Sepang. From 25-27 August the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia 2023 season returned to Malaysia’s Sepang International Circuit for the second time this year. This proved to be a very busy weekend in Malaysia for Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific. Alongside the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia Rounds 9 and 10, the Thailand Super Series was also on the track at Sepang this weekend, with 10 regional Porsche entries competing. Added to this, the weekend’s racing festivities were leveraged by Porsche Malaysia as the perfect opportunity to launch the 911 GT3 RS in the country.
Bao Jinlong extends his Pro-Am lead
The race started with Meidong Racing’s Florian Latorre once again in first, continuing his unbroken record of taking home a pole position point. Team Shanghai Yonda’s Chris van der Drift started in p2, buoyed by his first win of the season at the last stop. Zheng Tong Auto’s Bao Jinlong had a p7 start, while BD Group’s Yang Ruoyu led the Am pack from his impressive p6 start.
As the lights extinguished, Latorre yet again had trouble making a smooth getaway out of the grid, with van der Drift slipping into p1 almost immediately. Things swiftly went from bad-to-worse for the points-leader, as Latorre clashed with his season rival TORO Racing’s Luo Kailuo on turn one, with their clash continuing on to turn 2 with both drivers ending up in the gravel. With contact between both cars, Latorre drop down to p16 and Luo Kailuo drop down to p11. This left space for van der Drift to begin opening up his lead. With local hero Sime Darby Racing Team’s Nazim Azman just behind him, and his old rival Porsche Holding’s Martin Ragginger in p3, van der Drift maintained his focus and developed a steady 5-second lead. Latorre and Luo Kailuo spent their race catching up, with each driver managing an impressive number of overtakes throughout the race – however not enough to reach the podium. The race ended with van der Drift over the line first, seven seconds ahead of Ragginger in p2, with Azman coming in p3 and claiming his first Carrera Cup Asia podium finish.
Bao Jinlong’s dominant run in the Pro-Am class continues apace. Passing the front-running Yang Ruoyu out of the gate, Bao Jinlong moved up into p4 on the first lap, putting him in sight of an overall podium finish. Porsche Beijing Central & Goldenport’s Zhou Bihuang had a battle with Team BetterLife’s Li Chao, with neither driver managing to catch sight of class leader Bao throughout the race. The final lap saw Bao lose a spot to a resurgent Luo Kailuo, however the current Pro-Am points-leader still managed to add another win to his tally, with Zhou Bihuang coming in second and Li Chao in third.
The Am competition followed a familiar formula in Round 9. Yang Ruoyu spent almost the entire race far away from his fellow Am competitors in p5, and looked like he was going to have an impressive overall finish. However, disaster struck on lap 9, with his wheels locking up and his car spinning out. Yang Ruoyu dropped down to p9, however this was still a good enough position for him to finish the race in Am first. Having started the race in Am second, R&B Racing’s Wu Jiaxin was caught up in the chaos of the first lap, and saw his race end early, giving Z.SPEED Motorsport’s Li Xuanyu the opportunity to finish the race in Am second with Modena Motorsports’ John Shen finishing in third. However, a post-race penalty shifted the standings, dropping Li Xuanyu down to a p14 finish, giving second-place to John Shen and third-place to OpenRoad Racing’s Christian Chia.
Chris van der Drift emerges as a new championship contender
Once again the race started with Latorre in pole in round 10, and once again the point-leader had a bad start out of the gate, immediately losing first place to Chris van der Drift who had started in second. Luo Kailuo started in third, and kept his place out of the grid, instantly applying pressure to Latorre ahead of him. Ragginger had started the race in p4, and became the fourth member of the quartet out in front. The four drivers kept up the pressure on each other throughout the whole race, finishing most laps within 1.5 seconds of each other. The race was yellow-flagged and the safety car came out on lap 12, which took us through to the final wave of the flag. Latorre finished in second, Luo Kailuo finished in third, and van der Drift came in first, making this his third race win of the season. Having had a slow start to the season, the three-time Carrera Cup Asia champion has now found his footing, and van der Drift now sits in second-place in the championship standings for the first time this season.
Zhou Bihuang led the Pro-Am pack in Round 10 from p6, with Team C&D’s Hong Shijie starting a few spots behind him in p10. Meanwhile, Pro-Am points-leader Bao Jinlong had one of his worst starting positions of the season, beginning the race dead last in p20 owing to an issue during qualifying. By the end of lap 1, Zhou Bihuang had clung on to his p6 position, and had been joined by Hong Shijie in p7 and Trans-China Automotive Racing’s Francis Tjia in p9. Bao Jinlong wasted no time in starting his comeback, and managed an astonishing seven overtakes on the first lap to put him in p13 by the start of lap 2. Bao Jinlong continued his comeback run, and had made it all the way up to p8 by the race’s halfway point, having overtaken Hong Shijie to sit directly behind Zhou Bihuang, who still had a comfortable 5 seconds of space behind him. Bao Jinlong chipped away at Zhou Bihuang’s lead until the safety car came out and settled everyone into their final positions. The race ended with Zhou Bihuang in first, Bao Jinlong in second and Hong Shijie in third.
Yang Ruoyu had another strong start in the Am competition, beginning the race in p7, with his nearest rival being Wu Jiaxin in p9. Yang Ruoyu quickly slipped down to p10 as the Pro-Am drivers behind him made their move, however this still left him far away from his nearest rivals, with TORO Racing’s Zhang Yaqi and Wu Jiaxin settling into p13 and p14 respectively. Kiddy World Racing’s Eric Kwong began to make a comeback before the safety car came out, and moved up into p14 ahead of Wu Jiaxin. This left the final standings with Yang Ruoyu taking the win, followed by Zhang Yaqi in second, and Eric Kwong in third.
Tightly-clustered top-three in the Porsche Dealer Trophy
With the story of the season so far being the battle between TORO Racing and Meidong Racing for the top spot, with both teams switching position a number of times, Team Shanghai Yonda have stormed into contention at the close of Round 10. Thanks to the performance of their Kiwi driver Chris van der Drift, Team Shanghai Yonda are now in second place. A vanishingly thin margin of just 5 points separates the top three. A single slip up for any of these teams will see their championship chances plummet. With a mere four races left in the season, it looks like the top three teams will be battling hard for the season victory until the very last second.