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Imperatori, Inthraphuvasak Win Race 2 at Buriram

Alex Imperatori and Vutthikorn Inthraphuvasak give Panther/AAS Motorsport its first win at Buriram…

Photo: SRO

Vutthikorn Inthraphuvasak resisted late pressure from Yuan Bo to claim his and Panther/AAS Motorsport team-mate Alex Imperatori’s maiden Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia victory on home soil at Buriram on Sunday.

The two Porsche 911 GT3 Rs took the checkered flag 0.9 seconds apart after a late safety car period helped Absolute Racing’s Bo close in.

However, he and Jono Lester were denied a podium when their car was found to be underweight post-race.

That promoted HubAuto Corsa’s Yuya Sakamoto and Andre Heimgartner to second, while TSRT’s David Chen and Andre Couto ensured two Chinese teams finished in the top-three.

Craft-Bamboo’s pole-sitter Alessio Picariello had established a seven-second lead over the three-way battle for second featuring Triple Eight’s Jazeman Jaafar, Imperatori and JRM’s Chris van der Drift by the time all four pitted at mid-distance.

The two Mercedes-AMGs and two Porsches then converged once their respective Ams climbed aboard.
However, AAS’s decision to pit a lap earlier meant Inthraphuvasak was up to speed by the time the others re-joined, which proved decisive when taking second from Jefri Ibrahim.

The quartet was then halved when Picariello’s co-driver Jeffrey Lee collided with Ibrahim exiting Turn 3, which sent the Triple Eight Mercedes-AMG spinning.

That also left Inthraphuvasak out front ahead of a charging Bhurit Bhirombhakdi and Li Chao, whose own chances faded when the JRM Porsche stopped with little more than 10 of the 60 minutes left.

Meanwhile, Silver-graded Bo had been busy picking off the Am drivers and was up to second by the time a Safety Car period was required to deal with Chao’s stranded 911, slashing Inthraphuvasak’s lead from 10 seconds to two.

Bo duly closed in on his Thai rival once racing resumed with five minutes remaining but was powerless to prevent a popular home victory.

The No. 912 Porsche’s subsequent exclusion handed second overall and Silver Cup honours to HubAuto Corsa’s Heimgartner and Sakamoto who, having pitted from 12th, also enjoyed a strong second stint.

BMW Team Studie Takes GT4 Honors

In GT4, BMW Team Studie’s Takayuki Kinoshita and Sunako Jukuchou took victory by only 0.4s from GTO Racing with TTR’s Tony Fong and Brian Lee who just missed out on a first series win.

BMW Team Studie resisted Brian Lee’s late-race charge to win the GT4 class at Buriram after overcoming a 10s Pitstop Success Penalty, while Craft-Bamboo’s Frank Yu and Jean-Marc Merlin added a third place to yesterday’s victory by passing Team iRace.Win’s #111 Mercedes-AMG on the final lap.

Ringo Chong started on pole but was immediately pushed back to third by Sunako Jukuchou and Merlin. The trio circulated together for much of the opening stint before the BMW and Craft-Bamboo Mercedes-AMG’s respective 10 and 15-second Pitstop Success Penalties plus the late Safety Car brought Lee’s TTR Mercedes-AMG back into contention.

Indeed, Lee was right behind Kinoshita when the pair took the chequered flag, while Yu finished three seconds further back and only 0.1s ahead of Setiawan Santoso.


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