It was a very wet introduction to the GT Asia Series competition in Shanghai but Craft-Bamboo Racing battled the weather to secure their two Porsche GT3 Rs a second row start for the first race on Thursday.
Craft-Bamboo kicked off the day’s action by taking the top spot in free practice one thanks to Richard Lyons’ brilliant opening stint in the #88 Shang Peng Porsche. Lyons set the fastest lap of the session in the first nine minutes and despite continued attempts by the competition, the field could not better it in the remaining hour and twenty minutes. The #91 VLT Porsche tested a variety of setups during this time and was able to finish the session in P7.
The first afternoon qualifying session got underway in the dry but by the end of the first lap the weather had turned and drivers began to enter the pits to change tyres. Darryl O’Young stayed out to squeeze in a dry flying lap. Unfortunately, the gamble didn’t pay off the way the #91 driver had hoped and he pitted to change to wet tyres on the next lap. Once the tyres were fitted, O’Young used the remaining time to push the Porsche to the limit and was rewarded with P4, which secured the #91 a second row start for race one. The previous sessions’ development work clearly paid off under the challenging weather conditions. Lyons was able to squeeze out a little more performance from his Shang Peng Porsche during Q1 to take P3 by the end of a tough session. He had been right on the pace all day and this shone through during the very wet qualifying session. A second row start was a strong result for both cars and gives them an excellent shot at taking home a top result in race one.
The second qualifying session proved increasingly difficult as the rain worsened, compromising track conditions even further in the process. Frank fought hard in the #88 and posted continually quicker lap times, recording a best time of 2:20.967s to finish Q2 in P8, only 1.8s off pole position. Bhirombhakdi pushed the VLT Porsche around the 5.4km circuit but got caught in a spin at the final corner, which affected his momentum during the early stages of his stint. He quickly regrouped and with his increasing confidence was able to gradually improve his lap times and cross the line in P10.
To watch the Shanghai season finale of the GT Asia Series, you can stream both races live at www.gtasiaseries.com
If you are in China, you can watch the live stream on LeTV’s online network.
Both races will also be broadcast live on Fox Sports 3 and Star Sports in the Asian region. Please see tv.foxsportsasia.com for your country’s schedule.
Thursday, 20th October
1030 – 1130: GT Asia Series Race 1 (60 mins)
1430 – 1530: GT Asia Series Race 2 (60 mins)
#88 Shang Peng Porsche
Richard Lyons, Driver
“Slightly disappointed not to take pole position as I feel the car was good enough. Unfortunately, our timing was maybe slightly off as the rain got heavier through the session. However, both Frank and I enjoy this car in wet conditions, so I’m looking forward to a great race tomorrow.”
Frank Yu, Driver
“I started qualifying on a new set of wets. It was raining really hard and there were rivers of water everywhere. It took me three laps to find the ultimate racing line. I did my fastest lap on lap four, which put me in P6 at the time. I pushed myself harder but out-braked myself on a few occasions and ended up P8. I was only 1.8s off pole, so I am pretty happy with that. The car was really good in wet conditions, so hopefully it will be wet and we will be able to capitalize tomorrow.”
#91 VLT Porsche
Darryl O’Young, Driver
“It was dry going out, but then started to rain on the out lap. I thought I could get one lap in the dry. I went for it and it was just too wet, so I lost a lap. I feel that costed us a better position, if I had been able to get my wet tyres on a lap earlier I would have been able to get my flying lap in under the optimum track conditions. It’s a bit disappointing because I know there is more, but I am still happy because we’re in the top four and on the second row. So I hope that we can fight in the race tomorrow.”
Naiyanobh Bhirombhakdi, Driver
“Despite the progress made from previous rounds in Shanghai, my qualifying was hampered by the changing weather conditions, which lead to changing track conditions and very little time to build up momentum for a good lap time. Perhaps I was a bit eager to really nail down a good lap time and I pushed it too hard which resulted in a spin on the wet track. But I am optimistic for tomorrow’s races from the progress made today.”