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SUPPORTS ENJOY CENTRE STAGE IN SINGAPORE
Tung and Gene win, Singapore drivers shine
20 September 2015, Singapore - Teenage exuberance and a touch of experience were the keys as Ho-Pin Tung and Jordi Gene won Sunday’s support races at the 2015 FORMULA 1 SINGAPORE AIRLINES SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX.
Tung, a former Formula One™ hopeful now showing his class in the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia, took victory in the second race for Budweiser Team Absolute Racing after teenaged pole-sitter Nico Menzel locked his brakes in the PICC Team StarChase car and was left playing catch-up for the rest of the 12-lap race.
While Tung cruised to a comfortable win by 2.842 seconds it was the all-New Zealand battle behind him that caught the eye.
The two men leading the overall standings, Craig Baird and compatriot Chris van der Drift, were at it hammer and tongs in the early stages until Baird eased away to add second place to his Saturday race win for the Singapore-based Clearwater Racing team.
The result gave Baird a weekend total of 48 points for an overall tally of 203 and put him back in the series lead from Van der Drift, driving for Kamlung Racing, on 200.
In Class B Singapore’s Yuey Tan rescued his own weekend after Saturday’s retirement with a controlled drive to third place in class and ninth overall. ‘That was a good result,’ said a delighted Tan, ‘because I wasn’t sure everything would be right with the car after Saturday’s problem.’
Team Jebsen’s Tan is on course to become Singapore’s first champion in the category and his sensible approach mirrored his season so far. ‘The plan is not to do anything stupid,’ he grinned, ‘because no-one likes a would-be hero! I’m trying to stay calm and collected, although I did push a little bit harder at the beginning until I realised I could afford to back off.’
Chong’s closest class rival Wayne Shen was only sixth in class, while Singapore-based Egidio Perfetti in the Spark Motorsports Porsche took the class victory for the second day running ahead of OpenRoad’s Francis Tjia.
Local favourite Ringo Chong also had a better Sunday, finishing 10th overall and fourth in class in his Team Kangshun car.
Earlier in the day the highly entertaining TCR International Series laid on another crackerjack 10-lap race with Spain’s Jordi Gene Team Craft Bamboo-LUKOIL making a superb start and streaking away to a third win of the new class’s inaugural season.
“Everything went very well today and I am very happy to still be in the fight for the championship,’ said the 45-year-old Spaniard. ‘Actually, the car had been excellent throughout the weekend, I only had an unlucky qualifying that put me in a difficult position for Race 1, but my pace was very good yesterday too. Today was a different story and I only needed to stay focused to avoid trouble and mistakes.
The top three runners in the series overall were the top three finishers, making it an all-SEAT Leon podium. Stefano Comini of Switzerland, who was second for front-runners Target Competition in Saturday’s opening race, and Pepe Oriola, Gene’s compatriot and team-mate, fought a race-long battle before coming home second and third.
The reversed top 10 starting positions in race two made for exciting racing through the field as Comini and Oriola dispensed with Lorenzo Veglia’s SEAT and the two LiquiMoly Team Engstler VW Golfs of Tomas Engstrom and Mikhail Grachev.
Italian veteran Gianni Morbidelli shook off the effects of heatstroke from Saturday’s race to bring his West Coast Racing Honda Civic home in fourth place ahead of his team-mate and first Singapore race winner Kevin Gleason of the USA.