Absolute, Craft-Bamboo Triumph in World Challenge
Absolute Racing and Craft-Bamboo Racing shared out the victories in the third weekend of Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia action at Suzuka.
Philip Hamprecht and Tanart Sathienthirakul won the opening race in their No. 911 Porsche 911 GT3 R after a puncture cost the leading Absolute-entered Audi R8 LMS GT3 of Martin Rump and Weiron Tan.
Thai racer Sathienthirakul duly picked up the lead before handing over to Hamprecht, who managed a six-second gap to the sister Absolute Porsche until the finish.
Leo Ye Hongli and Yuan Bo were in the Chinese squad’s No. 912 car, in place of Jono Lester and the Nürburgring 24-bound Dennis Olsen, and claimed a podium in their first race together.
Hongli came under pressure from the ARN Racing Porsche of Yuta Kamimura in the closing stages, but stood his ground to secure Absolute’s 1-2 finish.
In the second race, Craft-Bamboo Racing’s Alessio Picariello and Jeffrey Lee scored their second win of the season in a tight conclusion set up by two late safety cars.
With five minutes remaining, Lee saw off Vutthikorn Inthraphuvasak in the No. 918 Absolute-run Porsche at the final restart and went on to take the win by 0.3 seconds.
Hamprecht and Sathienthirakul rounded out the top three for their second podium of the weekend, the championship leaders now 10 points clear at the top of the table.
GT4 honors in the two races went to the Team iRace.win Mercedes-AMG duo of Ringo Chong and Setiawan Santoso, and BMW Team Studie’s Takayuki Kinoshita and Sunako Jukuchou.
New Vantage Takes First Home Soil Victory
Jonny Adam and Graham Davidson gave the new Aston Martin Vantage GT3 its first British GT Championship win during Sunday’s two-hour race at Donington Park.
The TF Sport pair became the fifth GT3 crew to claim a victory in the six races held so far this season, leading the way for much of the contest.
Pole-sitter Davidson worked up an early three-second lead over his rivals at the start, but this contracted to a narrow gap following a charge through the field from Shaun Balfe in the Balfe Motorsport McLaren 720S GT3.
With an hour gone, Davidson pitted to hand over to his Aston Martin factory co-driver Adam, who defended from his McLaren opposite number Rob Bell to win by 3.4 seconds.
Johnny Cocker and Sam de Haan completed the podium, the Barwell Motorsport pair leading home a trio of Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evos.
Cocker held off Dennis Lind in the Michael Igoe-started WPI Motorsport entry, while championship leaders Adam Balon and Phil Keen finished fifth in the other Barwell car.
In GT4, Sebastian Priaulx and Scott Maxwell assumed the points lead with their second victory of the season in the No. 15 Multimatic Motorsports Ford Mustang GT4.
Maxwell lost his pole advantage early on, dropping to third, but made up a position before the driver swaps and profited from an issue on the first-placed Tolman McLaren 570S GT4 to lead again.
Priaulx slipped to second in the pit sequence but the 18-year-old managed to catch and pass Mark Kimber in the Century Motorsport BMW M4 GT4 for the win.
A spin into the gravel for Kimber then ensured the second podium spot went to HHC Motorsport McLaren of Callum Pointon and Dean MacDonald, while Tolman’s Lewis Proctor and Jordan Collard finished third.
News & Notes
***RealTime Racing will return for its third crack at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb next week. The Blancpain GT World Challenge America team is again entering an Acura TLX GT to be driven in the Open class by Peter Cunningham.
***Strakka Racing has signed 17-year-olds Matt Greenwood and Esteban Muth to its junior driver program. Greenwood is the reigning Britcar Dunlop Endurance champion, while Muth competed in French F4 last year. The pair will get opportunities to test the British squad’s Mercedes-AMG GT3 as part of their development course.
***The livery for Mikka Hakkinen’s Suzuka 10 Hours ride in a McLaren 720S GT3 has been revealed. The two-time Formula 1 world champion will share the blue and white Planex SmaCam Racing car with Katsu Kubota and Hiroaki Ishiura.