2019 China GT Shanghai R5 Race Report
The afternoon race for GT3, GTC and Porsche one-make trophy class started under safety car conditions amidst inclement weather. Pole-man Eric Zang made a good start at green light and tried to pull away. However, the safety car was deployed after a lap to clear a stricken #25 GTC entry at T15.
After the restart, the grid settled as the original starting position with Zang leading #88 Jeffrey Lee and #91 Lam Yu. Ivan Lee vaulted Lin Nan for P4.
A wheel gun issue dropped the #88 behind the #90 FIST BMW during pit stop, which set Alessio Picariello off for a chase on Nick Yelloly. The duo battled for laps but in the end Picariello had to settle for third behind Yelloly after struggling for pace in the rain.
Adam Christodoulou was unchallenged after taking over from Eric Zang, and took the #63 TORO Racing AMG over the line in first.
#7 KINGS of Sun Zheng and Jiang Tengyi finished off the podium ahead of #66 of Min Heng and Lin Nan. #92 Ivan Lee and Kevin Chen encountered a technical issue during the race and finished sixth.
YCRT’s Xiao Min and John Martin finished on the top step of an all-Lamborghini podium in a race of attrition in GTC class.
Xiao Min started the race for the pole-sitting #186 Lamborghini, but dropped down to P3 fighting against more experienced drivers before the pit window.
#9’s Lawrence Liu made contact with #25’s Song Bo at the T14 hairpin. Song Bo suffered damage to his suspension and steering and retired on the spot. The #9 Eagleeyed Racing 911 Cup followed suit after retuning to the pit. Liu was blamed for the contact and was handed a five-spot grid penalty for the Sunday race.
#75’s Wang Tao lead teammates Zhou Bihuang and Xiao Min into the pit for driver change. Wang’s teammate CJ Huang led the second half of the race, until the fast running Aussie John Martin began looming large in his mirror.
Huang put on a valiant defence against the more experienced Martin, but eventually had to relinquish the lead. Zhou Bihuang and Zheng Wancheng finished P3 ahead of #998 Eagleeyed Racing’s Zhang Zhiqiang and Jeffrey Zee.
One-make Trophy Class
#69’s Daniel Lu and Jacky Wu finished the race first on the road in class but was disqualified after a technical infringement. As did the #10 Racing Team 69 Ben Rouget and Simon Chan, and #666’s Yang Ke.
This promoted the #36 RSR GT Racing Jui Yu Chien and Sun Zirui to victory ahead of #8 YCRT Wu Pei.
Rain-shortened race saw Winning Team’s Charlie Fagg and Dong Liang snatching the team’s first victory in 2019 under treacherous conditions, as a sudden downpour claimed multiple cars with over a quarter of a race to go.
A light drizzle hit the grid just as the the race started, and pole sitter Charlie Fagg managed to hold onto his position and sprint away on slick tyres. He would then pull away from the chasing pack under increasingly tricky conditions, and hand the #570 McLaren over to teammate Dong Liang with a sizeable lead.
Everyone made it safely through the T1-3 complex, but then drama hit. Championship leaders Phantom Pro Racing’s Rainey He and Chris Chia made contact at T6 hairpin, resulting in suspension damage and subsequent retirement for He. Team boss Chia pitted and plummeted down the field.
Asian Formula Renault rising star Luo Kailuo started from the back of the grid and already climbed up to second place by the end of lap 3. Ling Kang in the #86 KTM and Kennith Lim in the #49 McLaren fought Luo for position for a few laps but eventually the order settled as the race approach its half way point. The rain started to gather.
A few minutes after pit window closed, the heaven opened.
One after another, the cars - all running on Michelin slicks - started aquaplaning, and the T11 left-hander collected several cars in the aftermath. Leader Dong Liang managed through; so did second-placed Lo Sze Ho, despite skidding out wide. Then came James Cai and Wang Hao. Cai managed to rejoin the track, but Wang Hao could only sit helplessly in his Team Master Champ BMW when the sliding #619 crashed into him. Wang Hao walked away with a bruise, but Stanley Yang had more extensive injury and was subsequently taken to hospital. Sennan Fielding and Liu Kai also found themselves briefly in the T11 trap but managed to dig themselves out of the mess.
The race was declared with 15 minutes 18 seconds on the clock. Half points were awarded as the race failed to reach 75% of total duration.
With a victory, Charlie Fagg and Dong Liang took Winning Team’s best team result so far this season. They followed over the line by Xtreme Motorsports’ Ling Kang and Lo Sze Ho. #999 Team Master Champ Wang Hao was promoted to the final podium position after a post race 23-second time penalty for multiple entries who incorrectly returned to the pit lane after the red flag; #51 #68 got the same time penalty for not stop on control line per Art. 41.2.
Classified from P4 onwards were: #619 Asia Sonic Racing Stanley Yang and Zhang Fangxuan, #49 Winning Team Kenneth Lim and James Cai, #55 K2C Motorsports Sennan Fielding and Kenny Chung, #87 Xtreme Motorsports Liu Kai and Wei Tianyi, #3 Phantom Pro Yang Xi and Yan Chuang, #868 Winning Team Luo Kailuo and Lei Ke, #98 TopGun GT Robert Webb and Eric Wong, #5 Phantom Pro Racing Alex Fontana and Chris Chia, and #618 Asia Sonic Racing Yves Volte and David Pun.
A 60-second penalty was applied to #5 for insufficient pit stop time.