Perfect weekend for Van der Drift as Menzel grabs championship

It was all smiles on the podium for PICC Team Starchase’s Nico Menzel as he clinched the championship lead in Round 10 after titillating track battles saw previous table topper Maxime Jousse of Kamlung Racing exit the race early, opening the competition and ratcheting up the drama for the Shanghai season finish in November.

round-10-on-track-copyDisplaying the skills that earned him the 2015 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia Championship, Chris Van der Drift finished first place to complete a perfect race weekend as a guest driver for Team Porsche Holding after starting in P1, managing to avoid a sharp challenge from Jousse at the start of the race that nearly lost the New Zealand driver his pole position.

Jousse, starting, in P2, continued his onslaught of pressure for much of the first lap, but was taken out of the race after a clash up with Porsche China Junior Team’s Andrew Tang, who made contact with Jousse as he attempted an  overtake toward the end of the first lap.

With Jousse out of commission, Menzel slid into second, keeping a close but cautious trail on Van der Drift, safe with the knowledge that a second place victory would be enough propel the young German driver to the top of the table.

“It was a smart drive – I knew that Chris wouldn’t get any points, so I knew that I was safe in second place, that I would get four points and get the championship lead. I’m a bit sorry for Maxime, its obviously not the way you want to win the championship, but in the end we get some lucky situations and some unlucky situations,” Menzel said in the press conference.

Fighting fiercely behind the two leaders in third place, Absolute Racing’s Mitchell Gilbert showcased impressive defense against Tang as he repeatedly closed the window Tang’s bold attempts at overtaking him.  But, Tang’s consistent pressure paid off in the latter stages of the race as the young Singaporean driver managed a last minute pass to get on the podium in third, followed closely by Gilbert in fourth and Fun88 Team Sunfonda’s Zhang Da Sheng in fifth.

Making a strong show during Round 10 was also Team Jebsen’s Cui Yue, who managed to avoid the rough play up front to finish a smooth race in 6th.

However, following a post-race investigation, Tang’s contact with Jousse and a contact with Gillbert toward the start of the race earned him a 30-second penalty, dropping the young driver all the way down to 9th place and altering the final results.  Gilbert also saw a penalty handed out that excluded him from the race, bringing Zhang Da Sheng to 3rd place, Cui Yue to 4th and Team Jebsen’s Yuey Tan to 5th in the final results.

It was an action-filled race for Class-B as Team Jebsen’s Yuey Tan expertly maneuvered around the fights between table leaders Vutthikorn Inthraphuvasak of est Cola Thailand and Absolute Racing’s Yuan Bo.

After struggling with a slow start, Bo, who began the race in P1 but gave up his position early, tusseled with Tan and managed to pass him to engage with rival Inthraphuvasak.  But Bo’s signature strategy of fast and furious driving backfired after contact with Inthraphuvasak toward the end of the race sent both drivers spinning, allowing Tan to cruise into first with Modena Motorsport’s Wayne Shen in hot pursuit.

round-10-class-b-podium-copyBo never quite recovered from the contact and was hit with a drive-through penalty that forced him into the pit lane, resulting in fifth place – his lowest placement all season.  Inthraphuvasak, however, landed on his feet, managing to bounce back with enough speed to earn the third place podium.

Greeting the checkered flag with well-deserved enthusiasm, Tan managed his first victory of the season, with Shen on the podium in second.

“It’s my first victory of the season – I’m pretty happy.  We had pretty good pace today, we stayed with the front guys and managed to pick up the pieces when those guys started to rub each other the wrong way,” Tan said in an interview after the race.

With just two races left in Shanghai, the competition could not be hotter for both Overall and Class-B. With Jousse forced out of Round 10, three drivers enter the Overall arena with a chance at number one, paving the way for a spectacular season finish as the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia prepares for the most anticipated race event of 2016 – the epic Night of Champions.

Porsche Carrera Cup Asia 2016 Round 10– Results

Pos No Driver/Nationality Class Entrant/Nationality Time
1 86 Chris VAN DER DRIFT (NZL) Team Porsche Holding (CHN) 30:20.507
2 99 Nico MENZEL (GER) PICC Team StarChase (CHN) 30:21.449
EX 88 Mitchell GILBERT * (GBR) Absolute Racing (HKG) 30:28.449
3 19 ZHANG Da Sheng (CHN) Fun88 Team Sunfonda (CHN) 30:28.745
4 77 CUI Yue (CHN) Team Jebsen (HKG) 30:37.070
5 5 Yuey TAN (SIN) B Team Jebsen (HKG) 30:41.525
6 55 BAO Jinlong (CHN) Zheng Tong Auto (CHN) 30:50.738
7 16 Wayne SHEN (HKG) B Modena Motorsports (HKG) 30:53.814
8 18 Vutthikorn INTHRAPHUVASAK (THA) B est cola Thailand (THA) 30:55.063
9 10 Andrew TANG * (SIN) Porsche China Junior (CHN) 30:55.081
10 11 Ringo CHONG (SIN) B RC Racing (SIN) 30:58.242
11 6 YUAN Bo (CHN) B Absolute Racing (HKG) 31:01.225
12 78 Suttiluck BUNCHAROEN (THA) B True Visions Motorsports (THA) 31:01.908
13 23 P. TRESIDDER (AUS) B Paul TRESIDDER (AUS) 31:14.169
14 28 John SHEN (HKG) B Modena Motorsports (HKG) 31:14.572
15 22 SIU Yuk Lung (HKG) B LKM Racing (MAS) 31:21.051
16 2 Kenneth LAU (HKG) B Prince Racing (HKG) 31:28.964
17 3 MICHAEL S. (INA) B OpenRoad Racing (HKG) 31:36.093
18 21 Jeffery CHIANG (TPE) B OpenRoad Racing (HKG) 31:38.932
19 7 YEO Tee Eong (MAS) B Team Formax (MAS) 32:01.731
20 17 FUNG Yui Sum (HKG) B Arrows Racing (MAS) 32:04.110
8 Preeda TANTEMSAPYA (THA) B Racing Spirit Thailand (THA) DNF
9 William  BAMBER (NZL) Team Betterlife (CHN) DNF
68 M. JOUSSE (FRA) Kamlung Racing (CHN) DNF

Overall points after Round 10 (top 5)

Pos Comp No Driver Entrant Points
1 99 Nico MENZEL PICC Team Starchase 168
2 99 Maxime JOUSSE Kamlung Racing 156
3 88 Andrew TANG Porsche China Junior Team 153
4 10 Mitchell GILBERT Absolute Racing 147
5 19 ZHANG Da Sheng Fun88 Team Sunfonda 139

 Class B points after Round 10 (top 5)

Pos Comp No Driver Entrant Points
1 6 YUAN Bo Absolute Racing 202
2 18 Vutthikorn INTHRAPHUVASAK est Cola Thailand 200
3 5 Yuey TAN Team Jebsen 151
3 16 Wayne Shen Modena Motorsports 149
5 21 Francis Tjia Openroad Racing 115