Imperatori Holds Firm Under Fire
Porsche Carrera Cup Asia – Rounds 7 & 8 Sepang International Circuit, August 30 – September 2, 2012
After 11 laps of superb racing action, Modena Motorsports’ Wayne Shen took Class B honours, propelling him to the top of the category leaderboard. Second was OpenRoad Racing’s Francis Tjia, with Huang Chu Han of Asia Racing Team in third.
Imperatori now leads the 2012
A dramatic start saw a coming together between Team Basetex driver Zhang Da Sheng and Perfetti going in to Turn 2, with the incident causing the retirement of several drivers.
Imperatori got away well from pole, but Team Eagle – Jiejun & Junbaojie driver Ragginger was keeping the Swiss star firmly in his sights, piling on the pressure from the off. Behind the pair, reigning champion Keita Sawa of the LKM Racing Team had managed to get by Tung at the start to grab third.
The opening lap incident brought out the Safety Car, closing up the field. At the restart on lap 5, while Imperatori held the lead, the pressure from Ragginger was making its mark and the 24-year-old locked up under braking, almost losing his race. He recovered well, however and, despite a valiant effort from the Austrian, held on to take the chequered flag and extend his points advantage.
Behind the pair, Tung was right on Sawa’s tail, attempting to get by several times before finally making it stick on Lap 9, despite a slow puncture. The battle between the pair allowed Team Jebsen’s Rodolfo Avila close in, with the Macau racer getting past Sawa to take 4th on the penultimate lap.
For Imperatori, it was a relief to cross the line after a close call at the restart after the Safety Car period: “It was a matter of keeping Martin (Ragginger) behind me, which is never easy! The track conditions were quite tricky after yesterday’s MMER race, very different from Friday’s qualifying. I nearly threw it away a couple of corners after the restart when I locked up. I barely escaped with it!”
Ragginger conceded that Imperatori had controlled the race, but vowed to keep the pressure on in Round 8, making it clear he is on the hunt for maximum points. Tung, like Imperatori, was relieved to make it across the line: “I had a slowly-deflating left front tyre. When I got to Parc Ferme it was completely empty, so I was lucky to have made the finish.”
For Shen, who had battled technical issues in qualifying, setting the 6th fastest Class B time, it was an impressive comeback. Biding his time behind Huang, he was ready to pounce the moment his rival slipped up to grab the lead. Francis Tjia elected to play it safe, despite an attempt at getting by at Turn 4, but threw down the gauntlet for Round 8, saying: “I decided it was better to stay friends this time, but he’d better watch out in the next race!”
With the top eight reversed on the grid for Round 8, Shen will be on pole alongside Benjamin Rouget of Team Yongda Dongfang, and Team Betterlife’s Wang Jian Wei and Sawa making up the second row.
The stage is set for an even more dramatic showdown in the second 11-lap race of the weekend at Malaysia’s 5.54km Sepang International Circuit.
Fastest Lap: Alexandre Imperatori/PICC Team StarChase/2:10.762/140.097kph
**Points After Round 7
No Driver Entrant Points
1 99 Alexandre IMPERATORI PICC Team StarChase 127
2 1 Keita SAWA LKM Racing Team 97
3 86 Martin RAGGINGER Team Eagle-Jiejun & Junbaojie 80
4 98 TUNG Ho-Pin Budweiser Team StarChase 76
5 20 Rodolfo AVILA Team Jebsen 70
Pos Comp No Driver Entrant Points
1 16 Wayne SHEN Modena Motorsports 120
2 88 Egidio PERFETTI Seminole Racing Team 106
3 21 Francis TJIA OpenRoad Racing 81
4 81 HUANG Chu Han Asia Racing Team 74
5 6 ZHENG Ting BBT 64
**Results and Points provisional, pending technical investigation
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