Motorsport: Bamber stays top in two competitions

By Eric Thompson

Kiwi leads Porsche series in Asia and Germany

Earl Bamber rode his luck in  Malaysia at the weekend. Picture / Supplied
Earl Bamber rode his luck in Malaysia at the weekend. Picture / Supplied

Kiwi driver Earl Bamber continues to prove he's the man to beat in a Porsche Cup car.

Having to miss last weekend's round of the German series due to a clash of dates, the defending Asia champion was back in Malaysia at the Sepang International Circuit.

Bamber qualified on the third row. Martin Ragginger and Alexandre Imperatori rocketed away at the start with Bamber in hot pursuit. The Kiwi's watching game paid off when they tangled, leaving the door open for Bamber to notch his fifth win and extend his championship lead.

"I found it a bit hard in qualifying and knew it was going to be hard getting to the front," said Bamber. "I couldn't believe what happened to Ragginger and Imperatori but I took my chance and grabbed the lead. Funny thing, though, even though I missed the German race I still lead that championship as well."

Race two was a different affair with Ragginger showing real pace to hold off Bamber. Ragginger's victory keeps him very much in the title fight, 18 points behind Bamber.

Van der Drift callup
Bhaitech Racing has come knocking on Chris van der Drift's door again, signing him for the remaining three rounds of the Blancpain Sprint series. Van der Drift has history with the team going back to 2012 when they asked him to help develop their McLaren MP4 12-C.

The team entered a few races in the Italian GT Championship where van der Drift put the car on pole in just their second weekend of racing. The Kiwi stayed with the team in 2013 with Luiz Razia; they took Bhaitech's maiden victory in the International GT Open. Van der Drift put the car on pole three more times and stood on the podium twice more.

He teamed with Boutsen Ginion in the Blancpain Endurance series in the Pro-Am category (also in a McLaren GT3) this year and they drove the only McLaren to finish the Spa 24hrs race in July. The first of his comeback gigs is this weekend at Slovakiaring, Slovakia, in the Sprint series.

"My teammate will be Sten Pentus from Estonia [World Series race winner and former Toyota Racing Series contestant] and the Slovakiaring is a circuit I've never actually been to, so it will be interesting, but nothing like a challenge I haven't faced before," said van der Drift.

There is one round of the Endurance championship at the Nurburgring, September 20-21, where he finished testing yesterday. He also has the World Challenge in Azerbaijan in November.

Munro on form
Open-wheel racer James Munro continues to make a name for himself in Asia, again finishing on the podium in the latest round of Formula Master China Series. He finished second in both races behind Hong Kong driver Matthew Solomon.

Munro spun in heavy rain in race one, but managed to gather the car back up to second. While leading race two, Munro's car went off the boil and he was passed by Solomon.

Dixon double duty
As well as making a late charge for his fourth IndyCar title, Scott Dixon has been asked to put the new Dallara IL-15 Indy Lights car through its paces with James Hinchcliffe.

The pair have been drafted in to test and develop the new chassis and aero before the car's introduction in 2015. It will be rolled out at Indianapolis Speedway, September 5-6, to finalise specifications before production begins.

Dixon sees the development series as an important stepping stone into the main game.

He won an Indy Lights championship in 2000 before making the move into the main series. Hinchcliffe finished second in the 2010 series.

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- NZ Herald

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