This year's Porsche Carrera Cup Asia returns to Singapore for its fifth year on the prestigious 2012 Formula One Singapore Grand Prix card.
The support race saw Craig Baird, the guest driver on behalf of the tournament sponsor (SC Global Developments) stole the limelight after a superb start from second on the grid, setting the fastest lap of the race for good measure. Pole-sitter Ragginger grappled with wheelspin before running wide and rejoining in the lead, but wisely handed the place back to Baird. From there, Baird was on a charge but Ragginger never let up, closing the gap lap-by-lap. Imperatori was running a strong third, but behind him the fight was on between Team Yongda Dongfang's Benjamin Rouget in fourth, chased by Team Jebsen's Rodolfo Avila and Sawa.
Budweiser Team StarChase driver Tung Ho-Pin got a bad start, dropping down the order from the second row of the grid.
On lap two, Sawa get by Avila, and the pair had the crowds on their feet with some thrilling wheel-to-wheel jousting, Tung poised behind and ready to pounce. Avila reclaimed fifth on lap three and began closing in on Rouget ahead, while Sawa came under attack from Tung, closing the gap to less than three tenths of a second. Tung executed a wheel-perfect pass on lap five to take Sawa, and thundered towards Avila ahead, whose first attempt to pass Rouget almost ended in tears before finally making it stick, with Tung following him through and in to fifth. Rouget forfeit another place when Sawa got by, eventually crossing the line in seventh.
Baird was leading the pack out in front, having built an impressive margin of 4.7 seconds from Ragginger by the end of lap seven, with Imperatori comfortably ahead of the battling pack behind. But the race was not done, and by the end of lap nine, Ragginger had closed the gap to Baird to 3.3 seconds and Tung, running in fifth, was right on the limit, kissing the barriers in his efforts to get close enough to pass Avila.
The charge to the flag was interrupted, however, when John Shen ran into the barrier and, despite a valiant effort to move his car to a safe position, the Safety Car was called out on lap 11 and the field crossed the line a lap later.
Despite the unforgiving nature of the Marina Bay street track, coupled with unrelentingly fierce competition right the way through the field, 24 of the 28-strong field finished the race.
Craig Baird took his third victory on the challenging Marina Bay street circuit, second across the line, taking full championship points for the win was Martin Ragginger of Team Eagle — Jiejun & Junbaojie, while championship leader Alexandre Imperatori of PICC Team StarChase was third.
Class B winner was Seminole Racing Team's Egidio Perfetti, his fourth class victory this season, with OpenRoad Racing's Francis Tjia second, and Singapore racer Yuey Tan taking the final podium position for his Dorr McElrea Racing team.
Baird was surprised to have made such a strong getaway, but thrilled to be back on the top step of the podium, "I knew the car was a lot better than how I drove it yesterday and then it just came down to the start. I was dive bombed by a white and red car, but he let me back past him and then it was a very clean race. The car was absolutely fantastic, and it's great to be back with SC Global. We won a couple of races here in 2010, and then we were second here in 2011, but it's very rare that you turn it on with a new car that you haven't run before. Everything just clicked. There's a little bit of luck in that as well but I really enjoyed my weekend."
The 2012 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia championship titles, for both overall and Class B, will be decided at the season grand finale in Shanghai, at the inaugural Shanghai Sportscar Festival from November 9-11, so stay tuned for more updates!