Craft-Bamboo Racing has the Pace but Cannot Capitalize in Shanghai

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Craft-Bamboo Racing found excellent pace from their two Porsche 911 GT3 Rs today during the GT Asia Series Season Finale in Shanghai but wasn’t able to convert the performance into podium results. Despite the horrendous downpour that plagued the Shanghai Circuit for the entire day, both the #88 Shang Peng and #91 VLT Porsche had race leading pace but some unfortunate incidents in the trying conditions meant they weren’t able to fight among the front runners and battle for victory. Richard Lyons and Frank Yu in the #88 Shang Peng Porsche had a strong lead in race one but a couple of spins forced Frank down into a P4 finish for race one. The #91 VLT car of Darryl O’Young and Naiyanobh Bhirombhakdi made contact during the first corner and put them out of reach for a good result, ultimately forcing them to retire from the damage sustained at the start of race one. Race two began in the afternoon and the rain was still coming down but Frank was able to make a good start before succumbing to the conditions once more after his tyres began to drop off. This put the #88 pair down the order and even though Richard had the pace to rival those in front, they finished the season with a P7 finish. The #91 car ran into trouble at the first corner again in race two with Bhirombhakdi running off the track and making contact with another car, causing a drive through penalty to be served a few laps later. O’Young did his best to fight back from down the order and like his #88 teammate had the pace and consistency but just not the position to challenge for a top result.

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Race One

#88 Shang Peng Porsche

Richard Lyons started the race from P3 and made an excellent rolling start in the treacherous conditions. He was quickly able to secure himself second place in the field with some superb driving and give chase to the Audi ahead. Lyons drove a flawless stint that demonstrated the ability of the Porsche in the wet and he was able to quickly close the gap between himself and first place. The Shang Peng driver was able to keep the Audi within one second before handing the car over to Frank Yu for the second stint. After a sublime pit stop by the Craft-Bamboo crew, Frank was able to take P1 soon after hitting the circuit and he began to build a gap over the rest of the field. The Hong Kong driver was putting in one of the greatest performances of the 2016 season but as his tyres began to wear he had a spin at turn one, which dropped him back to P3. Frank quickly recovered and was able to fight back with an incredible move at turn 15 to take second place. He began to whittle away the gap to P1 but spun again, putting the #88 Porsche into P4. Frank did what he could but there wasn’t enough time left to retake any positions before the flag fell and crossed the line in P4.

#91 VLT Porsche

Darryl O’Young had an unlucky start with a spin at the first corner causing the VLT Porsche to make contact with the Ferrari. This stalled the car and forced O’Young to lose a significant amount of time while he got the car going and back on track. A safety car period began soon after, which allowed O’Young to regain a good chunk of time but he was still not able to catch the end of the field. He got stuck in and found some good pace in the car but was hampered by the damage to the rear. O’Young managed to hand the car over to teammate Bhirombhakdi in P7, and the young GT driver was able to turn some good laps before a spin at turn 16 mid-way through his stint forced him into the pits. Due to the damage sustained from contact, the team made the decision to retire the car to prepare it for race two later in the afternoon.

Craft-3Quotes

#88 Interush Porsche 911 GT3 R

Frank Yu, Driver

“Frank handed the car over to me just behind the Audi and I was able to get in front to P1 after the really good pit stop. I had a strong run in the lead but after about six or seven laps I lost grip on my rear tyre at turn one. I lost a couple of positions but I managed to retake a place to get to P2. Unfortunately, I had another spin and dropped to P4 which is where I finished.”

Richard Lyons, Driver

“Disappointing end to the race, we were able to get up to position two straight away. The car was fantastic it had a lot of speed but the opportunities didn’t come. We had two safety cars which ruined my chances of getting the lead and we were able to get P1 after the pit stop.”

#91 VLT Porsche 911 GT3 R

Darryl O’Young, Driver

“Obviously not a good race, I just didn’t have enough temperature in my tyres and had a spin and some contact, which dropped us back. We had some damage at the rear, which made the car very difficult to drive in the wet and pretty much ended our race. We look ahead to race two and we have to see what happens, hopefully we can get a better result.”

Naiyanobh Bhirombhakdi, Driver

“Even though we were in a good position for the start of race one, the incident at the start resulted in a mechanical failure that forced me to pit the car for the second time. We ended up retiring from the race altogether. The team is working hard to get the car ready to race again for race two today.”

