Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific customers scored further Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia victories, with Panther/AAS Motorsport and ARN Racing in the Pro-Am class, as well as multiple podium finishes across the different categories.
After the disappointment of race one, which brought the #918 Porsche 911 GT3 R into the pits early after contact, Alexandre Imperatori enjoyed a great battle for position with ARN Racing’s Yuta Kamimura for the Pro-Am podium on Sunday, before working his way up to sixth overall ahead of the pit stop.
When a late safety car period began double Super Car Thailand champion Vutthikorn Inthraphuvasak ran second overall. Having safely secured the Pro-Am lead, the former Porsche Carrera Cup Asia racer was engaged in a four-car scrap for the overall win when racing resumed.
They eventually came away with second, but their Pro-Am victory solidified the championship lead and helped AAS Motorsport’s partner team Absolute Racing extend its teams’ standings advantage to 121 points.
After scoring its maiden win at Suzuka, Japanese squad ARN Racing had further success in front of its home crowd in the #8 with 2017 Super Taikyu champion Hiroaki Nagai and 2019 Porsche Japan Junior Kamimura. Victory for the second consecutive race weekend was followed up by fourth in race two, moving them up to fourth in the Pro-Am drivers’ championship.
2019 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia duo Tanart Sathienthirakul and Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific Young Professional Philip Hamprecht still lead the overall and Silver drivers’ championships despite an unlucky weekend for the #911 Absolute Racing pair.
After scoring pole position and fourth in race one, despite a five-second success penalty from their Suzuka podium, a puncture on the opening lap of Sunday’s race dropped them down the field. A sensational recovery brought them back to seventh overall and fourth in class.
The sister #912 car also suffered misfortune, as the Chinese duo of twice 2019 polesitter Yuan Bo and Leo Ye Hongli were caught up in an incident in race one and were given a drive-through penalty for exceeding track limits in race two. They came away from the weekend with a pair of sixth-place finishes in the Silver class.
The rookie team of Super GT class winner LM Corsa was second in the Am class on Sunday following its debut victory at Suzuka with the bronze Japanese duo of GT500 podium finisher Shigekazu Wakisaka and Kei Nakanishi in the #60 car.
JRM had a difficult weekend after contact forced twice overall China GT runner-up Li Chao into the pits early on Saturday. Triple Carrera Cup Asia champion Chris van der Drift made up six places in the opening stages of race two and was running third in Pro-Am, but contact resulted in a second retirement of the weekend for the #910 car.
The next Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia race will take place at the Korea International Circuit on 3-4 August.
Alexandre Imperatori, Panther/AAS Motorsport: “Once again we had a good performance over the weekend. Traffic on my qualifying lap meant I couldn’t maximise our pace and we had to start ninth, but we made ground in the opening stint. Vutthikorn drove brilliantly to get the car into the lead and then resist pressure from the silver drivers. We came up a lap short and had to settle for second overall, but secured the Pro-Am win. Thanks to the team for their hard work and fixing the car for race two, making up for Saturday’s retirement a bit. We are firmly in the hunt for the championship and looking forward to Korea.”
Tanart Sathienthirakul, Absolute Racing: “It was a tough weekend for us. I managed to put the car on pole in Q1, but we couldn’t deliver in the race. On Sunday there was an accident on the first lap, we got a puncture and had to come in to change the tyre, losing us some time. We were a bit lucky with the safety car in the end and recovered a few places. Overall I am happy with the pace, but the result here could have been better.”
Alexandre Gibot, Head of Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific: “It’s been another successful weekend of racing with the Porsche 911 GT3 R. Although it wasn’t the smoothest weekend for everyone, we have many positives to take away. Several podiums and two wins have helped to keep our cars at the top of the championship standings. This means we go into the final two rounds of the season fully focused and determined.”
Source. Porsche/Photo. SRO Motorsports Group