PICC Team StarChase talent and newly crowned Porsche Carrera Cup Asia champion Alexandre Imperatori finished his season in spectacular style by taking a resounding victory in the final round. The Shanghai-based Swiss driver crossed the line after the 12-lap Round 11 with a margin of 6.5 seconds from second-place finisher Keita Sawa of LKM Racing Team. Third over the line in the action-packed and Safety Car-interrupted race was Chinese driver Zhang Da Sheng of Team Basetex, who drove a superb race to take his second podium of the season.
Modena Motorsports’ Wayne Shen clinched the Class B title, finishing the season 26 points clear of on-track rival Francis Tjia of OpenRoad Racing. An unlucky race saw series newcomer Egidio Perfetti, who had been in championship contention coming to Shanghai, drop down to third in the final standings.
Chinese drivers impressed at the inaugural Sports Car Champions Festival, with Huang Chu Han of Asia Racing Team winning Class B to take his second class victory of season. OpenRoad Racing’s Francis Tjia was second, putting him second in the championship. Dorr McElrea Racing’s Yuey Tan of Singapore was third across the line after a tough race.
In the final points, Imperatori clinched the title, 44 points ahead of Sawa, with Avila moving up the leaderboard after the final race to third.
Said Imperatori: “We had the championship in the bag yesterday morning so there was no need to be conservative any more. I just went all out on the attack because I really wanted to finish the season off with a victory. We didn’t have the smoothest weekend here. It was stuck in traffic all the way yesterday so today I really wanted to show everybody that I hadn’t lost my touch. I was really great to win this race for our sponsors PICC and the team. Everybody did a great job today.”
As 2011 champion Sawa handed his crown to Imperatori he was gracious in defeat: “I’d like to congratulate Alex on winning the championship. I tried to defend the championship this year but I’ve had to settle for second. But it was good to get on the podium in the last race of the season. The race today was very hard work. After the Safety Car my tyre pressure was too high, so I wasn’t able to maintain the pace until the end. Now I will just have to come back next year and win back the championship.”
Thanking his Team Basetex, Zhang was overjoyed with his season finale: “This is my first season of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia, and I plan to continue to bring more glory to China, so please continue to support me!”
The reverse grid regulation for the top eight finishers in Round 10 saw BBT’s David Rizzo on pole with Zhang alongside, and Benjamin Rouget and Sawa making up the second row. As the lights went out for the last time this season, Rizzo roared off the grid. Both Tung Ho-Pin and Imperatori were on a charge from the third row, getting by Sawa and Zhang.
However, almost immediately an incident further down the field saw Team C&D’s Rose Tan hit, catapulted across the field and into the barrier. Her stationery car brought out the Safety Car, but simultaneously a pitch battle between Rouget and Rizzo ended with the pair in the gravel. As the Safety Car came out, it was Budweiser Team StarChase driver Tung who led the field from Imperatori, with Sawa and Team Jebsen’s Rodolfo Avila in fourth and fifth.
As the racing resumed on Lap 6, Tung initially got away well but his team mate was on the attack, eventually diving past to grab the lead. Behind, Sawa and Avila where wheel-to-wheel across the track, with the Macau racer getting by but the pair making contact as the Japanese veteran reclaimed the position. Sawa then dived past Tung to go second at the half-way point.
Winner of Round 10, Team Eagle – Jiejun & Junbaojie driver Martin Ragginger was on the move too, climbing up the order to fourth by the end of Lap 8, and getting by Avila on Lap 10 to go third.
As the field thundered towards the chequered flag for the final time in its 10th season, Zhang was the star of the show, getting by Avila and into fourth. Ragginger was having a look at Sawa ahead, but there weren’t enough laps left to improve his position. After crossing the line though, his efforts came to naught as he was penalized by Race Stewards for overtaking under yellow flags. That promoted Zhang to third, and a podium with which to celebrate his impressive debut Porsche Carrera Cup Asia season.
Team Carrera Cup Asia driver David Brabham, making his debut in a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup this weekend, put in a strong performance to finish fifth from 10th on the grid.