Craft-4Race Two

#88 Shang Peng Porsche

Frank got the #88 Porsche’s race started from P8 and he kept the car out of trouble during the opening sequence of corners to begin his final challenge of the year. On track conditions were still incredibly dicey and Frank did a good job of staying on the pace for the majority of his stint. As his tyres began to degrade, Frank lost grip on the rear and suffered a spin before getting right back into the fight. This lost the #88 pair some valuable time and Frank handed the car over to Lyons in P9 mid-way through the race. Lyons went out on full boil and despite the conditions he managed to push the #88 Porsche to perform some of the fastest lap times of the race. He showed great consistency throughout his stint and was able to close the gap to the midfield and finish the final race of the season in P7.

#91 VLT Porsche

It was Naiyanobh Bhirombhakdi’s turn to start race two for the #91 VLT Porsche and unfortunately it was not the great start that the #91 pair needed for their final race of the year. While Bhirombhakdi made it through the first corner, he made contact with another car after having an off moment in turn two. He would later receive a drive through penalty for his actions which dropped the #91 Porsche into last place. Bhirombhakdi put in a solid performance for the final part of his stint and changed over to Darryl O’Young in P10. O’Young made the most of the next 25 minutes, producing some great lap times that were on par with the race leaders. It was an uphill battle for the Hong Kong driver, as he had the pace to compete with the front runners but just wasn’t in the right position to do so. O’Young continued to show the new found performance of the Porsche for the remainder of the race and passed the chequered flag in P9 for the final time in the 2016 GT Asia Series season.

Quotes

#88 Interush Porsche 911 GT3 R

Frank Yu, Driver

“It was a difficult race; I had the worst of the tyres because we used them in the race one trying to push for the win. I started race two with the used set and the first four laps were fine but from the fifth lap on, the rear lacked grip and I had a little spin at turn one. That was it for my stint and then I handed the car over to Richard.”

Richard Lyons, Driver

We started P9 and I knew it was going to be a difficult day with the conditions. Frank had a bit of a mishap, so that put us out of the race. I just had to get out there and see what I could do. I was hoping for a safety car, but we pushed until the last lap and almost got into the fight for P4 and P5 but the race was just too short.”

#91 VLT Porsche 911 GT3 R

Darryl O’Young, Driver

“It was tough race; Toy had an incident at turn one. Both of us had bad starts today, so it dropped us back down the order. We had a drive through penalty with Toy, so that left us in the middle of nowhere. My stint went really well, we had strong pace but just couldn’t fight today. Overall the weekend was tough because we had a good car but we couldn’t execute the races. I look forward to Macau now and we will see how we go when we get to a street circuit.”

Naiyanobh Bhirombhakdi, Driver

“It was a disappointing end to the season for race two today, especially when we can see so much potential for the car. But that’s racing, what I take away from it is that I have learnt so much from racing in GT Asia. It’s been a long journey from my first outing in the GT3 R back in May. The learning curve of getting to know the car, the circuit, the team, and sharing a car with a team mate has been steep but with all their help it has been made easier. I wouldn’t be able to achieve any of it this year without the support from everyone at Craft-Bamboo Racing. So I would like to express my sincere gratitude to my teammates, Darryl O’ Young, Frank Yu and Richard Lyons. For being patient, advising me, and teaching me to be a better driver. Richard Coleman, all the management, engineers, team staff, and terrific pit crews with their dedication to get the car ready day in and day out. Many years further down the road in my racing career, I will always remember all the memories I shared with my Craft-Bamboo family this season. Lastly a special thanks to VLT, Singha Estate, TMB, AIS, and all the sponsors that put their faith in me this season.”

Richard Coleman, CEO of Craft-Bamboo Racing

“Bittersweet day for the team, the car’s pace was fantastic and I think we had the fastest package here this weekend but failed to capitalize due to driver mistakes in very difficult conditions. I think we could have won today and while it is pleasing to see the natural progress of the car over the year, naturally it is very disappointing not to get the results. A huge thank you to the fan base that came out today and it is a shame we couldn’t have gotten the win for them. It has been a tricky year for us in GT Asia but as ever this team pushes forward. We now have a quick package and look forward to the FIA GT World Cup in Macau in a month’s time.”

CRAFT-BAMBOO

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