Team Jebsen wrapped up their 10th full season at the forefront of the region’s premier GT championship, the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia, from October 17 th to 19th , and the occasion was celebrated with as much passion as the astonishing 117 championship races they have contested since their debut in 2004.
With a double header at the Sports Car Champions Festival at the Shanghai International Circuit to close out the season, a gargantuan push saw them climb the leaderboard to close the season fourth in the championship standings amongst the truly world-class, 28- strong field.
Driver Rodolfo Avila of Macau wrapped up his fifth season with Team Jebsen in Shanghai, after a year in which he had fought hard to stay at the front of the most competitive field ever assembled in the championship’s 12-year history.
For Avila and the team, it was an exciting season full of fresh challenges. “The new Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (Type 991) is a superb racing car and a major evolution, but it requires a great deal of finesse to master and handles very differently to its processor. It took me a while to feel fully confident, but Team Jebsen and our superb race engineer Minal Kanagasundaram helped me learn how to really get the most from it,” said Avila.
With skilled technicians, tacticians and a wealth of experience between them, Team Jebsen were ready to take on all comers.
Commented Joachim Eberlein, Managing Director of Jebsen Motors: “In its Porsche Carrera Cup Asia campaign, Team Jebsen is competing at the very pinnacle of international GT motorsport. Excelling at this level demands unparalleled team work, unrivalled Porsche expertise, a vast amount of experience and skill, and no small measure of talent. We are proud indeed, not only to have completed 10 full seasons in the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia, but to have fought hard to remain at the front of the field.”
The 2014 season saw the arrival of the impressive new Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (Type 991), and the Team Jebsen entry was resplendent it its eye-catching blue livery when the season got underway in March in support of the Malaysian F1 Grand Prix. Despite monsoon rains, Team Jebsen pushed hard in qualifying to secure a second row grid position for the start. However, in the race, a rival locked up and made contact with Avila, clipping him into a spin and out of the race.
Next it was Shanghai and the second of three F1 support races. A rain-affected qualifying session frustrated Team Jebsen’s attempts to show their impressive pace, but Rodolfo pushed hard, showing his unquestionable talent with some truly breath-taking defensive driving to take a double-digit points tally from the weekend.
The rain followed the championship to Zhuhai in May, but despite appalling conditions and almost zero visibility, Avila secured pole position for both races. In the face of contact with two rivals, Team Jebsen was forced back down the order, but Avila remained on the limit to take a well-earned podium finish in the first race.
Frustratingly, Team Jebsen never had the opportunity to capitalise on their pole position for the second race when the weather conditions worsened on Sunday, forcing its cancellation.
June brought the realisation of a long-held ambition of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia to race in Japan, and the exhilarating Fuji International Speedway was the scene of its debut. Immediately winning the hearts and minds of the entire 28-strong field, Team Jebsen focussed their talents on mastering the new track. Showing formidable pace, Avila secured a second row start for the first race and, after a brilliant getaway, was challenging for second when he was shunted by a rival. He fought back up the fiend, crossing the line to again take double digit championship points then really showing his form with a second place podium finish in the last race of the weekend.
In August, the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia returned to Malaysia, this time for a double header where Team Jebsen took two triumphant podium finishes, bringing their tally to three in a row and four for the season thus far.
A highlight of the calendar, the Singapore Grand Prix also brought with it its own set of challenges. The Marina Bay street circuit is famous for its unforgiving nature, but Avila was wheel-perfect between its treacherous walls and barriers. Excellent tactical planning on a busy track and stunning pace saw Team Jebsen set the third-fastest overall lap in the single qualifying session on Saturday. However, come race day, it immediately became apparent the rubber put down by an earlier support race had drastically altered grip, and Avila had to fight hard to maintain the accuracy on the limit required to reach the chequered flag. A gargantuan effort saw the team’s hard work result, once again, in a double digit points haul from one of the toughest races on the calendar.
October was the thrilling climax to what had been one of the most dramatic in Team Jebsen’s history. Returning to the Shanghai International Circuit, the team knew they had to play it smart but push as hard as possible over the final two races without risking all. After a strong qualifying session, Avila had reserved his place on the second row of the grid for the start of both 12-lap races. As the lights went out for the penultimate time, he got away well and fought to stay with the front runners, brilliantly fending off any challenges from behind to cross the line just shy of a podium finish.
The final round of the season saw Avila make another strong start, before the Safety Car closed up the field and he had it all to do again. As racing resumed, Avila drove like a superstar, closing in on his rival ahead and piling on the pressure. However, mindful that one mistake or the slightest contact could drop Team Jebsen down the order of the final standings, Avila played it smart. Putting on an incredible display of racing on the max, he pushed his rival right to the chequered flag, not putting a wheel out of place. It was a brilliant climax to a season in which the team had shown they are competitive at the very highest levels of sportscar competition.
Summing up a memorable season, Avila was grateful to his team for giving him the support, confidence and expertise which saw them stay at the forefront of the unyielding and experienced international field: “It’s been a fantastic season. Team Jebsen have all the qualities of the world’s greatest racing teams. The new Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (Type 991) is an astounding racing car and a joy to drive. The Porsche Carrera Cup Asia calendar has given us everything from tight, technical tracks to long, sweeping F1 circuits. What an unforgettable season we have had.”
Together, Team Jebsen and Avila have overcome every challenge, with all eyes firmly on the task at hand: Racing the Dream.
About Rodolfo Avila
Car No: 20
Avila began his career in karts, attending the Macau Karting School at 14, and winning the Macau Karting International A (Group B) a year later. In 2002, he graduated to single seater racing, becoming the youngest driver ever to compete at the Macau Grand Prix, racing in the Formula Renault event.
He took the Asian Formula Renault Challenge championship title the following year, making his Formula 3 Grand Prix debut at Macau in 2004. His career continued its extraordinary ascent, with Rookie honours in the Asian Formula 3 Championship in 2005, finishing 5th overall. A season in the prestigious British Formula 3 Championship saw him end the year 4th in the National Class for newcomers.
Avila made the switch to sportscar racing in 2008, when he became the youngest ever Asian Supercar Challenge Champion. He made his Porsche Carrera Cup Asia debut in 2009, taking pole position and a podium finish in his very first race and ending the season second runner up. Avila joined Team Jebsen for the 2010 season and in 2011 was just two points away from winning the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia title. He has continued his impressive consistency amongst and increasingly-competitive field, raising his game to secure the second runner-up position in 2012 and 2013.
About Team Jebsen
Team Jebsen is backed by the Jebsen Group. Established in 1895 in Hong Kong, the Group has since expanded its activities into a comprehensive business network throughout China and Taiwan. Today, the Jebsen Group is structured around four strategic business units targeting the consumer, industrial, beverage and luxury sectors.
Jebsen is a name synonymous with Porsche in the region, having first brought the marque to Hong Kong in 1955. Today Jebsen operates the largest and longest-established Porsche dealer group in Asia. In addition to Porsche Centre Hong Kong, Jebsen operates Porsche Centres in Macau, Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.
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