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May 13, 2014 - 02:37 PM
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Cebu Pacific Air By KCMG Dominates Formula Masters Season-Opener
Posted by: newsla on May 13, 2014 - 02:36 PM
Support Series News
Cebu Pacific Air By KCMG Dominates Formula Masters Season-Opener


Cebu Pacific Air by KCMG was off to a reigning start in Formula Masters China Series’ season opener at Zhuhai International Circuit. The Hong Kong-based team celebrated back-to-back victories with 17-year-old New Zealander James Munro over the weekend. Two pole positions by Matthew Swanepoel and a podium finish by Dan Wells in the Asian junior formula series further complimented this dominance.

 

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Held in changeable conditions, the championship’s opening event saw Cebu Pacific Air by KCMG rise to the occasion, with each driver demonstrating impressive form on Zhuhai’s 4.319km circuit. South African driver Matthew Swanepoel topped the first qualifying session with a sensational run in the wet.

Meanwhile, Munro managed to clinch second place after his car spun off track due to standing water and poor visibility caused by the torrential rains. After the red-flagged 15-minute session, British teammate Dan Wells qualified in fourth position on the grid. The second qualifying run was cancelled due to the worsening downpour. Hence, results from the morning practice decided the grid for Race 3. Swanepoel led Cebu Pacific Air by KCMG’s first front row lockout with Munro in 2nd and Wells in 3rd.

Race 1 got underway on Saturday morning in dry conditions and drew mixed results from the Cebu Pacific Air by KCMG drivers. Pole sitter Matthew Swanepoel stalled at the start of the race due to a technical issue, dropping him down the order. He steadily fought his way to fifth place but a 30-second penalty resulted in a 12th place finish.

From 4th position, Wells was able to take 2nd place following a bold move to overtake opposition. Unfortunately, a gearbox linkage failure developed just two laps from the chequered flag, with the British driver finishing the race to take 3rd spot on the podium.

James Munro was off to a flying start in Formula Masters first race of the season. From 2nd position, Munro was able to take the lead and build a 5-second gap, taking the fastest lap along the way.

Race 2 commenced under the safety car as heavy rain once again affected track visibility. Munro was able to pull away and set a 3-second lead over the #15 Super License car of Yuya Motojima. The race was shortened to 7 laps with Munro concluding the session with another win, claiming Cebu Pacific Air by KCMG’s second victory in the Asian series. Dan Wells finished in 5th place while Matthew Swanepoel was forced to early retirement after an unfortunate collision during the formation lap.

Due to the adverse weather conditions on Sunday, Formula Masters race officials decided to postpone Race 3 in the interest of driver safety. The race will take place on a rescheduled date.

James Munro, Cebu Pacific Air by KCMG Driver: “It has been an amazing opening weekend, to come away with the championship lead is a great result! I was a little disappointed in qualifying after going off after only one lap. With a bit of luck though, it was still good enough to start 2nd. To then go on to win in both wet and dry conditions is a real credit to the team and the hard work they've put in to make the car as good as it is at the moment. Hopefully we can carry this momentum forward to the next round in Shanghai and continue to fight for wins.”

Matthew Swanepoel, Cebu Pacific Air by KCMG Driver: “After getting two poles in qualifying I was hoping for some positive results as I was fast in the wet. Due to technical problems in Race 1 and a driver taking me out on the warm up lap in Race 2, the weekend didn't end as I hoped it would. Unfortunately, Race 3 had to be postponed for safety reasons. I can however take a lot of positives from this past week. I look forward to Shanghai and will continue to give my best.”

Dan Wells, Cebu Pacific Air by KCMG Driver: "After 6 months out of a single seater, I've had a great week with the team. Initially, we had a few reliability issues as the team only got the car late in the day - so the boys had to do quite a bit of work in a short amount of time. Unfortunately, the gearbox issues affected us in both races with a 2nd and a 3rd place turned into a 3rd and a 5th. Nevertheless, despite all the setbacks over the weekend, I consider myself fortunate to have finished both races!”

John O’Hara, KCMG Deputy Managing Director: “Formula Masters first event proved to be a baptism of fire for our drivers as we were thrown various challenges in changeable circuit conditions. Most importantly all drivers were fast which bodes well for the season but we have some areas where we need to improve. Two victories, three pole positions and two fastest laps is a superb feat; and it’s our aim to go to Shanghai in two weeks maintaining this momentum.”

Cebu Pacific Air by KCMG is on top of the series’ overall team standings with 48 points. James Munro leads the Drivers’ Classification standings with 33 points.


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