Sergio Perez wasn’t the only driver grinning from ear to ear at the Singapore GP. Vincent Floirendo also had a very memorable weekend at the Marina Bay Street Circuit where he took part in the Thailand Super Series (TSS) support race. Not only did he enjoy his Singapore race debut to the fullest, but also took home a total of 3 trophies in the process.
His #55 Audi R8 LMS Evo II was back to its former white-and-grey livery after suffering a huge shunt at the previous event in Thailand. Now fully restored and fully repaired, Vincent only had a short Free Practice to get re-acquainted with his trusty GT3 machinery and familiarize himself with the 5.063 km circuit (and its 23 corners) before going full send in Qualifying. Quite impressively, in a session riddled with yellow and red flags, the Filipino driver still made it into the Top 10 amongst a 22-car grid.
But just when he was starting to get comfortable going around the Marina Bay Street Circuit at speed, it rained right before Race 1 making driving very tricky on the limit. The 25-minute race saw many yellow flags as several cars on slicks pirouetted in the slippery conditions. Vincent saw this as an opportunity to move up from P10 on the grid to P5 as he made the most out of the extra grip he had gambling on wets. His charge through the field, however, was cut short when his Audi R8 LMS suddenly lost electrical power and stopped abruptly in the middle of the track. It was down to pure luck that he was collected by the other drivers as they whizzed past his stricken car at speed. It was also luck that got his #55 car to fire back up and get going again. Though now down in P18, Vincent wasn’t quite ready to give up just yet. He got his head down and once again fought his way through the field. The lone Filipino driver on the grid drove heroically in the closing stages to get back up to 5th overall where he would finish and earn a well-deserved 3rd place in his class.
Race 2 in the afternoon was held in the dry, but proved to be just as tricky. While the electrical issues on his #55 Audi R8 LMS Evo II no longer returned, it was the scorching Singaporean weather that made things difficult for Vincent. Lasting a full 25 minutes under the heat and humidity was one thing, holding onto position was another. He would start from P5 on the grid, avoided the all mess that happened between the leaders up front, and settled into a comfortable race pace. But with only a few laps to go, he was hounded by a 911 GT3 R that was desperately trying to find a way past. He held his ground for as long as he could, but instead of risking a collision and a DNF, he let the Porsche through to secure 6th overall and 4th place in class.
It was mission accomplished for Vincent, who got to take home 3 trophies from the Marina Bay Street Circuit whilst battling against Pro drivers. Still shaking off the highs from the Singapore GP, he will be back on track later this month at the Buriram International Circuit in Thailand where he’ll share his #55 Audi R8 LMS GT3 with Markus Winkelhock in the Pro/Am Class.
Vincent Floirendo: “Racing at the Marina Bay Street Circuit was a great experience. The atmosphere was mega as we were an F1 support race. This was my first time to drive with that much people watching and with lots of Pinoys in the grandstands, I made sure I did my best. I’m very happy with my results. There were 2 pro drivers ahead of us and still I got to take home 3 trophies from Singapore.”