Penalty for Van der Drift in qualifying at Spa

Qualifying for the Porsche Carrera Cup 24 Hours of Spa 2015 brought more than its fair share of drama to the Team Carrera Cup Asia duo of Chris van der Drift and Yuey Tan. Going head-to-head with drivers from the Porsche Carrera Cups in France, Italy, Scandinavia and Australia, the pair acquitted themselves well against fierce competition, van der Drift leading the way for Asia as fastest man on track.

After topping the time sheets in Thursday’s second free practice session, Porsche dealer team Kamlung Racing driver van der Drift was the second fastest behind Riccardo Agostini of Italy in an intense qualifying session amongst the 36-strong field, effortlessly booking his place in the 20-car Superpole shootout.

Dueling it out with the top 20 quickest cars, van der Drift put in a stunning performance in the 20-minute session to set the fastest lap. However, he was subsequently penalised by race officials for exceeding track limits and will take the rolling start from 5th. It was a devastatingly disappointing outcome for the talented New Zealander but, ever the professional, he took it all in his stride and moved on: “It was all going fantastic, and all we needed to do was get into the top 20 which we did quite easily in the first part of qualifying. Then for the second part (Superpole shootout) we could really get down to action, and we chopped another nine tenths from my time which put us P1 overall. Unfortunately, they thought I went outside of the track and deleted my lap time, putting me back to 5th overall. So it’s not where we want to be, but at least it’s not any further back! Thanks again to Porsche Carrera Cup Asia and Kamlung Racing for making this weekend happen.”

Frenchman Joffrey De Narda of France, with Sébastien Loeb Racing, which also runs the two Team Carrera Cup Asia cars, will start from pole position, with Mathieu Jaminet of Racing Technology alongside.

Tan, a newcomer to the notoriously challenging Spa track, had managed to shave more than two seconds off his lap time between the two free practice sessions, and was gaining in confidence with each outing. Despite going even quicker in qualifying, the Singaporean was ultimately handicapped by his lack of previous Spa experience against his European rivals, qualifying 33rd for the race.

However, enjoying every second of his Spa experience, Tan was nevertheless upbeat: “It was a pretty good day with qualifying. I didn’t quite put the sectors together but there were many cars on circuit and I did manage to improve by about 1.3 seconds from yesterday. So not too bad! It’s a beautiful circuit and by far the most challenging place I’ve raced at. I hope for better tomorrow! Thanks to Porsche China for getting me here and of course Team Jebsen for backing me this season Awesome stuff!”

Commented Alexandre Gibot, Motorsport Manager, Porsche China: “It has been a very good day for our Team Porsche Carrera Cup Asia, despite the disappointment of missing out on pole after such an incredible performance from Chris van der Drift. Chris has shown just how competitive our series is by being the fastest driver on track, while Yuey Tan has improved every single session on one of the world’s most difficult race tracks. We are extremely proud of both our drivers for their professionalism and sportsmanship.”

Porsche Carrera Cup Asia regular, this season also competing in the French Cup, Egidio Perfetti also made it into the Superpole shootout and was third quickest of the Class B drivers. China’s Zhang Da Sheng, another familiar face in the Asian series and this year making his debut in the Porsche Carrera Cup Italy, qualified 21st.

The Porsche Carrera Cup 24 Hours of Spa 2015 will be held on Saturday at 13:00 local time.

Benjamin Carrell is a freelance motorsport writer and currently edits He writes for a number of Kiwi drivers and motorsport clubs. That's when he's not working in his horticultural day-job or training for the next road or mtb cycle race!

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