It was a proper up and downhill battle for Singaporean driver, Yuey Tan as he tackled the Marina Bay Circuit for the 7th time in his career, over the weekend.
The 33 year old driver had started off the weekend with a strong performance in practice, finishing third quickest behind Mentos Racing’s Egidio Perfetti and 100 Plus Racing’s Vuitthikorn.
“It’s always special to hit the tarmac at the Marina Bay Circuit and the first time of every weekend is like coming back to an old home that you used to live at!”
“We were pushing from the first flying lap in practice and managed to get a pretty decent time! I knew that Egidio and Vuitthikorn would be quick so I needed to be right with them without risking the car.”
Coming into the Singaporean Grand Prix, Tan held a 17 point lead over closets rival Wayne Shen, with Vuitthikorn a further 7 points third in the championship hunt and Francis Tjia, just a few points adrift of the Thai race ace. With four races remaining in the season before the start of Singapore, there was a maximum of 80 points on offer.
Qualifying was moved from the traditional Saturday session to Friday for the 8th Singapore Grand Prix, where Tan put in the best lap to take his second class B pole position during the 2015 season.
“It is the second pole of the season and these are worth points too so it was important to score another point. It all counts! It was even more satisfying to do it at my home grand prix and to beat Egidio Perfetti is no easy task. I was pretty stoked!”
Saturday evening saw Round 11 of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia commence on pole position. As the lights went green, it was GO GO GO with Egidio Perfetti edging out Tan on the start, taking the lead by turn 1 with the Singaporean slotting neatly behind the Mentos Racing Car. After the first lap settled, it was Vutthikorn that was locked in battle with Tan for the next five laps on the streets of Singapore with the Thai driver getting the better of Tan as he passed on the inside of turn thirteen. With the championship lead that Tan had over Shen, finishing third was not a problem in the overall championship hunt though disaster struck just a lap later. The 3.8 litre flat six of the Team Jebsen # 5 car had started to blow black smoke for half a lap, and then white smoke with the motor finally losing power on the exit of turn twenty-three. The car ran a little longer eventually calling it the end on turn five.
“It was heartbreaking when the engine let go,” explained Tan. “Two laps before it the engine gave up, just about every alarm and red light was fully lit on the dash so I wasn’t mega surprised that the motor let go. Just very disappointed.”
“After it happened I think I had to answer a few hundred questions by the time I went to bed that night regarding why the engine failed. It was a rock or something of the sort that tore the alternator belt and as a result, the water pump stopped and the engine start to get pretty damn hot. I think the oil temperature ended up going to over one hundred and sixty so that motor was cooked! Maybe I can get a new coffee table now with the engine block!”
The ‘DID NOT FINISH’ classification that Tan received had reduced his 17 point lead to a single point and put to question what could be though a single point lead was still a lead in the championship hunt!
“For sure I was pretty gutted! Wayne Shen was now just a single point behind Tan and Vutthikorn was four points adrift . From a massive lead built up over the season to a DNF in Singapore is pretty hard to take at the end of the season. Though it happened to Felipe Massa in 2007. It happened to Eddie Irvine in 1999. That’s just the way it is!”
Race 2 was planned for Sunday in the early evening and it was a race where Tan had no choice to make it count. With Vuitthikorn in sizzling form over the last six races and Wayne Shen just a single point away, Tan needed to make it count.
“It was a great race where we managed to finish on the podium and make a few more points on my rivals in the title hunt!”
Tan started in 4th place on the grid, with Egidio Perfetti, Vuitthikorn and Francis Tjia ahead of him. The race started and it remained very close between 2nd, 3rd and 4th till lap 5 where Vutthikorn made a spirited move on Francis Tjia into turn 1, taking a half spin and allowing Tjia and Tan to breakaway. Singapore’s veteran, Ringo Chong made a strong bid to get nearer Tan and Tjia, but didn’t manage to overtake him in the end. The race finished in that order with Egidio Perfetti taking victory with Tjia in 2nd and Tan in 3rd.
With two rounds to go, Tan leads Francis Tjia and Wayne Shen on equal 2nd with a 8 point gap, with Vutthikorn a further two points adrift of Tjia and Shen.
It looks like this title hunt is going down to the wire!