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GT World Challenge Asia

Gilbert, Yoong Claim Blancpain GT Asia Poles at Sepang

Gilbert, Yoong claim poles in first ever Blancpain GT Asia qualifying session…

Photo: Blancpain GT Series Asia

OD Racing Team’s Mitch Gilbert will start the first ever Blancpain GT Series Asia race from pole, while Alex Yoong will lead the grid in Sunday’s Race 2, following Saturday morning’s qualifying session at Sepang.

Driving the No. 86 Audi R8 LMS, Gilbert posted a 2.04.180 with two minutes remaining in the first 15-minute session, before a red flag brought the action to a premature close.

This came after an earlier red flag was called to retrieve a KCMG Audi, BBT Ferrari 488 GT3 and TTR Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR, which had all gone off track early in the session.

BBT driver Anthony Liu had gone fastest after the green flag, until Gilbert’s lap time put the Audi 0.182 seconds ahead.

Darryl O’Young and Marchy Lee will start Saturday’s race from the second row, in the Craft-Bamboo Racing and Audi Hong Kong entries, respectively.

“That was hard work so it’s awesome to be on pole, and especially here for the very first Blancpain GT Series Asia race,” said Gilbert. “As a Silver pair I think we’ve got a really good chance in the first race.

“We were quite quick earlier in the week but didn’t expect this. We only just pipped the Ferrari, which is really fast – it’s important we stay ahead of it at the start because they’re a bit quicker than us.

“Yesterday’s race run was tough and we struggled towards the end, but we’ve made some changes overnight that should help.”

Pole position for Race 2 went to Yoong in the No. 6 Audi R8 LMS Cup entry for Phoenix Racing Asia, with a lap time of 2.03.248.

The running was halted with seven minutes remaining to once again collect the BBT car, now driven by Davide Rizzo, but none of the front-runners were able to improve their times when the session got back underway.

This meant Yoong secured pole by a margin of just 0.007 seconds ahead of Raffaele Marciello in the No. 999 GruppeM Mercedes-AMG GT3, who was quickest in Saturday morning’s Free Practice 3.

Will Stevens and Franky Cheng put their Team WRT and Milestone Racing Audis into third and fourth, while Rui Aguas completed the top five for Spirit of Race.

The weekend’s first race will kick off at 3:10 p.m. local time, with live streaming available on the GT World YouTube channel and the series’ Facebook page.

RESULTS: Qualifying 1
RESULTS: Qualifying 2

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist. He is a graduate of Politics and International Relations.

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