Will Bamber wins PCCA at Thailand street track

Porsche Carrera Cup Asia Round 3 / Bang Saen – Thailand

Bang Saen – narrow, bumpy, hilly and fast. A very difficult track, especially for GT3 cars. For the first time Porsche Carrera Cup Asia comes to Bang Saen street circuit, just 1 hour south of Bangkok. The circuit is celebrating its 10th racing event with TCR Asia, Thai super series and few other National Championships. At street tracks like this, its crucial to achieve a good Qualifying lap. Will Bamber managed that well, made twice pole and achieved a Pole to flag win twice.

Free Practice – Friday 30 June
The difficulty of this tough circuit was clear during the practice and qualifying sessions, with seven red flags flown as drivers struggled to learn the track, most racers driving this track for the first time. While the monkeys on track created puzzling faces on the drivers, the Thursday practice session was rather putting the gentlemen driver into an anxious mode.

Qualifying – Saturday morning
While Akash Neil Nandy was the fastest during practice, Will Bamber set an impressive time during Qualifying with 1:36.918 lap-time, in front of Chris cn Der Drift of Team Formax with 1.37.165 and Team Starchase racer Philip Hamprecht on third.
Leader Martin Ragginger was waiting for the perfect qualifying lap, but a safety car crossed his plan and only could reach 5th quickest.

Race 1:
From the starting grid to the checkered flag – van der Drift was hounding bamber’s bumper, but Bamber kept focused, sticked to his racing line and giving no room for errors or any space for overtaking. Meanwhile, youngster Hamprecht was quick on third place putting to put space between him and championship table leader Martin Ragginger of Team Porsche Holding, who executed a charging start from P5 to overtake P4 driver Cui Yue of Team Jebsen.

Pity for Cui Yue, who showed his best performance this year, caused the safety car later in race, avoiding a Pro-Am car, but sliding into the barrier and retiring from the race.
With the safety car out for just one lap, Bamber’s hard earned space of comfort was gone, putting van der Drift right back on his bumper with 8 laps to go. After the Safety car, Ragginger was back on Hamprecht’s tail, who worked hard to keep his third position and finally earning his first podium place this season.
Bamber finished with a fraction of a second ahead of van der Drift.

PRO-AM
The rivalry between Pro-Am driver Evan Chen of Kamlung Racing and Team Jebsen’s Yuey Tan took a new twist in Round 5 after the drivers earned P1 and P2 positions respectively during qualifiers. Tan had a blazing start, streaking through the green lights to instantly ride onto Chen, followed closely behind P3 starter Francis Tjia of OpenRoad Racing.

Chen survived the first turn rumble but was soon facing a looming challenge from Tan, who managed to overtake him after a close clustered bump-up between the Pro-Am pack. It was then a matter of keeping the tenacious young Chen, racing for this first time in his career on a street track, at bay. Tan strong handle on the track was made evident as the race progressed, with his gap on Chen steadily increasing.

Meanwhile OpenRoad Racing’s Francis Tjia, starting in P3, found himself comfortably occupying the space between the Pro-Am race leaders and the rest of the pack, enjoying clean space on both the front and back. The safety car shook up the standings however, eliminating Tan’s lead and putting Tjia right up front with the race leaders as the action reset.

From then on it was a fearsome bumper to bumper fight between Tan and Chen. A small error by Tan going into a soft turn with just 2 laps to go saw the only window open for Chen, but Tan managed to quickly recover and kept a steel grip on first place. Tjia then was on the back of the leaders, occupying Chen’s attention while Tan greeted the checkered flag for a tension-filled victory.

 

DRIVERS QUOTE:
WILL BAMBER
“It was a fantastic race for us, getting a good start which helped us stay ahead before turn 2. Then after that it was about keeping it under control but also pressing on. You saw the times were faster than qualifying even. One mistake and it could have gone wrong really quickly. But I had a good jump in the beginning in terms of gap to Chris at the start and he came on super strong after the safety car at the end there,” Will Bamber said during the press conference after the race.

YUE TAN:
“We started our position behind Evan running on the start, went into turn 2, unfortunately we all bunched up and Francis [Tjia] gave me a little tap. He came running up the hill and for a minute I thought he was going to get us. Luckily, one of us had to pull out and in the end he gave way, I pushed really, really hard before the safety car and we made a little bit of a gap. I was not pleased that the safety car came out, it kind of affected the rhythm. But after that we pushed hard and [Evan Chen] really pushed me to the end,”

RACE 2:
While Race 1 was quiet moderate with damage on the cars, Race 2 saw a bit more marks on the Barrier of this track, the biggest impact with Bao Jin Long, who lost the grip crashing with his tail into the wall leaving only little space for passing cars. The marshals and safety car crew acted incredible fast to clean up the crash, still leaving 6 minutes of racing afterwards.

OVERALL:
Ragginger still commands the championship table with 117 points, equal with Chris van der Drift and Bamber only 1 point behind.
It shows the level of competition this year, that after 3 races the leading drivers are so close to each other.

1 86 Martin RAGGINGER 116
12 Will BAMBER 116
3 7 Chris van der DRIFT 114
4 10 Andrew TANG 77
5 15 Tanart SATHIENTHIRAKUL 76
6 99 Philip HAMPRECHT 73
7 19 ZHANG Dasheng 71
8 29 Akash Neil Nandy 46
9 88 YUAN Bo 43
10 77 CUI Yue 41