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Shanghai Friday Notebook

John Dagys’ Friday notebook from Shanghai, site of this weekend’s penultimate round of FIA WEC season…

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

***Friday’s Free Practice 1 was delayed by 90 minutes due to communication issues between race control and the trackside marshals. A set of replacement radios had to be dispatched and re-programmed around the track in order for the session to start. 

***The issue resulted in a condensed one-and-a-half-hour break between the two sessions, with FP2 having started on schedule at 3:30 p.m. It’s understood FP2 was not able to be pushed back due to lack-of-daylight.

***The No. 13 Vaillante Rebellion Oreca 07 Gibson took part in a practice medical extraction exercise on the front-straight following FP2.

***Sunday’s race is expected to be the toughest race on tire degradation this season, particularly in the LMP1 class, which is limited to four sets of tires for both qualifying and the race. “This weekend the challenge for us is trying to do a double stint,” said Porsche’s Earl Bamber. “The asphalt is very, very aggressive, although we did not see much degradation in the first session.”

***Michelin has brought both medium and hard compounds for its technical partner teams in LMP1, GTE-Pro and GTE-Am, along with a range of wet weather tires, although unlike the rain-soaked event at Fuji, are not expected to be needed this weekend.

***The GTE-Am class sees the tightest points race heading into the weekend, with only three points separating the top three teams, led by Clearwater Racing. There’s a six-point spread in the drivers’ championship between the three teams, which sees Dempsey Proton Racing’s Matteo Cairoli, Christian Ried and Mavin Dienst currently hold a one-point lead.

***There’s been significant activation for the event throughout Shanghai, from special edition metro cards to promotional events in the city. “The welcoming has been tremendous,” Jackie Chan DC Racing’s Ho-Pin Tung said. “We’ve seen our car on massive LED screens on the Bund. We went into the subway with our own tickets. It’s been phenomenal.”

***DC Racing co-owner/driver David Cheng echoed Tung’s sentiments during this afternoon’s event press conference. “From when me and Ho-Pin did our first in 2014 here in Shanghai, the fans come out more and more,” he said. “Last year was a huge turnout, especially from Jackie [Chan] showing up. From our team, this Sunday, maybe we’ll have a surprise or two.”

***Porsche Carrera Cup Asia closes out its season as a support series to the WEC this weekend. Former Porsche Junior Martin Ragginger currently leads the single-make championship, four points ahead of Chris van der Drift, with Will Bamber in third.

***Will Bamber’s Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car is owned by his older brother, two-time Le Mans winner Earl.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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