Published on March 30th, 2014 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Porsche Carrera Cup Asia 2014 – Round 1 Qualifying, Sepang, Bamber On Pole & Hamdan Tops Class B
Reigning Porsche Carrera Cup Asia champion Earl Bamber got his title defense off to a strong start this weekend taking a commanding pole position for Round 1 held as part of the 2014 FORMULA 1 PETRONAS MALAYSIA GRAND PRIX weekend. As the astonishing new Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (Type 991) made its debut in Asia, it was local hero Alif Hamdan of Nexus Racing who took the honours in the closely-contested Class B category, ending the 30-minute session an impressive sixth overall.
Bamber, competing with LKM Racing, set a scorching lap of 2:08.311 to take the top spot for the start of Sunday’s 10-lap race, almost half a second quicker than closest challenger Martin Ragginger of Team Porsche Holding. The Austrian, who celebrates his 26th birthday today, was frustrated by the challenging track surface conditions, the F1 rubber making handling dramatically different to that during the pre-season test.
Lining up on the second row will be 2012 champion, Alexandre Imperatori of PICC Team StarChase with Team Jebsen’s Rodolfo Avila alongside.
Second fastest in Class B was 2012 category title winner Wayne Shen of Modena Motorsports, followed by OpenRoad Racing’s Francis Tjia. Quickest of the China Junior Development Programme trainees was Zhang Da Sheng of Zheng Tong Auto, making a strong start to his third Porsche Carrera Cup Asia season by setting the seventh fastest lap of the session.
Said Bamber: “It’s a great start to the season, and the car felt like it was on rails! It’s great for me to be on pole with LKM Racing for the second time. I was quite surprised by the gap we managed, but there wasn’t much left [to get from the car] and I could see the rain was coming. The start is everything though, and nobody has done a start in the new car.”
Ragginger was clearly frustrated not to have been able get closer to Bamber’s time, particularly after torrential rain had disrupted Friday’s free practice session: “After the test, we thought we had found the right line to take with the set up, but we tried it for the first time today and it wasn’t as I had expected. The track was slower for sure, but I’m still not that confident with the [new] car. It’ll be an interesting race: Earl has very good speed and Alex will fight hard. It’ll be a good race.”
Hamdan was thrilled to have taken the first Class B pole position in 2014: “I’ve been working very hard with the team and the new car, and even since the end of last year, to keep up with the professionals. I want to give them a bit of a run for their money this year, and I think all the hard work has really paid off.”
Like many of the drivers, Zhang Da Sheng agreed that grip levels on the 5.54km Sepang International Circuit were markedly different to the pre-season test, but glad to have expert tuition from Porsche driver coach Sascha Maassen. “It was OK on my first set of tyres, but on the second set I hit traffic. Let’s see what happens tomorrow, but my target is to be closer to the front. After each session, I always talk with my coach. It always helps me a lot, so that’s where I go straight away!”
The Malaysian crowds have a treat in store as Round 1 of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia finally gets underway tomorrow, and 28 of the impressive new Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (Type 991) racing cars roar off the grid on their Asian racing debut.
Round 1 – Qualifying
|1||1||Earl BAMBER (NZL)||LKM Racing Team (HKG)||2:08.311|
|2||86||Martin RAGGINGER (AUT)||Team Porsche Holding (CHN)||+0.488|
|3||99||Alexandre IMPERATORI (HKG)||PICC Team StarChase (CHN)||+0.570|
|4||20||Rodolfo AVILA (MAC)||Team Jebsen (HKG)||+0.953|
|5||58||TUNG Ho-Pin (CHN)||Budweiser Team Absolute Racing (CHN)||+1.165|
|6||72||Alif HAMDAN (MAS)||B||Nexus Racing (MAS)||+1.680|
|7||55||ZHANG Da Sheng (CHN)||Zheng Tong Auto (CHN)||+1.958|
|8||18||ZHANG Zhen Dong (CHN)||Team Basetex (CHN)||+2.021|
|9||66||Jason ZHANG Zhi Qiang (CHN)||Team C&D (CHN)||+2.065|
|10||8||Ro.C. Skyangel (SIN)||Team Yongda Dongfang (CHN)||+2.259|
|11||88||Egidio PERFETTI (SIN)||Mentos Racing Team (SIN)||+2.378|
|12||16||Wayne SHEN (HKG)||B||Modena Motorsports (HKG)||+3.537|
|13||11||Ringo CHONG (SIN)||Team Kangshun (CHN)||+3.544|
|14||7||BAO Jin Long (CHN)||Team Synsanly (CHN)||+3.624|
|15||21||Francis TJIA (HKG)||B||OpenRoad Racing Team (HKG)||+3.734|
|16||5||Yuey TAN (SIN)||B||Dorr Havelock Racing (SIN)||+3.757|
|17||9||Li Chao (CHN)||Team Betterlife (CHN)||+4.154|
|18||98||Henri RICHARD (USA)||B||Silicon Tech Racing LLC (USA)||+4.157|
|19||33||Samson CHAN (HKG)||B||Samson CHAN (HKG)||+4.658|
|20||12||MOK Weng Sun (SIN)||B||Clearwater Racing (SIN)||+4.659|
|21||6||*Daniel BILSKI (HKG)||B||Daniel Bilski (HKG)||+4.736|
|22||22||SIU Yuk Lung (HKG)||B||LKM Racing Team (HKG)||+4.983|
|23||3||Michael S. (INA)||B||OpenRoad Racing Team||+5.614|
|24||2||Kenneth LAU (HKG)||B||Prince Racing Hong Kong (HKG)||+6.571|
|25||77||Jacky YEUNG (HKG)||B||Tiger Racing Team (HKG)||+6.647|
|26||28||John SHEN (HKG)||B||Modena Motorsports (HKG)||+7.101|
|27||68||MAK Hing Tak (HKG)||B||Kamlung Racing (HKG)||+7.145|
|28||51||Johnson HUANG (TPE)||B||BC Racing Team (TPE)||+8.931|
*Non series registered