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Martin Rump Wins Motor Cup, Tang Takes Championship Lead

2 February 2014

Martin Rump Wins Motor Cup, Tang Takes Championship Lead

• A second Estonian scribes his name on a prestigious trophy

• Andrew Tang scores a ten point TRS championship lead

• Mardenborough shouldered aside in bruising midfield stoush

Martin Rump led from pole in a flawless drive today to control the 22-strong TRS field and win the NZ Motor Cup, beginning a fightback that aims to shrug off two nightmare weekend race results that took away his championship lead.

Rump was the victim of an off-track excursion not of his making in the first race of the weekend on Saturday, one that left him beached on the edge of a gravel trap for three safety car laps. He rejoined last and took minimal points for 22nd place, though this was revised to points for 21st when an inquiry handed a time penalty to the other driver, Martin Kodric of Croatia.

Starting off the last row of the grid for this morning's first race over fifteen laps added another handful of points but when the start time for the feature race rolled around, Rump was making no mistakes.

Starting from pole with Andrew Tang alongside, Rump shot into the lead with Tang close behind and UK driver Jann Mardenborough third ahead of Damon Leitch. Mardenborough - 2013 TRS Rookie of the Year and subsequently on the podium in LMP2 at the Le Mans 24 Hour endurance race - showed his pedigree with a masterful drive through several safety car periods and restarts, holding off a charging Andrew Tang who shadowed his every move.

Mardenborough had briefly held the championship lead with victory in that first race and more points in this morning’s race.

The lead group were able to make the most of a clear track. It was not so easy mid-field. A bold move down the outside by Brazilian Gustavo Lima on the second lap returned a divided as he overtook three cars down the outside heading for turn two - but then the young Brazilian was part of a chain of impacts that took him off track and out of the race. Also out were American drivers Ryan Tveter and Neil Alberico, the latter relegated after the chequered flag for his part in the incident.

The ensuing safety car period put the pressure on Rump to get the restart right, and after three laps under the yellow flag the Estonian did just that, rocketing away to extend a small lead over Tang. The pair cleared out on the field, but not before Tang fought off a determined charge from Mardenborough, who briefly overtook the Singaporean before being sent back to third . Orudzhev made the most of the confusion and slipped past the British driver into third. Mardenborough went through the rest of the lap fourth, unable to get back past the flying Russian.

Damon Leitch got a blinding start, up from P6 on the grid to fourth, only slipping back one place as the Orudzhev-Mardenborough battle developed.

Malaysian driver Alif Hamdan climbed off the back row of the grid to 19th; Matteo Ferrer was beside him at the start and eventually rose to 12th in a gritty drive through the field.

Rump's win keeps his championship hopes alive, though the young rookie still insists he is here to learn and gain experience and refuses to entertain questions of thoughts of the title itself.

It was a dream result for Rump, who becomes the second Estonian driver to scribe his name on one of the oldest and most respected trophies in New Zealand motorsport. Sten Pentus won the trophy in 2010 and is back this year as driver coach to Rump. Estonia, a country of just 1.2 million people, is home to a passionate community of motorsport enthusiasts and has produced both race drivers and rally drivers, the latter up to WRC level.

The biggest winner of the weekend is be Andrew Tang, who raced to second behind Rump in the feature race and in doing so took the championship lead heading into the final round, ten points clear of

Tang and Rump also set a new lap record with identical lap times, 1:00.816, which will be recorded as Rump's since he set the time a split second before Tang did on the final lap of the race.

Going into the final three races of the championship at Manfeild next weekend, Tang leads Mardenborough by just 10 points, 610 to 600. Russian Egor Orudzhev, who finished second overall for the round, has 586, Leitch 581 and Rump 552.

ENDS

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