China GT SH R11 Race Report
Nick Yelloly took to the top step of the podium and wrapped up the 2019 GT3 Drivers’ Championship with one round to spare, bagging his first championship title as a BMW works driver. Him and teammate Lam Yu’s commanding performance today and throughout the season has also seen FIST-Team AAI taking the GT3 Teams’ Championship.
Winning Team’s Han Han and Joe Osborne took second in the #111 McLaren in a race that was thrice interrupted by safety car despite a 10-second time penalty for pitlane speed infringement. D2’ Peter Liao completed the podium – his second of the season.
The race came to a head when front row starters Jeffrey Lee (#88 Craft-Bamboo Racing) and Eric Zang (#63 Toro Racing) made contact at the T14 hairpin on the opening lap, resulting in retirement for the #63 and damage in #88. FIST’s #91 Joel Eriksson also has his race compromised from the incident and dropped down the field despite a rocketing start.
#92’s Kevin Chen assumed the lead to Han Han and Peter Liao after two safety car periods. The second safety car was deployed just before the pit window and saw pretty much all cars peeling into the pitlane for driver change.
Lee’s co-pilot Alessio Picariello and McLaren driver Joe Osborne soon vaulted gentleman drivers Peter Liao and Ivan Lee after the restart. They were followed by Nick Yelloly, who only needed fourth to take an early title.
They were nip and tuck. In the end the Belgian finished first on the road ahead of Osborne and Yelloly. However, #88 was demoted to eighth after being slapped with a 60-second time penalty for inefficient pit stop time. This plus #111 McLaren’s pitlane speed infringement meant that #90’s Nick Yelloly took victory alongside team boss Lam Yu. #111 Winning Team and #2 D2 Racing shared the podium.
YC Racing’s Min Heng and Lin Nan finished off the podium ahead of FIST-Team AAI’s Kevin Chen and Ivan Lee. Race-by-race entry T.K.R’s Zhang Yaqi and Yao Liangbo finished sixth ahead of #91 Joel Eriksson and Betty Chen. ABS Project M Racing’s Kobe Han and Eddie Han rounded out the top 9.
Lo Szeho and Liu Kai dominated in the #68 Xtreme Motorsports Radical and took the duo’s fourth victory of the season on Saturday.
On first stint duties, Lo quickly overhauled YC Racing’s #918 Zhou Bihuang and #75 Wang Tao. From lap 5 onwards, the #68 took the lead and never looked back.
Championship winner Zhou Bihuang and teammate Zheng Wancheng had issues keeping tyre temperature up and finished second ahead of teammates CJ Huang and Wang Tao.
Xtreme’s Dominic Ang and Song Bo swapped their Radical for a Lamborghini this round and finished fourth, while YCRT’s #186 Li Jiaqi and Xiaomin, #82 Shanghai and Zheng Hui, Racing Team 69’s #666 Ke Yang and Johnny Zhu, and Eagleeyed Racing’s #999 Zhang Zhiqiang and Jeffrey Zee rounded out the top eight.
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Racing Team 69’s Ben Rouget and Simon Chan took home the duo’s first victory since Ningbo, ending YCRT Wu Pei’s four-in-a-row winning streak.
RSR Racing’s Sun Zirui and Jui Yu Chien finished second ahead of YCRT’s Wu Pei and Deng Baowei. Eagleeyed Racing’s #118 Cui Yue and Zhang Ke, and #828 Alex Lee finished off the podium.
The top GT4 championship contenders shared the Saturday podium, keeping the GT4 championship alive until the final showdown on Sunday. Race winners and championship leaders Chris Chia and Alex Fontana extended their lead to Phantom Pro teammate Rainey He, who partnered with Yang Xi this weekend, to 4.5 points. D2 Racing’s Will Bamber is now 8.5 behind the leading #5 duo after taking the final step of the podium alongside Kuo Kuo Hsin.
It was a bumpy start for championship leader Chris Chia in the #5 AMG. Him and front-row starter K2C Motorsports’ Kenny Chung had a coming together at T1 and both dropped down the field. Will Bamber saw an opportunity and snatched the lead from fifth.
Pole-sitter #618 David Pun in the BSEM Aston Martin held second ahead of fast-running Pro driver #6’s Rainey He, while #49 Winning Team’s Kenneth Lim and #12 TopGun GT’s Dominic Ang were in hot pursuit.
After a short safety car period, the field shook up again. Dominic Ang got up to P3 before pit window opened.
Rainey He’s co-pilot Yang Xi managed to pip D2’s #22 Kuo Kuo Hsin after the driver change, but his teammate Alex Fontana was making serious grounds after leaving the pit in sixth. On fresh tyres, the Swiss cut through the field like knife through butter, and eventually overhauled Yang to take the lead on lap 22. Kuo held onto the final podium position against AMR driver Ross Gunn in the #618 BSEM machine.
Lu Wei and newcomer Ilmari Korpivaari in the #3 Phantom Pro AMG finished fifth ahead of the triple Winning Team entries of #868 Luo Kailuo and Lei Ke, #49 Kenneth Lim and James Cai, and #570 Charlie Fagg and Dong Liang – who made a formidable comeback from the pitlane.
#999 Team Master Champ’s Wang Hao and #89 FIST-Team AAI’s CJ Huang and WeiChih Liu rounded out the top ten.