China GT Shanghai R12 Race Report
Eric Zang and Adam Christodoulou finished the season on a high by claiming victory in the Shanghai season finale. This makes it three wins and three podiums out of eight races for the #63 Toro Racing AMG. Craft-Bamboo Racing’s Jeffrey Lee and Alessio Picariello shared second place and cemented second and third position in the overall GT3 Championship. Winning Team’s #111 Han Han and Joe Osborne took the last spot on the podium.
Most of the Pro/Am entries opted to start Sunday race with the Pro drivers. Nick Yelloly (#90 FIST-Team AAI), Adam Christodoulou and Alessio Picariello were in top three within a few corners after the start. Christodoulou was absolutely flying. He hunted down Yelloly for four laps before finally making the move stick at T14 hairpin. Joe Osborne in the #111 Winning Team McLaren also made inroads from P8, but his tyres dropped off halfway through and he handed the car over to Han Han in fifth behind Min Heng.
An unusually long pit stop dropped the #90 down the field after the driver change. However, more woes were to come for the Championship winning BMW machine. With two laps to go, Lam Yu made contact with Lin Nan when challenging for sixth position, resulting in race retirement for Lam and damage for #66 YC Racing car.
This meant that Han Han only needed to overhaul Peter Liao to take the final podium position, which he duly delivered on fresh tyres.
Joel Eriksson mounted a supreme comeback in his stint and set the fastest lap of the race. He managed to bring the #91 FIST-Team AAI back up to fifth ahead of teammates #92 Kevin Chen and Ivan Lee. Single race entries #18 T.K.R Zhang Yaqi and Yao Liangbo, #28 ABS Project M Racing Kobe Han and Eddie Han took seventh and eighth. #66 of Lin Nan and Min Heng limped over the finished line to take the flag in ninth.
Championship winner Zhou Bihuang and teammate Zheng Wancheng shared the spoils in GTC ahead of CJ Huang and Wang Tao. After the pole sitting Xtreme #68 retired on lap 7, Zheng Wancheng followed Wang Tao for several laps but could not make a move due to overheating issues. However, the #918 managed to overtake the #75 during the pit stop and ensured victory.
Xtreme’s Dominic Ang and Song Bo in the rental Lamborghini finished on the podium despite engine troubles. YCRT’s Zheng Hui and Shang Lei finished fourth.
ONE-MAKE TROPHY CLASS
Racing Team 69’s Ben Rouget and Simon Chan took home back-to-back victory in the Shanghai finale.
Just as Saturday, RSR Racing’s Sun Zirui and Jui Yu Chien finished second ahead of YCRT’s Wu Pei and Deng Baowei. #69 Racing Team 69’s Jacky Wu and Daniel Lu finished two laps down after problems early in the race.
The championship fight came to the boil at the final race of the season, and there was drama aplenty. Title challenger Will Bamber finished on the top step of the podium alongside D2 teammate Kuo Kuo Hsin, but it was not enough to stop Phantom Pro Racing’s Chris Chia and Alex Fontana from taking the overall title.
Xtreme Motorsports’ Lo SzeHo and Mathias Pelzmann took second place after Saturday’s disappointment, while TopGun GT’s Dominic Ang and Anthony Chan ended up on the podium for the first time this season.
Championship leader Alex Fontana snatched the lead from the word go, but the first half of the race was defined by an incident between Lu Wei’s #3 Phantom Pro AMG and Sennan Fielding’s #55 K2C Ginetta. The Briton was blisteringly quick and made up ten positions on the opening lap. However, if the K2C crew didn't have bad luck, they would have no luck at all. Like on Saturday, the #55’s race ended prematurely when it came together with Lu at the T13 parabolica.
After the safety car and driver change, the grid positions shook up and Chia was leading from #618 Aston Martin’s Ross Gunn and #2’s Kuo.
Then drama hit again. Wang Tao, then in fifth position, had a spectacular brake failure on the back straight and smashed into the wall hard. His car then spun back onto the track and shunted heavily into the hapless Rainey He in the #6 AMG. Both drivers were taken to the medical centre but thankfully both were okay.
It took five laps behind safety car to clean up the mess. The field bunched up and to Chia’s chagrin, his lead had disappeared. He was soon demoted by the Pro drivers. Luckily for Chia, Ross Gunn and Charlie Fagg was pinned for overtaking before the control line at restart and were slapped with a 30-second time penalty each. Chia finished just off the podium while still clinching the GT4 title with Alex Fontana.
#86’s Xtreme Motorsports’ Lo SzeHo and Mathias Pelzmann finished a fantastic second from the very back of the grid. The ever-rapid Dominic Ang completed the podium with Anthony Chan in the Lotus after a woeful season.
#868 Winning Team Luo Kailuo and Lei Ke, #888 Team Master Champ Lin Lifeng, #62 TRC Sebastien Mailleux and Robert Webb, #3 Ilmari Korpivaara and Lu Wei, #570 Winning Team Dong Liang and Charlie Fagg, and #618 BSEM Aston Martin Ross Gunn and David Pun completed the top ten.