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Motorsport News: Porsche Carrera Cup Asia Rounds 1 and 2 - Perfect weekend for rookie Imperatori

Shanghai-based driver Alexandre Imperatori of Switzerland completed his near-perfect debut with reigning champions Team StarChase by winning Round 2 of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia from pole at the Shanghai International Circuit today. Second across the line after the 12-lap race was Team Jebsen’s Rodolfo Avila of Macau, followed by American Brian Wong of Absolute Racing who made his debut with the series this weekend.
OneShift Editorial Team
OneShift Editorial Team
17 Apr 2011

In Class B, it was China’s Wang Jian Wei of Team BetterLife who took his maiden series victory, followed by OpenRoad Racing’s Francis Tjia and Wayne Shen of Modena Motorsport, who finished ahead of brother John.

Imperatori’s two wins get Team StarChase’s championship defense off to a strong start, putting them at the top of the leaderboard with a six point lead over rivals Team Jebsen. Brian Wong lies third in the title chase after two races, with Wang Jian Wei of BetterLife in fourth.

A dramatic start saw Imperatori get away from pole, but the trio of Keita Sawa, team mate Darryl O’Young, and Avila were three-abreast behind him. The resulting struggle for position saw both the LKM Racing Team drivers pick up punctures, forcing them to pit. Both returned to the track, with O’Young setting the fastest lap of the race and making it up to 14th by the flag, and Sawa two places behind.

Mok had a great start and out of Turn 3, was right next to O’Young in 4th. However, braking for T5, he got hit at the back by Anthony Liu, spinning him into Ringo CHONG who had been trying to avoid Liu. Chong was forced to retire immediately, with Mok pulling over after seven laps.

Imperatori set about pulling away in front, but Avila fought to keep him in his sights, but without risking valuable championship points. The Team StarChase ace had build up a gap of more than six seconds by the flag.

Wong had it all to do this weekend, and was rewarded with a well-deserved podium finish. Racing for the first time with the series, and having never been to the 5.5km Shanghai track, the 22-year-old was surprised and delighted to have excelled amongst such stiff competition, having started the second race from 8th on the grid.

Battles continued throughout the field for the entire 12 laps, with the Class B drivers providing the crowds with some superb action. OpenRoad Racing’s Francis Tjia had been running in third for much of the race, before being taken by Wong mid-way through. On the penultimate lap, Tjia spun having elected an aggressive set up, losing the Class B victory to Wang.

In the closing stages of the race, all eyes were on Dr. Ma Chi Min and Mak Hing Tak, the two Hong Kong racers locked in battle, with Ma eventually edging past his rival on the penultimate lap.

For Imperatori, it was a near-perfect weekend, only losing out on pole to SAWA, something the young talent can live with: “We missed out on pole by a hundredth of a second, but after two wins, I guess it doesn’t matter!”

For China’s Wang, it was a superb result for him and his team BetterLife, and for the local supporters: "It was a challenging race, but I wouldn't say today was really difficult. I was behind Francis (Tjia), but I could see that something was not right with his car and I thought that if I was patient and I waited, he would make a mistake. He did and I was able to benefit from it."

For Tjia, it was a disappointing end to what had been a strong race: "I changed my set-up and so the car was very good for the opening laps, but that also meant that it was aggressive on the tyres. The tyres overheated and it became very difficult to keep the car on the track. I made a small mistake, a silly half-spin, but that meant I threw in number one in Class B. The race had so many things going on. I had a very good start and managed to make my way through the field, until I made a stupid mistake.”

The Porsche Carrera Cup Asia will be back in action at the Pearl River Delta’s Zhuhai International Circuit next month.

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