Start of the 2018 GT Asia Series and Thailand Super Series kicked off in style for Absolute Racing serviced teams, who finished 1-2-3 in both races, monopolizing the podium at the Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia.
The China based team had entered three Audi R8 LMS and a Porsche 997 GT3-R in the race, and had provided technical support to a Bentley Continental GT3 and an Audi R8 Ultra GT3.
The strong showing of the Absolute Racing-run teams started in qualifying with Adderly Fong (Audi R8 LMS) and Tanart Sathienthirakul (Porsche 997 GT3-R) sharing pole positions, and continued later on the day.
Starting from the front row for Saturday’s race, and taking advantage of a slow getaway by the pole-sitter, est Cola by AAS Motorsport Bentley Continental GT3 of Kantadhee Kusiri and Vutthikorn Inthraphuvasak delivered a flawless performance at the top of the 26-lap race. Not even a Safety-Car period to remove a stricken car could spoil the first win of the season party for the Thailand “Bentley Boys”.
Sun Jingzu and Cheng Congfu crossed the line in second after Sun won a see-saw battle with Bhurit Bhirombhakdi in the dying stages of the race. Kantasak Kusiri and Bhirombhakdi finished third overall after an impressive run from seventh place in the grid, posting the fastest lap of the race on the way.
Adderly Fong and Vincent Floirendo of EN Sport by Absolute Racing crossed the line in sixth. The Hong Kong driver had started in pole, but lost two places when the lights went green, before clawing back a position to be running second. After the driver changeover the two-time Philippine GT champion Floirendo battled well in his first race back after more than a year out of motorsport.
Sunday’s race saw Bhirombhakdi and Kusiri converting their second row start into a race win. The Singha Plan B Motorsport by Absolute Racing duo run the first half of the race close to the leaders, coming out in first after the compulsory pit-stop round. Once in front, the #90 Audi R8 LMS never looked back, holding the top spot, leaving Sepang just two points shy from the GT Asia Series championship-leaders.
Showing a solid pace once again, Kusiri and Vutthikorn finished second overall, taking the second victory of the weekend in the Tahiland Super Series. The Continental GT3 duo is leading the GT Asia Series championship standings after two rounds.
Fong and Floirendo improved their pace from Saturday’s race, claiming the last podium position. Cheng Congfu crossed the line just behind in fourth following strong stints again from himself and compatriot Sun.
Tanart Sathienthirakul hadn’t the best of luck this weekend. The est Cola Racing Team Porsche 997 GT3 R showed promising speed but did not finish race one due to an engine issue. Starting from pole-position for Sunday’s race, Tanart led the first half of the race but his car caught fire during the pit stop. Fortunately Absolute Racing crew was very quick to put out the flames and the Thai driver still managed to finish in sixth.
Fifth in GTM+ class rounded off a strong start for B-Quick Racing Team Audi R8 Ultra GT3, who receives technical support from Absolute Racing. Daniel Bilski and Henk Kiks were ninth and eight overall at the flag in the first and second race, respectively.
Team Director, Ingo Matter, said, “This was a memorable weekend for the team. Thanks to everyone involved. There is still a long way to go this season, but today we can be very happy, knowing that each and everyone in the team has done their very best. With so long away from racing, it was great to have Vincent back in the car, scoring a much-deserved podium. One last word on Bhurit’s performance, a driver who has been impressing us with his commitment and dedication, earning a fully merited win on Sunday. Now we will start to prepare for the next race, I hope we can keep the momentum going.”
GT Asia Series and Thailand Super Series continue on the 2nd and 3rd of June at Buriram International Circuit in Thailand.
Round 1 Results:
1. K.Kusiri/V. Inthraphuvasak/Bentley Continental GT3/est Cola by AAS Motorsport
2. C.Congfu/Sun JZ/Audi R8 LMS/Absolute Racing
3. K.Kusiri/B.Bhirombhakdi/Audi R8 LMS/Singha Plan B Motorsport by Absolute Racing
6. A.Fong/V.Floirendo/Audi R8 LMS/EN Sport by Absolute Racing
9. D.Bilski/H.Kiks/Audi R8 Ultra/B-Quick Racing
DNF. T. Sathienthirakul/Porsche 911 GT3-R/est Cola Racing Team
Round 2 Results:
1. K.Kusiri/B.Bhirombhakdi/Audi R8 LMS/Singha Plan B Motorsport by Absolute Racing
2. K.Kusiri/V. Inthraphuvasak/Bentley Continental GT3/est Cola by AAS Motorsport
3. A.Fong/V.Floirendo/Audi R8 LMS/EN Sport by Absolute Racing
4. C.Congfu/Sun JZ/Audi R8 LMS/Absolute Racing
6. T. Sathienthirakul/Porsche 911 GT3-R/est Cola Racing Team
8. D.Bilski/H.Kiks/Audi R8 Ultra/B-Quick Racing