Absolute Racing’s Porsche camp celebrated another win in the 2019 Blancpain GT World Challenge as Panther/AAS Motorsport’s Vutthikorn Inthraphuvasak and Alexandre Imperatori won the at the Chang International Circuit in Thailand.
- Panther/AAS Motorsport duo wins on home turf
- Podium finish for Sathienthirakul/Hamprecht
- Podium denied to Bo/Lester
Tanart Sathienthirakul and Philip Hamprecht once again had reasons to rejoice as they finished second in race one. Yuan Bo and Jono Lester put up an exceptional performance over the weekend that went unrewarded with an equal amount of good fortune in race two.
Saturday morning qualifying one saw Sathienthirakul and Bo locking out the second row for the Absolute Racing’s Porsche armada. Inthraphuvasak placed the Thai Porsche in sixth.
Imperatori was the third fastest in the second qualifying session, while Hamprecht, who saw two laps disallowed for exceeding track limits, qualified the #911 car in eight. Absolute Racing new recruit Lester was P14 but the Kiwi also had one lap time disallowed for exceeding track limits.
The first race of the weekend took place Saturday afternoon. From fourth on the grid, #911 driver Sathienthirakul made a textbook first lap, moving to first, and from there the Thai never looked like losing the lead. His advantage peaked at nearly six seconds before passing the car to his teammate. With a 15 second Pitstop Success Penalty, Hamprecht re-joined in second eight seconds behind the leader. The German held off the pressure from Audi Sport Asia Team Absolute’s Martin Rump to take a much-deserved second place finish.
The #912 driven by Lester and Bo finished fifth. Bo drove most of his stint in third but a slow pit stop cost them a few seconds and precious track position at the switch-over.
#918 Panther/AAS Motorsport entry race was hampered by a puncture in the opening lap, finishing down in 18th.
Race two took place on Sunday morning. Starting from third on the grid, Imperatori ran a clean stint, handing off the car to local hero Inthraphuvasak in third. Absolute Racing decision to pit a lap earlier meant Inthraphuvasak was up to speed by the time the others re-joined the track, which proved decisive when moving up to first after three laps. Once at the front, he set his own pace, managing a comfortable margin of 10-seconds to the second. However the Safety-Car was called out to remove a stranded car with ten minutes to go.
The race resumed with five minutes remaining, and Inthraphuvasak had the ability to hold off the pressure of Bo, who was on ‘full attack’ mode as soon as he hit the track. After starting from P14 on the grid, he and Jono Lester, who climbed five positions on his stint, were denied a podium when their car was found to be underweight post-race.
Further back, Saturday’s race winners Hamprecht and Sathienthirakul had a puncture at the race start. After being forced to an unscheduled pit stop, the #912 duo completed a spectacular recovery from P29 to tenth overall and fifth in the Silver Cup class.
After this weekend in Thailand’s Buriram Province, Absolute Racing is leading the Teams’ standings as Hamprecht and Sathienthirakul are third in the GT3 Overall standings. The #912 pair sits second in the Silver Cup class as Bo and Lester are ninth. Sunday PRO/AM class victory moved Inthraphuvasak and Imperatori to second in the class standings.
The battle for the Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia title resumes next month, this time at Japan’s Suzuka International Racing Course from June 21 to 23.
Fabien Fior (Team Manager): “We are really happy with the overall performance of the team and less happy with happened to Bob and Jono in race two. That is something unacceptable from us and it shows how important it is to get every last detail right in order to win. The drivers did work really well under a lot of pressure and our Porsche 911 GT3-R cars have been perfectly reliable. Now we’ll just have to go to Suzuka next month and show what we know we can do.”
#912 Yuan Bo: “Of course I’m disappointed for what have happened but we all know mistakes can happen. This was my first time on the podium in the Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia, and we really deserved it. My teammate have done a great job and handed me the car in tenth place. I pushed hard, moving up eight positions to second place overall. The team gave me a very good car this weekend, and we look forward to continuing our efforts in the next round in Japan.”
#912 Jono Lester: “It was a shock to hear of our post-race exclusion, after such a complete performance by all the team in rising from 14thon the grid to the second step of the podium. Of course I’m disappointed – more so for Bo who drove like a rockstar in the closing stint. This just means we’ll just have to come back and go one better at Suzuka! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my first weekend with Absolute Racing and don’t expect today’s result to impact on the future results we can achieve together with the new Porsche 911 GT3-R.”
#918 Vutthikorn Inthraphuvasak: “First of all I have to say thanks to the team, who gave us a good car this weekend, and to Alex, who brought the car nicely and in a very good position in race two. In my stint I managed to overtake two cars, but I didn’t expect the Safety-Car. It didn’t really fit to our plan as we had a big gap.I had to focus to keep my pace at the end. The team is doing a great job, I’m feeling very comfortable with the team, with the car. Everything seems to work and we are on top of our game.”
#918 Alexandre Imperatori: “I’m stoked that we managed to score victory in our home race and it’s great to come back strong after the misfortune on Saturday. We drove a very solid race and I would like to thank my teammate for a great drive and the team for giving us a strong car all weekend long. Hopefully we can maximize the whole weekend in the future but we are definitely in the game.”
RACE WEEKEND RESULTS:
#911 Absolute Racing
Tanart Sathienthirakul/Philip Hamprecht
Race 1: P2 (2ndSilver Cup)
Race 2: P10 (5thSilver Cup)
#912 Absolute Racing
Dennis Olsen/Yuan Bo
Race 1: P5 (5thPro/Am)
Race 2: DQ
#918 Panther/AAS Motorsport
Vutthikorn Inthraphuvasak/Alexandre Imperatori
Race 1: P18 (11thPro/Am)
Race 2: P1 (1stPro/Am)
Photos courtesy of Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific
Buriram (Thailand), 12thof June 2019,
Yuan Bo and Jono Lester have been stripped of their second place overall and Silver Cup race win in today’s Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia Round 4 at the Chang International Circuit, Thailand.
The #912 Absolute Racing car was excluded from the standings after the race for being underweight at post race scrutineering.
The Absolute Racing team apologizes unreservedly to the drivers that performed a flawless race and much-deserved the result.
The team sincerely hopes to put this setback behind and focus constructively in the races to come.