Delight for Team StarChase and Yu Kuai with Podium and Maiden Pole Position in Zhuhai
24 May 2021 | ZHUHAI-CHINA
Zhuhai. Team StarChase’s Yu Kuai took another big step forward in performance during the second event of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia at Zhuhai over the weekend, 22nd/23rd May, with a maiden pole position and a podium place finish in the event’s two races.
Despite the promising opening round at Shanghai, the Team StarChase new recruit was not expecting an easy weekend on his GT racing debut on the 4.319km Zhuhai International Circuit, China’s first-ever permanent motorsport facility, opened in 1996. To make life harder for drivers and teams, the 18-strong field of brand-new Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (Type 992) cars had to face the typical summer weather in the south-central region of Guangdong Province, a mix of rain and sun, and very hot and humid.
Expectations were high for the Asia’s premier one-make series 30-minute Qualifying session after two encouraging test sessions on Friday, and Yu Kuai did not disappoint. The Shanghai native continued his excellent run of form in Carrera Cup Asia, producing a scintillating lap to secure his maiden pole position for Saturday’s race. He snatched the pole position with a lap time of 1:36.593, 0.218 seconds quicker than the second-placed car.
The race on Saturday was hotly contested to round out the top five. After losing immediate ground with a slow start from pole position, the orange liveried No. 99 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup was clipped by an opponent in the opening lap, fortunately without damage to the car. The Safety Car was deployed to remove the rival stranded car. Yu Kuai has found himself in fourth place going into the last two-thirds of the race. Although he couldn’t move further up the leaderboard after the race restart, the fourth-place finish was the team’s third consecutive Top 5 result of the season.
As it ain't over till it's over, Yu Kuai was promoted to third place following the post-race disqualification of the second-place finisher No.12 car for a technical infringement.
“I think we had a very productive qualifying session and race one”, said Yu Kuai. “We managed to find our pace in Qualifying, and now we need to understand how to be competitive in the race. I think it is critical to learn what I could have done better and materialize it the next time. I am so grateful for the team’s brilliant support and let us keep improving.”
Lining-up second on the grid, thanks to a second best lap time in qualifying which was just 0.046s away from pole, the 20-year-old Chinese ace was aiming to carry his great front-running form into race two on Sunday afternoon. Yu Kuai made a good launch from P2 and remained out of trouble, but he couldn’t build a safety margin over the chasing drivers. With ten minutes into the race, he lost a position going into Turn 1, dropping to third overall.
The second half of the race was interrupted by a long Safety Car and, with just six minutes remaining after the restart, saw a battle of epic proportions for the final podium spot. Yu Kuai remained in third position until the final lap, when he was unfortunately overtaken by a competitor to finish fourth
Speaking afterwards, Yu Kuai added, “I think we had a positive race two despite narrowly missing out a podium finish. We were the quickest car on used tyres and got a better start than in race one. I had huge lock-ups during the race which cost us the performance we needed to defend P3. I need to improve my tyre management skills and I cannot wait to learn more about how to be competitive in the coming races with the team.”
Yu Kuai move up one position in the drivers’ championship standings to third place, as Team StarChase is lying third in the Porsche Dealer Trophy.
"As Porsche celebrates its 20th anniversary in China this season, it was very nice to return to Zhuhai International Circuit this weekend as part of the Porsche Sports Cup China. We were happy to welcome our partners from BASF who supported us on site. This gave them the opportunity to experience the thrill that Carrera Cup Asia offers", reflected Mr. Robby Niermann, Chief Executive Officer Greater China of StarChase. “Overall, it's been a strong performance for Team StarChase. The championship is beginning to heat up now and Yu Kuai did a good job again this weekend in Zhuhai, one pole position, one podium finish and plenty of points is a great return. So, all in all, quite a lot of positives and we all will push hard in order to build on these results.”
With two podium finishes and two pole positions under their belt, Team StarChase will next head to the Zhuzhou International Circuit for their first race meeting in the Hunan Province. Rounds 5 and 6 of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia will be held from July 8-10.