2019 China GT Ningbo R4 Race Report
Pole man Peter Liao got pipped by front-row starter Min Heng at green light, but Min soon had his mirrors full of Pro drivers of Adam Christodoulou, Nick Yelloly and Jazeman Jaafar. The two Britons overhauled Min quickly on lap 2; the latter managed to hold off Jaafar for a few more laps before eventually letting him by to settle in fourth.
Yelloly in the FIST #90 BMW M6 and Christodoulou in the TORO Racing #63 AMG were nose to tail in a league of their own, but the BMW always had the upper hand. All the while, Jaafar was making up for lost time and followed the leaders into the pit only four seconds behind.
Jaafar’s teammate Frank Yu managed to jump the #90 and #63 after the pit stop due to a shorter stoppage time, but he soon came into traffic when the safety car was deployed to rescue a smoking #91 parked outside turn 3. He then suffered a puncture through contact and can only nurse the car back home in third.
Then the battle between highly skilled and blisteringly quick Am drivers Lam Yu and Eric Zang came to the boil. The duo went wheel to wheel, bumper to bumper for several laps. Lam Yu finally made the move stick on lap 29 and eventually took the chequers. Zang suffered damage to his diffuser during the duel and developed braking issues, and had to settle for second position.
Darryl O’Young and Jeffrey Lee finished fourth, ahead of FIST’s BMW of Ivan Lee and Kevin Chen, and YC Racing’s AMG of Lin Nan and Min Heng.
The #2 pole-sitting D2 suffered a mechanical issue on lap 13 and was forced to retire. This was their first DNF of the season.
Zheng Wancheng led from pole but a driver mistake in the opening laps has set him back a few positions. Dominic Ang in the #25 Xtreme Motorsport Radical took the lead, ahead of Cui Yue, Lo Szeho and CJ Huang. A few laps later, Lo also spun his Radical around, allowing Huang and Zheng to nip past.
The pit stop and safety car shook things up and GT rookie Zhou Bihuang took the lead in the second half of the race. Liu Kai in the #68 Radical pressured Zhou for several laps and only crossed the line 0.169s behind.
#75 of Wang Tao and #9 of Lawrence Liu made contact and it resulted in #9’s retirement. Wang Tao carried on to take the final podium position ahead of #25 of Dominic Ang and Song Bo, whose Radical came to a halt on lap 28 but Song managed to restart and finish the race.
Daniel Lu and Jacky Wu, Ben Rouget and Simon Chan took a 1-2 for Racing Team 69 in the one-make class. Daniel Lu was able to take the fight to the GTC cars and was leading the GTC/Porsche field at one point. He finished overall tenth in the end.
It was win no.2 for Phantom Pro Racing’s Chris Chia and Alex Fontana for the season, After a disappointing Friday where a puncture ended their campaign for podium, the duo bounced back strongly and is now level with D2’s Will Bamber and Peter Liao on points, who finished third for race 4. Xtreme Motorsports’ Lo Szeho and Ling Kang crossed the line in second in the KTM X-Bow GT4, less than 4s off the leading AMG.
Pole-sitter Ling Kang started well, holding his own against the charging pack. It was typical opening lap chaos: As Wang Hao, Dong Liang and Charlie Fagg jostled for positions, Ling Kang began to pull away, while back row starter Sennan Fielding made up almost 10 places and snuck up from behind by the end of lap 1.
It didn’t take long for Fielding to pick off the remaining gentleman drivers, and snatched P2 from Charlie Fagg a few laps later, whose Winning Team McLaren has been off the pace all weekend.
All the while, Ling Kang started to build a lead, but that all evaporated into thin air when a safety car was deployed to rescue the #619 that came to a halt on track.
At restart, Fielding passed Ling’s KTM for the lead, but the Chinese driver fought back and handed the car to teammate Lo Szeho in P1.
After the pit stop, Alex Fontana hunted down the field from P6. Lo held his nerve against Fontana for several laps, but in the end had to let the much quicker pro-rated Swiss by and finished in second position.
Will Bamber also made up positions and completed the podium, ahead of a second Phantom Pro Racing of Rainey He and Sunny Wong. Team Master Champ’s Wang Hao had held his own defending against much more experienced drivers such as Dong Liang and Rainey He, and finished fifth on his second GT race.
Completing the points-paying positions were: #87 Liu Kai & Wei Tianyi, #55 Kenny Chung & Sennan Fielding, #570 Dong Liang, #49 Charlie Fagg & James Cai, and #868 Luo Kailuo & Lei Ke.