Shanghai, October 16th, 2017 – OD Racing pair Aditya Patel and Mitch Gilbert started off the weekend with an outside chance of clinching the title and they did everything they needed to be done. Patel and Gilbert won both Blancpain GT Series Asia races at the Zhejiang International Circuit, finishing one point shy of the title on a very wet race weekend.
Going into the season’s final weekend in third place in the Drivers Championship, 28 points shy of fellow Audi R8 LMS GT3 runners Marchy Lee and Shaun Thong, the OD Racing pair needed to be on top form again. On Friday’s Qualifying they showed their true colors, with Patel conquering the second place for race one grid and Gilbert taking the fifth pole-position of the season for Absolute Racing serviced teams in the series in the second qualifying session.
The two other Audi R8 LMS serviced by the Absolute Racing technical crew once again showed strong pace in Qualifying. J-Fly by Absolute Racing’s Jeffrey Lee and Alessio Picariello qualified P13 and P3. Milestone Racing did not disappointed too. Franky Cheng qualified fourth for race two and team-mate Sun Jingzu qualified his blue Audi in tenth for the opening race.
Absolute Racing enjoyed an excellent opening race, which started behind the safety car due to treacherous weather conditions, with Patel immediately dispatching polesitter for the lead and then set about establishing a gap to negate the five-second-success penalty. Gilbert carried on Patel’s good work after taking over the #86 Audi R8 LMS in the second stint. Crossing the line with almost a six-second-lead, the Indo-Malaysian duo celebrated a hard-earned return to the top step of podium with their second win of the season.
The result saw them reduce their championship deficit to 15 points ahead of the season finale.
Not only Absolute Racing prepared cars won the race, but also shined in the GT3 Pro-Am Class. Milestone Racing pair Franky Cheng Congfu/Sun Jingzu finished the race sixth overall and second in the GT3 Pro-Am Class, getting the best result of the season.
Following a superb stint of Alessio Picariello, J-Fly by Absolute Racing returned to Pro-Am class podium. Lee have passed the #7 Audi R8 LMS over to Picariello in thirteenth and the young Belgian driver made his way up to seventh, third in the GT3 Pro-Am Class.
Sunday was the day of all decisions. To conquer the crown, the OD Racing duo needed to win and their opponents to finish fifth or lower. Starting from the pole-position and behind the safety-car, due to the equally treacherous conditions, Gilbert went wide at T1 and gave away the lead, but did well not to fall too far behind. Patel took over from Gilbert in the second stint and started charging down the leader car, until it spun and gifted the Asian duo a much-deserved victory.
However, with Hunter Abbott finishing the race in fourth place, they had to settle for the second place in the championship, a single point away from the title.
Further back in the field, Lee and Picariello rounded off the top-10 overall but the fourth place in the GT3-Am field was sufficient for Lee to claim the third position in the class. Picariello, who claimed three overall pole positions this season but missed the opening round of the championship in Malaysia, finished fifth in the GT3 Pro-Am class standings.
Cheng and Sun concluded the weekend with a twelfth place finish overall and fifth position in the GT3 Pro-Am class. The Chinese racers end the season in 7th place of their category.
Team Manager Michael Schneider, said “This weekend we made history in the Blancpain GT Series Asia, no other team ever won both races! We had a great result this weekend, not only with Aditya and Mitchell in their OD Racing car, but also with our other two entries, which finished both in the ProAm class podium. We end the season with a strong result – the most we’ve scored at any race this season. This strong result is the ideal way to conclude the most successful season in the team’s GT racing history. The cars have been working perfectly and the team and drivers have done a fantastic job to deliver a competitive performance over the whole year. I’d also like to thank the whole team for all their hard work during this year, it’s been great!”
The 2018 Blancpain GT Series Asia season gets underway at the Sepang International Circuit on April 14/15.