Here we are at the end of my 9th season driving in the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia and I lie 3 points off the championship lead of the Pro Am category. It has been a nail biting season full of ups and downs and of course, we could look back at the season and ask ourselves, "what if?"
Since Porsche’s visit to Thailand, we have raced at the Sepang International Circuit for as the feature event, and a further two racing weekends as support races for the Malaysian Grand Prix and the Singapore Grand Prix. I must say that things haven’t quite gone according to plan and although the results have been acceptable, it hasn’t been exactly what we wanted.
Rewind back to August where we were racing at Sepang and in one of the races, my championship rival Evan Chen punted me off for a DNF while I was in the lead costing me 20 points. Trust me, I was not impressed. That was the turning point when a reasonably friendly relationship turned sour. It was game on from there on.
Then came the Singapore Grand Prix where there were two races and due to tyre allocation, our strategy was to save the new tyres for Sunday and fifteen minutes before the race start, the heavens opened up and we lost the advantage. Chen was starting on used tyres that day so the potential victory was lost.
Come the support race at the Malaysan Formula 1 Grand Prix weekend and the exact same scenario took place. Ten minutes before go time, we went to wet tyres while twenty four other cars stayed on slicks. We made a fantastic choice though the Porsche Carrera Cup decided to let all competitors change tyres after the formation lap in the spirit of safety, although it was not normal for that to happen in alignment to regulations.
It was hard to predict or imagine that two races in a row would start as a dry race on the formation lap and a wet race when we start. In the previous eight seasons in the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia, this had only happened once at the Fuji Speedway in 2014 so historically, we were making the correct decisions and our competitors were not. Though sometimes, things don’t go your way and you got to deal with whatever is thrown at you!
Though that was the past. Now we are in the present.
The next round of the Porsche Carrera Cup head to the Shanghai International Circuit with the World Endurance Championships for the season finale. I am currently trailing the championship leader by three points so the championship hunt is far from over. Team Jebsen, my engineer Minal and I are supremely confident that we can get the best out of the car and our race package. Whether or not our best is enough remains to be seen but definitely, we will not be going to the season finale nervous or upset with what has happened in any way.
In 2015 when we were victorious in the Pro Am Championship, I only won the title one and a half laps from the end of the race. Before that, I was running 3rd and that was not enough to secure the title so as the legendary Murray Walker once said, anything can happen in motor racing and it usually does!!!!
The good news is that I only need to worry about trying to win the title against my main championship rival as throughout the year, Evan and I have been trading win for win and we have fortunately left the rest behind. 3rd place in the Pro Am championship hunt is 39 points adrift of myself while Evan is a mere 3 points ahead so looking forward is the only aim. Whatever happens I will finish first or second in the title hunt though there is only one target. First.
It has been an absolutely pleasure to be with Team Jebsen for the 3rd consecutive season in the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia and I hope I am with them for another three seasons. No matter what happens next weekend, the team and I will be giving it everything, and a little more with a couple of tactical strategies up our sleeves. Follow us on Instagram and Facebook as the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia heads to the season finale on November 3rd-5th.
I also want to make a special mention to Porsche LMP1 driver and Le Mans winner, Brendon Hartley for making his Formula 1 debut for Toro Rosso at the United States Grand Prix finishing p13! What a performance from a bloke that hasn’t been in a Formula 1 car since 2010! Just mega mate!!!