Experience prevails as Martin Ragginger takes tactical win in Round 1

Martin Ragginger (AUT) Team Porsche Holding takes the chequered flag.

Team Porsche Holding’s Martin Ragginger proved his prowess during the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia’s first race of the season after a laser start to the race set the stage for the Austrian driver’s eventual victory in Round 1.

Andrew Tang leads the pack.

After a rainy practice session the day before, the sun came out for the morning qualifying that saw several young drivers dominate the top times. Porsche China Junior Team’s Andrew Tang managed to grab the pole advantage going into Round 1 with a swift 2:08.833 lap time while Team Starchase’s Philip Hamprecht earned the P2 slot and Porsche China Junior Team’s Zhang Dasheng nabbed P3.

But the early advantage earned by the young drivers was quickly overshadowed by precision driving as the first turn clash saw Hamprecht and Zhang Dasheng fall from the front of the pack, opening a path for Martin Ragginger to swoop in from a fourth place start to second and begin pressuring Andrew Tang, who managed to keep his cool and maintain the lead position in lap 1.

Martin Ragginger (AUT) Team Porsche Holding takes the chequered flag.

Maneuvering seamlessly through the initial tumult, FAW T2 Motorsport‘s William Bamber grappled his way into third from fifth in the first turn and immediately went on the defensive as Hamprecht and Zhang Dasheng fought to regain their positions.

But a bigger threat loomed for the two young drivers in the form Team Formax’s Chris van der Drift, who came roaring from behind as he was eager to make up lost ground after a rough qualifying session left him starting in P7.

Ragginger’s persistant agression produced a clear opportunity for a clean pass on Tang in lap 2, leaving the Porsche China Junior to fend off the ambitious Bamber as Ragginger slowly pulled ahead of the pack.

Martin Ragginger.

Just as Ragginger’s victory was looking all but guaranteed, the safety car was called onto the track in lap 5 after OpenRoad Racing’s Francis Tjia suffered a shredded tyre, evaporating Ragginger’s pocket of comfort and reinvigorating Tang.

The safety car resulted in renewed tension mid-pack after the race began again in lap 8 with Chris van der Drift dashing to catch the frontrunners, leaving Zhang Dasheng, Philip Hamprecht, Team Jebsen’s Cui Yue, Absolute Racing’s Tanart Sathienthirakul and Team C&D’s Yuan Bo in a tit for tat that drew the spotlight for the remainder of the race.

In the end, Ragginger managed to fend off Tang and Bamber long enough to proudly claim the honor of victor in an exhilarating first race of the season, leaving Tang in second and Bamber in third.

Pro-Am podium.

As a driver for dealer team Team Porsche Holding, Ragginger’s victory also marked the first-ever win for the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia’s newly-introduced Dealer Trophy.

“I had a really good start. I managed to defend P2 at the outset. My pace was really really good on cold tyres and I managed to overtake Andrew.  In the end we won, it was really good to win the first race of the season and we are looking forward to tomorrow, ” Martin Ragginger said during the press conference after the race.

It was an equally eventful first race for Pro-Am after an unintended technical violation saw Team Jebsen’s Yuey Tan drop from a  P1 qualifying time to last place in P25, giving series returnee Evan Chen of Kamlung Racing the coveted first place start.

Despite a strong performance in qualifying, Chen was quickly relieved of is P1 position by Team Betterlife’s Li Chao who arrived in Round 1 ready to fight, ferociously fending off initial jabs by Modena Motorsports‘ Wayne Shen, starting in P3, to overtake Chen.

Following the safety car reset,  it was a back and forth battle between the three drivers, with Li Chao and Chen trading the first place position several times while facing constant pressure from Wayne Shen.

While the top three drivers locked horns up front, the real heroics among Pro-Am came from Yuey Tan, who’s comeback from last place could only be described as meteoric as the  2015 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia Pro-Am Champion cut through the pack in a tour de force of speed and grit.

A bold start saw Tan charging toward the top of the pack, weaving between fellow Pro-Am contenders in a mad dash to recover his lost spots. But Tan suffered another dose of misfortune just as he crested the middle of the pack, hitting a slick spot on the track that sent him spinning.

Undeterred, Yuey quickly recovered and continued his onslaught, eventually making a bold pass on regular rival Wayne Shen to secure third place with just 2 laps remaining.

Meanwhile, a last minute bump-up between Li Chao and Evan Chen sent Chao spinning from his top spot, paving the way for Chen’s first place finish.  A quick recovery and last minute push by Chao saw him secure a second place finish, while Yuey Tan clinched a hard-earned third place victory.

Following review, Chen was penalized for his collision with Chao, resulting in a first place position for Chao after a tough-but-friendly battle between the two spirited drivers.

“To be honest I thought I was pretty buggered after we had to start last. Its a high quality Pro-Am Class this year, I think one of the best so far.  Evan is new, but he is young and fast, so I thought it would be pretty hard to catch up.  But I’m happy where we ended up and I think I couldn’t have really hoped for anything better,” Tan said during the post-race press conference.

With the first points marked, drivers are prepped and ready to head back to the track on Sunday for another exhilarating round of Porsche Carrera Cup Asia.

Porsche Carrera Cup Asia 2017
Round 1 Race Result

Pos No Driver Class Entrant Time
1 86 Martin RAGGINGER Team Porsche Holding 27:52.723
2 10 Andrew TANG Porsche China Junior Team 27:53.020
3 12 William BAMBER   FAW T2 Motorsport 27:54.345
4 7 Chris  VAN DER DRIFT Team Formax 27:57.470
5 19 Dasheng ZHANG Porsche China Junior Team 28:01.779
6 88 Bo YUAN Team C&D Auto 28:03.470
7 77 Yue CUI   Team Jebsen 28:09.099
8 15 Tanart SATHIENTHIRAKUL Absolute Racing 28:09.388
9 99 Philip HAMPRECHT Team StarChase 28:10.295
10 55 Jinlong BAO Zheng Tong Auto 28:17.043
11 9 Chao LI PA Team Betterlife 28:24.039
12 5 Yuey TAN PA Team Jebsen 28:27.906
13 78 Suttiluck BUNCHAROEN PA True Visions Motorsports 28:28.481
14 28 John SHEN PA Modena Motorsports 28:39.147
15 16 Wayne SHEN PA Modena Motorsports 28:41.778
16 8 Preeda TANTEMSAPYA PA Racing Spirit Thailand 28:43.329
17 23 Paul TRESIDDER PA Paul TRESIDDER 28:46.011
18 33 Antares AU PA OpenRoad Racing 28:46.395
19 17 Yui Sum FUNG PA Arrows Racing 28:49.048
20 68 Evan CHEN * PA Kamlung Racing 28:49.318
21 22 Yuk Lung SIU* PA LKM Racing 29:18.543
22 2 Alex LIU PA Arrows Racing 29:55.030
23 69 Christian CHIA PA OpenRoad Racing 29:55.406
21 Francis TJIA PA OpenRoad Racing DNF
  29 Akash NANDY   Force Asia Racing DNF