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Round 11 Race Report – Zhejiang

2017-10-14

D2’s CJ Huang crowned GTC Drivers’ Champion with one race to spare by taking fifth victory of the 2017 season.


Aided by Belgian star Dries Vanthoor, Kings Racing’s Xu Jia extended his GT3 championship lead to 17 points against title rivals JRM’s Li Chao and Chris van der Drift, who finished P2 ahead of D2’s Kuo Kuo Hsin and Maxx Ebenal.


CJ Huang struggled in the wet in the opening laps but the championship leader quickly put his game face back on to take the chequered flag ahead of Xtreme Motorsports Billy Lo and Thomas Ashton. JRM’s Bian Hao and Will Bamber finished a distant third after struggling with reliability issues all weekend.


Stanley Yang continued his winning streak since Round 9 in Chengdu and took victory alongside Briton Jack Mitchell. Anthony Chan and Dominic Ang’s Team Lotus entry put in a commanding performance in the second half of the race, but could not finish ahead of the #618 Aston Martin by the 60 minute mark. Zhou Yong and Max Wiser completed a 1-3 finish for China Equity AMR, putting the team much closer to Teams’ Championship title rival The Winning Team.


GT3

 


A light drizzle started to fall on the track just before the joint GT3 and GTC race, sending several teams scrambling for Pirelli wets.


After two laps behind the Safety Car, pole man Xu Jia led his way into Turn 1. However, the GT3 points leader braked too hard and unfortunately spun, dropping him to the back of the field. The race now has Xu’s teammate Wang Liang leading the pack, but not too long before the #08 Audi repeated the same feat and conceded the lead to the AMG of Kuo Kuo Hsin.


Xu Jia is now on a mission to regain his position and extend the championship lead at penultimate round of China GT. The four-time GT3 winner soon managed to find grip on a slippery Zhejiang track and took back P1 before the pit stop window, with D2’s Kuo and JRM’s Li Chao following in close succession.


A shorter pit stop time saw Maxx Ebenal in the Mercedes AMG coming out of the pit just ahead of Xu’s teammate Dries Vanthoor. A multi-lap squabble over top spot ensued, giving the 911 Porsche of Chris van der Drift an opportunity to pump in several fastest laps and close in on the leaders. Unfortunately for the young Canadian, he was forced to run wide to get around a beached GTC Lamborghini at Turn 1, allowing the New Zealander to snatch second spot.


After the Safety Car restart, van der Drift soon caught the front-running Vanthoor but the Belgian managed to hold him at bay, and cross the finish line to take fifth victory for Xu Jia. Ebenal fended off challenge from a charging Martin Rump towards the closing laps of the race to take the second podium for D2 Racing.


Martin Rump managed to close a significant gap left by teammate’s unfortunately spin at the beginning of the race, partly thanks to the Safety Car, to take fourth. Finishing fifth and sixth are the remaining Kings entries of Xu Wei and Ling Kang, and Yang Yuan.

 


GTC

 

Championship leader CJ Huang had a difficult time negotiating the increasingly slippery Zhejiang circuit in the opening laps, and dropped several positions after two spins. Pole sitting Huang Yiqing in the sole Audi R8 LMS also struggled to defend his position, and was challenged by the fast approaching rivals Thomas Ashton in the #68 Xtreme Motorsports Radical, Pan Chao in the #777 JRM Porsche and CJ Huang in succession.


Experienced Radical driver Thomas Ashton swapped out Billy Lo for first stint last minute, and quickly mounted a formidable threat against the rivals from the back of the grid. He led the pack only a few laps in. Pan Chao was able to take the fight to the Audi for P2, but was unfortunately handed a drive through penalty which dropped him back down the order. CJ Huang managed to fight back lost positions and passed the TSRT driver on the main straight to snare P1 just ahead of the pit window.


The Safety Car bunched up the field and gave CJ Huang an opportunity to pass the Radical of Billy Lo after the restart. He managed to keep the lead until the finish line and secure the GTC Drivers’ Championship with one round to go.


The TSRT Audi fielded by Italian Matteo Cressoni looked likely to complete for the GTC podium, but suffered a late mechanical issue and had to retire from the race. Bian Hao and Will Bamber finally caught a lucky break and finished on the podium, after being nearly a lap down and a series of unfortunate events that saw the pair starting from the back of the grid.


Pan Chao and Andrew Tang of JRM finished fourth ahead of the Radical of Song Bo and Dominic Ang. The two JRMs of Zheng Hui, and Xiao Min and Shang Lei completed the top seven.

 

GT4

 

China Equity AMR’s Stanley Yang started on his third consecutive pole in dry condition. The Taiwan-born driver soon pulled away from the rest of the pack in the opening stint, and eventually gave teammate Jack Mitchell a formidable 40-second lead the Briton would then hold on to towards the end.


Yang’s teammate Zhou Yong qualified P3 but had to start a further three places down due to a grid penalty. The renowned rally driver had struggled with rolling start, but fought his way up the grid and handed the car to teammate Max Wiser in P3.


The Winning Team’s David McIntyre was quick in the opening lap and was soon on the tail of Anthony Chan in the #28 Lotus Evora. However, an on-and-off electronic issue has affected the McLaren’s performance, and allowed Chan to take back McIntyre’s hard-fought P2 on the straight, then further dropped the #570 back to P5.


Chan’s teammate Dominic Ang came out of the pit in P4 behind the #86 KTM of Chen Yinian and Ling Kang. The Malaysian mounted an aggressive campaign, putting in the fastest lap in the GT4 race with a time of 1:33.246, beating Wiser’s second best by 1.2s and his own qualifying times by close to a second. Ang passed Ling’s Xtreme Motorsports KTM on the start/finish straight and then Wiser’s Aston Martin at Turn 16 six laps later. With his stunning lap times, Ang had the pace to take the fight to the leading Mitchell. However, the unassailable lead created by Stanley Yang had helped the British GT star sail to victory.


Ling Kang and Chen Yinian’s KTM crossed the finish line fourth ahead of a troubled Roelof Bruins. Sam Lok and Clement Li’s #36 Team Lotus had issues since qualifying and finished in sixth place. ZIA FEA’s Yang Zhiyi alongside Adderly Fong, and Yin Jinge and Zhang Dongqi took home some points in seventh and eighth.



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