Published on May 14th, 2014 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Porsche Carrera Cup Asia Rounds 4&5, Podium For Team StarChase in Stormy Zhuhai
PICC Team StarChase and Shanghai-based Swiss driver Alexandre Imperatori took a well-deserved second place finish in Round 4 of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia, putting them just four points adrift of the top of the championship leaderboard. The turbulent weekend at Southern China’s Zhuhai International Circuit saw torrential downpours force the cancellation of Round 5 in the interests of safety, meaning the successful team will now have to wait until Japan next month before continuing their assault on the 2014 title.
After a close qualifying session, Imperatori secured third place on the grid for the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (Type 991). In torrential rain, as the lights went out at the start of the 12-lap race on the 4.3km Zhuhai track, Imperatori was away like lightning, a brilliant move seeing him storm into second place from where he set off on the hunt for the lead, simultaneously withstanding a spirited challenge from his rival behind. In a masterclass display of precision racing, Imperatori deftly found his way past the race leader and immediately began pulling out a lead from the chasing pack. However, his hard work was to be undone when the Safety Car was called out while stranded vehicles were cleared.
That closed up the field and at the restart Imperatori had it all to do again, but his earlier charge had taken its toll on is tyres and that was to prove pivotal. As his rival bore down, Imperatori defended superbly with a crowd-thrilling display of precise racing. In the end though, with tyre grip deteriorating, Imperatori had to settle for second rather than risk losing valuable championship points.
Said Imperatori: “The start was really good and I attacked right away. The first two laps were great, fair racing. Really close with a little contact. I was pulling away so I wasn’t happy to see the Safety Car! I managed the restart pretty well but then I started to struggle with my tyres. Maybe I had taken too much from them at the beginning. My rival was closing and I was just trying to stay on the limit and close the door where I could. He got me with only four corners to go, but it was a fair fight.”
As PICC Team StarChase celebrated their fourth podium finish in four races, Imperatori was already keen to get back out on track, but driving, incessant rain made the track hazardous and organisers made the decision to cancel the race.