DNF in Sepang but now leading the Pro Am Championship
The Porsche Carrera Cup Asia 2017 Rounds 7 and 8 brought us to Singapore’s spiritual home for motor racing at the Sepang International Circuit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. With the title race heating up between Evan and I, there were 43 points up for grabs with 20 points a win, a point for pole position and a point for the fastest lap of the race. It’s all going on and the two of us were ready for some serious racing. With the rest of the field some 37 points behind us, we knew that if we didn’t DNF, we could maintain that lead and battle it out at the end of the season. We need to be careful, but still give it our everything in order to get the results that both Evan and I were looking for.
Coming to Sepang, Evan was 4 points ahead in the Pro Am category, with myself in 2nd place. It was time to try and make up some serious ground to this guy. He actually had a jump start in Bangsaen in the previous round that would’ve cost him a lot of points, but I feel that I wanted to win the right way; on the circuit so I let it go. Now as I sit here writing this however, I must say that I regret that I did that as the gloves were off here in Malaysia, and I am now positive that the young challenger would not do the same for me by any measure. He seems like a nice enough kid but I reckon his father is one of those karting parents that sits next to him and is a ruthless competitor, giving orders and pushing him the way he knows how!
Practice and Qualifying saw me dominate proceedings, proving that experience is everything as I knew this circuit better than he did. We took the fastest lap in practice, and put it on pole for both races on the weekend so things were going according to plan! I was pleased with how it went. Team Jebsen and my racing engineer Minal had setup a mega car for me and the braking excellence was noticeable in relation to the other cars on the grid.
Race 1 went fantastic, leading from the start to the end and the plan was working out. We collected maximum points for the weekend thus far and we were well on our way to making it a perfect weekend. As well as that, I also got my second win of the season. It was all happening!!! To top it all off, Evan was disqualified for a technical infringement. Things were good.
Then, things took a terrible turn for the worse.
On lap 3 of race 2, Evan stuck his nose alongside my car and made light contact, pushing my car into a spin and putting me off into the gravel. I was pretty damn unimpressed. DNF. 20 points gone. This was definitely a turning point in the championship. After the race, there was no apology whatsoever, with Evans father asking me why I didn’t let him have more room. Why I’m talking to a fellow driver’s father I have no idea.
It all feels a little like junior karting in the Asian Championships. Parents getting involved, emotions running high. I hadn’t experienced any of this since the Singapore Karting Championship in 2013 where I was the commentator!
After Evan’s disqualification from round 7 of the 2017 season, his father lodged an appeal to the decision to the FIA World Tribunal, which was heard in Singapore. The argument was quite clear. There is a regulation that states that he did not have enough fuel to get back to the pits and his car stopped before he returned. They appealed it but the appeal was rejected. Case closed!
At the end of it all, I now have a lead of 8 points in the championship which is not all bad! The next round of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia will be bringing us to my home Grand Prix in Singapore, where the home support is massive so I sincerely hope to put on a good show. I have experience at this circuit and like Sepang, I hope to let the experience show. It is true that the Marina Bay Circuit is full of tricks and circuit knowledge is important at this highly technical circuit as we go through the 23 corners of concrete madness that makes the most exciting grand prix on the 2017 season calendar.
Time to go hard and win some stuff! I’m ready to win the second title of my career. Just got to keep it all together and go nuts and put my experience to good use! Next race on September 15-17th. I am ready to go!