It was a dramatic end to the 11-round Porsche Carrera Cup Asia season. As the two champions relished their triumph over the most competitive sportscar field ever assembled in Asia, plans were already well underway for an even more impressive 2013 season when the series cele-brates 10 years at the pinnacle of GT racing across Asia.
Results – Round 10
Pos No Driver Class Entrant Time
1 99 Alexandre IMPERATORI (SUI) PICC Team StarChase (CHN) 25:05.941
2 1 Keita SAWA (JPN) LKM Racing Team (HKG) +6.500
3 78 ZHANG Da Sheng (CHN) Team Basetex (CHN) +11.753
4 3 *David BRABHAM Team Carrera Cup Asia (CHN) +12.02
5 20 Rodolfo AVILA (MAC) Team Jebsen (HKG) +13.154
6 98 TUNG Ho Pin (CHN) Budweiser Team StarChase (CHN) +13.726
7 81 HUANG Chu Han (CHN) B Asia Racing Team (CHN) +18.930
8 21 Francis TJIA (HKG) B OpenRoad Racing (HKG) +23.780
9 11 Ringo CHONG (SIN) Team Kangshun (CHN) +27.671
10 5 Yuey TAN (SIN) B Dorr McElrea Racing (SIN) +33.597
11 16 Wayne SHEN (HKG) B Modena Motorsports (HKG) +34.555
12 86 Martin RAGGINGER (AUT) Team Eagle – Jiejun & Junbaojie (CHN) +36.861
13 6 ZHENG Ting (CHN) B BBT (CHN) +41.341
14 55 *Angelo NEGRO (HKG) B PS Racing (FIN) +42.054
15 31 *THONG Wei Fung (HKG) B PS Racing (FIN) +42.276
16 27 Adrian Henry D’SILVA (MAS) B Nexus Racing (MAS) +43.326
17 25 Christian CHIA (CAN) B OpenRoad By ART Motorsports (HKG) +43.851
18 23 Paul TRESIDDER (AUS) B Hewlett Motorsport (AUS) +48.846
19 18 Marcel TJIA (HKG) B OpenRoad Racing by ART Motorsports (HKG) +54.429
20 68 MAK Hing Tak (HKG) B OMAK (HKG) 1 Lap
21 96 LI Chao (CHN) B Asia Racing Team (CHN) DNF
22 83 Dr. MA Chi Min (HKG) B Dr. Ma Chi Min (HKG) DNF
23 88 Egidio PERFETTI (SUI) B Seminole Racing Team (USA) DNF
24 9 WANG Jian Wei Team BetterLife (CHN) DNF
25 28 John SHEN (HKG) B Modena Motorsports (HKG) DNF
26 8 Benjamin ROUGET (FRA) Team Yongda Dongfang (CHN) DNF
27 37 Davide RIZZO (CHN) BBT (CHN) DNF
28 66 Rose TAN (CHN) Team C&D (CHN) DNF
*Non series registered
Fastest Lap: Alexandre Imperatori/PICC Team StarChase/1:50.938
Final 2012 Championship Points
1st Position – Comp No. 99: Alexandre IMPERATORI of PICC Team StarChase with 199 points
2nd Position – Comp No. 1: Keita SAWA of LKM Racing Team with 155 points
3rd Position – Comp No. 20: Rodolfo AVILA of Team Jebsen with 137 points
4th Position – Comp No. 86: Martin RAGGINGER of Team Eagle-Jiejun & Junbaojie with 133 points
5th Positon – Comp No. 98: TUNG Ho-Pin of Team StarChase with 130 points
1st Position – Comp No. 16: Wayne SHEN of Modena Motorsports with 178 points
2nd Position – Comp No. 21: Francis TJIA of OpenRoad Racing with 152 points
3rd Position – Comp No. 88: Egidio PERFETTI of Seminole Racing Team with 146 points
4th Position – Comp No. 81: HUANG Chu Han of Asia Racing Team with 139 points
5th Positon – Comp No. 5: Yuey TAN of Dorr McElrea Racing with 107 points