At the end of sixty minutes of intense racing at the Korea International Circuit in Yeongam the Ferrari 488 GT3 of HubAuto Corsa with Yuya Sakamoto and Marcos Gomes finished second in Race-1 of Round 9 of the Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia.
Exciting start. At the green light, Sakamoto had to cope with a very aggressive start from Chen, but then a couple of turns later slipped past the Audi driver and, in the stretch between turns 4 and 5, got the better of Bruins, who in the meantime had been passed by Sathienthirakul. In the middle of the group, in 16th position overall and sixth in the Pro-Am, David Tjiptobiantoro’s Ferrari rose a couple of places to 13th. At the front, three drivers were within one second of each other, with a succession of faster laps allowing the Porsche, Ferrari and Mercedes to pull away from Chen’s Audi. Sakamoto put pressure on Sathienthirakul but failed to force the Thai into an error.
Slow stop. Then came the driver changes with the Japanese driver of HubAuto Corsa returning to the pit lane 32 minutes before the chequered flag to hand over to Marcos Gomes, while the 488 GT3 of T2 Motorsport pulled in three minutes later, with Rio Haryanto taking over from Tjiptobiantoro. HubAuto Corsa’s pit stop lasted six seconds longer than its rivals, so Gomes found himself behind Rahel Frey, usually in the all-woman 488 GTE crew for Kessel Racing in the European Le Mans Series, here at the wheel of the Audi R8. Gomes took two laps to overtake the Swiss, before giving chase to Hamprecht’s Porsche and Metzger’s Mercedes, who were locked in a duel. Taking advantage of a lapped car, while Haryanto’s car was forced to retire to the pits, Metzger took the race lead while Marcos pulled back into the wake of the two.
Decisive pass. A few minutes before the chequered flag, between turns 4 and 6, Gomes caught Hamprecht by surprise with a brilliant overtaking manoeuvre. With the track free ahead of him, the Brazilian tried to bridge the gap to the leader Metzger but, despite a sequence of fast laps, crossed the finish line 4.8 seconds behind.
With this result, Yuya Sakamoto is still fully in the title battle with three races to run, one of which will take place on Sunday, again at Yeongam in Korea.