and Class B championship titles at Malaysia’s Sepang International Circuit this weekend.
The 28-strong field, each competing in identical Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (Type 991) race cars, has just five races in which to decide who will take the two coveted titles. The stakes couldn’t be higher and, as the series arrives at the 5.542km track, home to the Malaysian F1 Grand Prix and where the 2014 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia season began, just 15 points separate the top three drivers overall and a mere seven points in Class B.
The leading five drivers will be eager to get the show back on the road, the biggest hurdle being to usurp the apparently unstoppable tour de force that is Earl Bamber of LKM Racing. The 24-year-old New Zealander, who lives in Malaysia, leads both the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia and Deutschland and lies second in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup. However, the single minded determination of Austria’s Martin Ragginger to clinch this year’s title should never be underestimated, and the Team Porsche Holding driver leads a formidable line-up of talented opposition.
A win and three podium finishes puts 2012 champion Alexandre Imperatori of PICC Team StarChase third on the leaderboard behind Ragginger, while China’s Tung Ho-Pin and Team Jebsen’s Rodolfo Avila of Macau remain very much in contention.
Two of the four young drivers in the newly-created China Junior Development Programme lie joint sixth; Zheng Tong Auto’s Zhang Da Sheng, 22, and Team C&D’s Jason Zhang Zhi Qiang, 20, are each testament to the exciting talent emerging from the country and the power of more than 60 years of Porsche motorsport in unleashing potential.
Bamber’s protégé Alif Hamdan of Malaysia leads the Class B standings, an impressive 8th overall. In just his second Porsche Carrera Cup Asia season, the 23-year-old has emerged as an astonishing talent having worked hard between seasons on fitness and racecraft under the expert tuition of Bamber. Hamdan made his Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup debut this summer, finishing an impressive 15th overall in Budapest and taking a well-earned championship point.
Second in the race for the non-professional driver title is OpenRoad Racing’s Francis Tjia, just two points adrift of the top spot, with Dorr Havelock Racing’s Yuey Tan of Singapore in third, five points behind.
Making his debut with the series for the two, 10-lap Malaysian rounds is Max Twigg of Australia, standing in for Mok Weng Sun at Clearwater Racing. Twigg, driving with Porsche Carrera Cup Asia race winner Craig Baird, took victory in the Porsche Carrera Cup Australia Phillip Island in May this year.
The Porsche Carrera Cup Asia field will be raring to go as they arrive in the intense heat and humidity of Malaysia, but it will take a cool head, nerves of steel and an uncompromising will to win to triumph as the fight for the 2014 championship hurtle towards its thrilling conclusion.