Martin Rump and Weiron Tan scored a lights-to-flag win in Friday’s first Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia race at Shanghai but the results of their rivals mean the title battle will go down to the wire.
Rump and Tan, driving an Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo for Audi Sport Asia Team Absolute Racing, weren’t able to stay in the championship battle despite their resounding victory on Friday, however.
The championship is still led by Solite Indigo Racing’s MG Choi, who scored a fourth-place finish alongside teammate Manuel Metzger, giving the Korean a nine-point lead heading into Saturday’s season finale.
The podium was completed by two other title contenders: the Absolute Porsche of Tanart Sathienthirakul/Philip Hamprecht and HubAuto Corsa’s Yuya Sakamoto.
Sakamoto and Marcos Gomes finished 3.5 seconds down in their HubAuto Ferrari 488 GT3, while Sathienthirakul and Hamprecht were a further 13 seconds behind with their Porsche 911 GT3 R.
Rump capitalized on his pole position to build up a ten-second lead early in the race after a restart from a safety car period called for Hiroaki Nagai’s Porsche.
Sathienthirakul ran second in the opening stint with Sakamoto third. Positions at the front of the field remained unchanged after pit stops, with Rump able to enjoy an unchallenged run to the checkered flag.
Gomes made his way past Hamprecht after a while but wasn’t able to close the gap sufficiently to the leader.
AMAC Motorsport’s Andrew Macpherson and Ben Porter clinched the Am Cup title, while Vutthikorn Inthraphuvasak wrapped up Pro-Am honors with a sixth-place overall finish.
Team iRace.Win took the GT4 win courtesy of Ringo Chong and Setiawan Santoso, who helped the team seal the teams’ championship a race early.
Chong and Santoso’s Mercedes-AMG GT4 crossed the line 22 seconds clear of Sunako Jukuchou’s BMW M4 GT4.
The GT World Challenge Asia season finale gets underway at 11:55 a.m. local time on Saturday (11:55 p.m. Friday EDT).
RESULTS: Race 1