|Imperatori Thunders to Pole after Electrifying Qualifying Session|
Zhuhai. Alexandre Imperatori maintained his perfect run in the 2012 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia season by snatching pole position for the start of Round 3, edging out Team Eagle – Jiejun & Junbaojie driver Martin Ragginger.
Third quickest overall around the 4.3km Zhuhai International Circuit was Team Jebsen’s Rodolfo Avila of Macau, who vowed to find more from both himself and the car at his and his team’s home track.
Fastest in the Class B category for non-professional drivers was series newcomer Huang Chu Han of China. New to Porsche competition and the series, Huang has continued to impress, at one stage climbing to third overall on the time sheets. OpenRoad Racing’s Francis Tjia was second fastest in the class, with Dorr McElrea Racing’s Yuey Tan surviving an eventful session to set the third quickest time.
Reigning Porsche Carrera Cup Asia champion Keita Sawa, currently second in the points, had a disastrous session, spinning out on his first sighting lap and bringing out the red flag: “It was 100% my fault. They tyres were not warm enough and I tried to push too much. I want to give everyone an overtaking show in the race. Hopefully!”
Said Imperatori: “It was tough, but I expected it to be. At Zhuhai, it’s very hard to pull a gap, and Martin (Ragginger) was getting very, very close. He’s always quick. I set a good time on my first set of tyres, and then the red flag came out, but I’d already set a good time. I was watching the monitors and saw Martin did a very great job and got pretty anxious! I decided to out again on the second set, but it wasn’t needed in the end.”
For Ragginger, it was a case of ‘close but no cigar’: “It was close but not close enough! I’m getting closer to Alex than in Shanghai. Zhuhai is one of the two tracks (on the calendar) I know, in Ordos I’ll also need to learn the circuit. We lost a lot of points in Shanghai, so we need to earn points back. I need to get used to the car as I race a lot of different cars, so I need more confidence earlier.”
Team Jebsen’s Avila was characteristically tough on himself: “The session could have been better for us. We’re six or seven tenths off pole, and not driving our best. The set up today was very good and the car felt good, but we need to improve the car and the driving!”
Huang meanwhile was rightly delighted with his performance: “My first time out, there was a lot of traffic, but while they were changing their tyres, I went out again and did two laps and put in a good time. I know I need to be careful in the race though as I’m up against professionals. I’m pleased I’ve adapted so quickly to the car, and I have the confidence to do well.”
Imperatori shot to the top of the timing sheets at the start of the 30 minute session to determine the start order of Round 3 with a lap of 1:38.198, but Ragginger was hot on his heels from the off. The Austrian snatched provisional pole with a scorching lap of less than 1:38, but Imperatori was not done and reclaimed the top spot with a lap which coulnd’t be bettered despite Ragginger’s best efforts.
After a hard-fought qualifying session, the stage is set for a truly unforgettable race, with the extreme heat and humidity meaning concentration and physical fitness will be key.
Round 3 will be run over 12 laps of the Zhuhai International Circuit, with the top eight finishers reversed on the grid for the start of Sunday’s Round 4.
Prepared by PR Plus