Team StarChase banks the points in Ningbo
6 September 2021 | Ningbo-China
Ningbo. Team StarChase’s Yu Kuai put on a commanding battle on this weekend’s Porsche Carrera Cup Asia triple-header, claiming two fourth-placed finishes and a fifth spot in a solid weekend at the Ningbo International SpeedPark in East China’s Zhejiang province.
Following a three month break, Porsche Carrera Cup Asia returned to action this weekend (September 3-5) in the FIA Grade 2 racetrack located in Chunxiao. With 22 corners, the 4.010-kilometre circuit is regarded as being very demanding for the drivers and offers many overtaking opportunities. The circuit’s layout has consistently delivered action-packed entertainment, and it did not disappoint during the weekend.
With an uncertain weather forecast, 19 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (Type 992) took up the hunt for top times in the 30-minute qualifying session on Friday. Yu Kuai posted his best time (1:46.738) on his first set of tires after six laps. He could have improved with the second set of tires, but the rain started falling, putting an early end to the session. He qualified third for both races on Saturday.
“I think it was an overall positive qualifying session for us,” Yu Kuai said. “Free Practice 2 did not happen due to heavy rain so I did not get the opportunity to practice driving with new tires. We would have liked to have more time to get used to the new Cup car in Ningbo, but I think the team did a great job in helping me drive as well as I can in qualifying.”
The first two races of the weekend took place on Saturday. In the morning’s race one, the V-KOOL orange liveried No. 99 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup got well off the line, but it went wide in the first corner, dropping from third to sixth. However, it didn’t take one lap for Yu Kuai to move up to fourth. Soon he would be involved in a four-way battle for second place. He briefly saw himself in fifth place, but managed to regain his fourth place before the chequered flag.
The second contest of the weekend soon approached, and once again it was not an easy 16-lap race for the team. Yu Kuai, who clocked the second fastest time in the race, crossed the line in fourth, but he was penalised twice for allegedly not respecting the track limits and causing an accident with car No. 88. A total of 15 seconds time penalty has been added to his total race time, dropping him from fourth to fifth in the final classification.
“I think I learned many good lessons in today’s races”, said the 20-year-old driver at the end of a day. “There are many improvements that I need to make such as getting a good launch at race starts and better braking. Nevertheless, there are also many positive points such as the lap times. I hope to keep learning and make sure I do my best for the team.”
Heading into race three, on Sunday, Yu Kuai lined up in P4 following the fourth place finish in race one. A strong getaway meant he kept his position at the start and remaining firmly in the battle for the third place throughout the opening lap when the safety-car came out to allow for the recovery of another competitors' cars that had an accident at the start. As soon as the race restarted, Yu Kuai remained among the leading cars, crossing the finish line in fourth place, adding crucial points to his championship tally.
“The start was much better, and it was a shame to be this close to the podium. It’s all part of learning I guess”, Yu Kuai concluded.
After this weekend’s results, Yu Kuai holds fourth place in the drivers’ championship with 104 points. In the Porsche Dealer Trophy standings, Team StarChase is in fourth place with 103 points. Despite this weekend’s steady point-scoring results, Team StarChase thinks there is even more to unlock from its pace.
Mr. Robby Niermann, Chief Executive Officer Greater China of StarChase, commented “This weekend we probably had the pace to finish races on the podium. Unfortunately, we couldn’t convert our strong pace into results. I think the team learned a lot this weekend, and all that we've learned we'll take to the next races. Yu Kuai is only doing his third race weekend with us and driving GT cars, and he is already up in the top-five. The stage is now set for a very close battle in the second part of the season.”
Eight races remain on the 2021 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia schedule, with the next event coming in two week’s time. Rounds 8 and 9 will be held from September 17-19 in Ningbo.