Tan enjoys Fuji success!
Porsche Carrera Cup driver, Yuey Tan scores a double podium finish in Class B, putting himself closer to the championship leaders than ever before since the start of the season.
Rounds 6 & 7 of the Carrera Cup Asia season saw Tan finish 3rd and 2nd respectively in the two races that were held over the weekend at the Fuji Speedway in Gotenba, Japan. Coming into the race weekend, Tan was twenty points behind Class B championship leader, Alif Hamdan and five points behind fellow PCCA driver Francis Tjia. After Tan’s stellar performance at Japan’s first Formula 1 circuit, he has closed the gap to Hamdan to 7 points as he enters the second half of the 2014 race season.
“It has been a fantastic weekend for me and the Dorr Havelock Racing Team,” said the thirty-two year old Singaporean. “It was a very tough weekend for all of us in the ever changing weather conditions but I am happy that we managed to stay consistent and get on the podium in both races!”
Porsche Carrera Cup Asia’s first ever visit to Japan was one that was filled with varying weather conditions. Starting like many other race weekends this season, Friday mornings practice featured heavy rain throughout the session, bringing visibility to a minimum while making it difficult for Tan to learn a circuit that he had never raced at before.
“It was very hard to see anything in practice,” continued Tan. “I must admit that it hasn’t been easy to learn the new Porsche 991 in the wet this season, as many of the sessions with wet weather has been different degrees of wet conditions. What was tough at Fuji Speedway was that the spray was massive and at the same time it is a seriously quick circuit. So we had to be careful.”
Qualifying on Saturday afternoon threw things in the air once again as there was light rain though Fuji’s tarmac was not wet enough to mount wet weather tyres on the car. “It was a difficult session once again!,” said Tan in regards to qualifying. “I didn’t get the opportunity to push at my maximum, really through my own fault as after analysing the data, there was definitely a little more grip in the circuit than I thought. I could’ve gone a lot quicker than I did, so it was a little disappointing. Though the result was okay. It could’ve been worse!”
Tan ended up qualifying 3rd in category, behind Malaysia’s Alif Hamdan and local hero and 2013 Merdeka Endurance winner, Hiroshi Hamaguchi.
Race 1 was scheduled for Sunday morning, giving the drivers at the PCCA the biggest headache of the season with weather conditions that were ever changing. As the cars rolled out of pit lane on the warm up lap, all of the cars were on slick tyres however as the cars lined up on the grid just before the formation lap, twenty two of the twenty eight drivers opted to change their slicks for wets as the heavens opened up minutes before the start of the race. In addition to the tyre choice, Tan also experienced a problem with his gearbox shifter as the car would not shift down on the warm up lap.
“A lot was going on at that moment,” commented Tan. “My car got stuck in 4th gear on the warm up lap and I was pretty sure I was not going to start the race. Our race engineer Minal articulated the problem and we rebooted the systems in the car and it solved the problem!” “The team also did a fantastic job as we decided to change to the wets in a frantic few minutes before the formation lap of the race.”
Though just when Tan thought that all of the problems were solved, there was a new challenge that lay ahead. The rain stopped and a majority of the grid were on wet tyres, making the car virtually impossible to drive throughout the race.
“Running in the dry on wets was the hardest race I’ve ever had to do,” explained Tan. “The wets are designed for a much lower temperature and the heat from the dry tarmac ballooned the tyres, making grip almost zero. The car felt like it was on ice for much of the race. Though somehow we managed to hold it together and finish 3rd behind Francis and Alif once again. On one hand, it was so damn tough to finish behind the guys I’m trying to beat but on the other hand, I was just glad to finish! It was a frustrating thing to try and push a race car with no grip. Though it was the same for many so I had to live with it.”
Race 2 presented the PCCA with dry weather for the first time over the race weekend, with Tan having to learn the brake markers as he went along as it was his first visit to Fuji Speedway. Class B championship leader, Alif Hamdan also retired on the formation lap with a broken drive shaft, giving Tan the chance to close the gap in the championship table.
“I was happy that it was dry!,” commented Tan on race 2. “As a racing driver, it is fun to push a race car to its limit on the power, on the brakes and on the corners and this hasn’t happen much this season. Unfortunately my friend Alif didn’t start the race and its always tough for that to happen when its a mechanical problem.”
“I got a fantastic start and spent much of the race with Hiroshi Hamaguchi and Will Bamber. I pushed as hard as I could but I didn’t have enough pace to mount a serious challenge on the two drivers in front of me! Though it’s okay as I managed to finish 2nd in category only losing to Hiroshi and he’s done a few laps around here before!"
Tan still sits 3rd in his category championship, though now the top 3 are a mere 7 points apart with Tan 34 points clear of John Shen, 4th place on the championship table.