Phoenix Racing Asia drivers Marchy Lee and Shaun Thong took their first Blancpain GT Series Asia win at Suzuka on Saturday, overcoming a pit stop success penalty in the process.
As a result of a second-place finish last time out at Buriram, the Audi Hong Kong-backed drivers were forced to spend an extra seven seconds in the pit lane, but this didn’t prove too troublesome.
Lee came into the pits in first place in the No. 5 Audi R8 LMS but dropped to second as Craft-Bamboo Racing’s Peter Li passed him with no success penalty.
Soon after the stops and driver change, Thong made his way past the Porsche 911 GT3 R, retaking the lead.
From there, he went on to increase his lead over the remaining 25 minutes, eventually crossing the line at the end of the hour-long race with a winning margin of 16.553 seconds.
“I made a good start and had the inside line on Aditya [Patel] into Turn 1, but then it looked like Darryl [O’Young] out-braked himself into the chicane which made it easy for me,” commented Lee.
“After that I just tried to be consistent and look after the car, even tough I was aware of Darryl getting closer again around laps three and four.
“I was just managing everything and always in touch with the team about where we were and how long was left until the pit window opened.”
Li, in the No. 99 Porsche he shares with Darryl O’Young, lost two more positions and was only able to hang on for fourth by the end.
Craft-Bamboo teammate Nick Foster got his No. 88 car up to second position by the end.
The two Porsches were separated by OD Racing Team’s Audi, driven by Mitch Gilbert. Co-driver Aditya Patel was passed by Lee on the opening lap.
Craft-Bamboo was able to take the GT4 honors, however, with its Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR driven by Frank Yu and Jean-Marc Merlin.
The pair trailed the Taiwan Top Speed Racing Team car of George Chou and Keo Chang for most of the race, although Yu made a successful move down the inside of Chang with three minutes remaining.
Yu defended from Chang to stay out front for the rest of the race, crossing the line one second clear of the Taiwan Top Speed car.
Race 2 is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. on Sunday morning.
RESULTS: Race 1