Drama-filled GT3 race saw Toro Racing’s Eric Zang and Adam Christodoulou taking the top step of the podium after Zang narrowly escaped clouting the wall at the start. Debutant Han Han and McLaren works driver Joe Osborne took second place for Winning Team after successfully navigating difficult track conditions. Pole sitters Alessio Picariello and Jeffrey Lee salvaged third after being dropped to the back of the grid for a sporting code breach.
In GTC, Xtreme Motorsports’ Lo Sze Ho and Liu Kai were victorious in Qinhuangdao following Friday qualifying disappointment.
Kuo Kuo Hsin took his first GT4 victory for D2 Racing alongside Will Bamber in treacherous conditions. Asia Sonic Racing’s bold tyre strategy paid off as Ross Gunn and David Pun took the #618’s first overall podium.
Spins, safety car, changing track conditions and tyre strategies all played into an excitement filled GT3 race on Saturday afternoon. Like a carbon copy of the earlier GT4 race, the eventual winner Eric Zang suffered a spin at last corner during the Safety Car start and dropped to the back of the field.
Nick Yelloly then assumed the lead, followed by Joe Osborne. Like Zang, the BMW and McLaren factory drivers also got caught out at the T17 left-hander and rally crossed back onto the tarmac, only to find the back-row starting Picariello right in their mirrors. The Belgian didn't wait long before wrenching second position from Osborne, whose slick tyres had lost all grip as soon as he treaded on the T17 puddle and ran wide.
Three laps before the pit window opened, a safety car was deployed for the stricken #91 and #75 and it was followed by an extended SC period.
Adam Christodoulou put on a valiant charge for the lead after the driver change. He soon vaulted the gentlemen drivers Han Han (#111 Winning Team McLaren) and Junsan Chen (#90 FIST-Team AAI BMW) in quick succession to take the lead, which he never relinquished.
It was a bad day for the championship leading #90, who was handed a Drive-Through penalty for incorrect safety car restart. To add to its woes, FIST-Team AAI made an unusual error and sent Junsan Chen out early by just a tenth of a second after driver change, and he received a 60-second time penalty which ruled them out of a podium contention. The #90 finished fifth behind D2 Racing’s Peter Liao.
Liao had a good scrap with Picariello’s co-driver Jeffrey Lee in the second half of the race. However, a mistake at T15 saw him handing the last podium position to his fellow Taiwanese racer.
The fast-running #68 Xtreme Motorsport Radical had a problem during Friday’s qualifying, but Lo Sze Ho and Liu Kai more than redeemed themselves today by bagging a second win of the season.
The Radical looked racy in the wet, and quickly ascended to the lead by the end of lap one, thanks to Lo’s fantastic effort. Despite taking a Drive-Through penalty mid-race for false start, Lo managed to keep the lead thanks to his strong pace and lucky timing with the SC.
YC Racing’s Zheng Wancheng and Zhou Bihuang, and YCRT’s Li Jiaqi and Xiao Min completed the podium.
YCRT’s Wu Pei won in the one-make trophy class.
The weather made for an incredibly interesting race on Saturday morning in GT4 battle. Phantom Pro Racing’s Chris Chia was, literally, in pole position to extend his championship lead after the SC start, but lost control out of the final corner and dropped to the back.
Front row sitter Kuo Kuo Hsin inherited the lead, and managed to fend off attacks from Phantom Pro Racing’s Rainey He - winner of the last round in Shanghai.
Dong Liang was up to third by the end of his stint, but the #570 has, miraculously, repeated the same mistake by sending the car out early, missing the mandatory stoppage time by half a second and completely nullified his effort.
In the second half of the race, Asia Sonic Racing went bold with tyre strategy and fitted the #618 Aston Martin Vantage on slicks on a drying track. Gentleman driver David Pun had a solid first stint and handed the car to AMR driver Ross Gunn. Gunn went hell for leather, lapping anywhere between 2 and 10 seconds quicker than the cars ahead of him. He came home second, just falling short of challenging Will Bamber’s D2 Mercedes-AMG for the win.
Lu Wei finished third in the #6 Phantom Pro AMG he shares with Rainey He. Teammates Chris Chia and Alex Fontana salvaged fourth after the unfortunate start. Ling Kang and Lo Sze Ho stayed fifth but they will start from pole on Sunday’s race.
Team Master Champ’s Wang Hao took sixth overall and Am/Am Class victory. He is followed over the line by Winning Team’s Kenneth Lim & James Cai, Dong Liang & Michael O’Brien and Xtreme Motorsports’ Liu Kai & Wei Tianyi.