The OD Racing Team of Mitchell Gilbert and Aditya Patel have claimed the overall series lead after two rounds of action at the Blancpain GT Series Asia launch weekend at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia. The drivers brought their Absolute Racing serviced #86 entry home in an impressive second place in round 2 after winning round 1 in emphatic style on Saturday.
The Audi Hong Kong #5 entry of Marchy Lee and Shaun Thong completed the overall round 2 podium in third – a result that raises the Phoenix Racing Asia entered pair to third in the championship. Jeffrey Lee in Team WRT’s #7 car crossed the finish line in eighth place overall, securing third in the round 2 Pro/Am class for him and his teammate Will Stevens. Audi also showed its strength in the Amateur Cup. The Japanese team of Naoto Takeda and Takuya Shirasaka in the #19 KCMG car finished second in class and the drivers sit joint top of the Amateur Cup standings.
The chequered flag in round 2 drew the final day of racing to a close at the Blancpain GT Series Asia opening rounds. The weekend saw an impressive showing across the class podiums and time sheets for the Audi teams and drivers in the sweltering heat of the Malaysian Formula One circuit in Sepang.
Audi R8 LMS GT3 cars filled the first three positions on the starting grid for round 2. Alex Yoong in the #6 Team Audi R8 LMS Cup car was on pole, ahead of Stevens and Jeffrey Lee’s Team WRT car and the #13 Absolute Racing entered Milestone Racing pair of Cheng Congfu and Sun Jingzu, who were third.
A dramatic start to the race saw the three Audis at the front under instant pressure. After losing his lead early in the race, Yoong fought back and eventually dived up the inside on lap eight to reclaim first place.
Behind, Cheng and Stevens kept in hot pursuit, with the two Audi R8 LMS Cup stars entering the pits for the driver change in third and fourth respectively.
Further back, Audi R8 LMS Cup star Martin Rump in the #18 KCMG by Champion Racing Team car had made up seven places in the first lap after starting at the back of the GT3 grid in 21st after an engine issue ruled the car out of qualifying.
The field was shaken up mid-race when the second driver of each team took over driving duties in the forced driver change pit stop.
Yoong brought his car into the pits after an impressive stint in which he recorded the fastest lap time of the race. However, when emerging from the pit lane, teammate Alex Au found himself in the midst of charging competitors.
After he climbed into the cockpit, Marchy Lee set about carving through the field from the middle of the pack all the way to second place with 13 minutes of the 60-minute race remaining. Gilbert followed, eventually winning the battle with Lee for second. The young OD Racing driver got past Lee on the second-last lap of the race and secured his second podium of the weekend.
Behind them the battle for the final Pro/Am podium place was raging. Alex Au was defending hard, but had to settle for ninth overall, after he spun following contact with Jeffrey Lee. Lee brought his Team WRT car home just under two seconds ahead of Au, claiming the final podium place for his team.
The KCMG duo of Takeda and Shirisaka continued their strong showing in the Am/Am class with another podium, this time in second place, following their class win on Saturday.
The Audi R8 LMS GT3 cars will next be in action for the Audi R8 LMS Cup. The sixth season kicks off also at the Sepang International Circuit on May 6-7.
Blancpain GT Series Asia 2017
Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia
Round 2 (Audi entries)
2. 86/Mitchell GILBERT/Aditya PATEL/OD Racing Team/+26.697 (27 laps)
3. 5/Marchy LEE/Shaun THONG/Audi Hong Kong/+29.355
8. 7/Jeffrey LEE/Will STEVENS/Team WRT/+50.736
9. 6/Alex AU/Alex YOONG/Team Audi R8 LMS Cup/+52.010
12. 13/SUN Jingzu/CHENG Congfu/Milestone Racing/+1:14.521
13. 18/Martin RUMP/Rick YOON/KCMG/+1:16.664
15. 19/Naoto TAKEDA/Takuya SHIRASAKA/KCMG/+1:44.599
3. 7/Jeffrey LEE/Will STEVENS/Team WRT/+50.736
4. 6/Alex AU/Alex YOONG/Team Audi R8 LMS Cup/+52.010
6. 13/SUN Jingzu/CHENG Congfu/Milestone Racing/+1:14.521
7. 18/Martin RUMP/Rick YOON/KCMG/+1:16.664
2. 19/Naoto TAKEDA/Takuya SHIRASAKA/KCMG/+3.519
Total points after Round 2 (Top 10)
1. Mitchell GILBERT – 43
1. Aditya PATEL – 43
3. Marchy LEE – 25
3. Shaun THONG – 25
Pro/Am points after Round 2 (Top 10)
4. Jeffery LEE – 25
4. Will STEVENS – 25
5. Alex AU – 24
5. Alex YOONG – 24
6. SUN Jingzu – 23
6. CHENG Congfu – 23
9. Rick YOON – 6
9. Martin RUMP – 6
Am/Am points after Round 2 (Top 10)
1. Naoto TAKEDA – 43
1. Takuya SHIRASAKA – 43