Chris van der Drift has stormed to his first victory of the 2023 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia series at Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand, this evening. Compatriot Reid Harker was the second driver to cross the line but was relegated to fifth after a post-race penalty was applied.
Having qualified second-fastest for Saturday’s sole race, van der Drift pulled clear of championship leader and pole-sitter Florian Latorre off the front row at the start. Harker started on the third row from fifth, driving Sime Darby Racing Team’s #17 Porsche, usually driven by Nazim Azman, and got an excellent launch to sit second by Turn 2 on Lap 1.
By the end of the opening lap, van der Drift’s advantage sat at over a second as Harker came under pressure from Latorre and was forced to defend.
A Safety Car was required on Lap 4 when Adrian D’Silva was left stranded after taking contact from a trailing car, evaporating van der Drift’s lead and bringing the field together.
News came through of a 5-second penalty for Harker while the field was under caution. The Kiwi was deemed to have gained an advantage by running wide at Turn 1 on Lap 1, exceeding track limits as he did so.
Van der Drift pulled clear on the Lap 7 restart, quickly putting a gap on the field again, while Harker was left fending off Latorre behind.
As the lead continued to build up front, Latorre struggled to make ground, instead losing third on the track to championship contender Luo Kailuo on Lap 14 before locking up at the end of the lap and flat-spotting his tyres.
Van der Drift would take the chequered flag after 17 laps with a 2-second advantage over Harker, who had Kailuo, Latorre and Martin Ragginger close behind. Once his five-second penalty had been applied, he was relegated to fifth, which promoted Kailuo to second and Latorre to third.
The Porsche Carrera Cup Asia returns for one race on Sunday, beginning at 3.30 pm. The race will be broadcast on motorsport.tv.
Header Image: Porsche Carrera Cup Asia