- Silverware for Fong and Vutthikorn
- Tan and Kim complete team’s first “1-2” in GT Asia Cup
- Imperatori shows speed as Han Geng learns fast
Beijing, May 13th, 2017 – Bentley Team Absolute enjoyed a successful visit to picturesque Goldenport Park Circuit in Beijing, with Adderly Fong and Vutthikorn Inthrapuvasak climbing the China GT Championship podium on Friday, helping the team to achieve the first “1-2” result in the 2017 GT Asia Cup.
Pre-race predictions that the Bentley Continental GT3 would not be suited to the short and twisty Beijing circuit were proved to be slightly unfounded on Thursday’s Qualifying session, as #88 Tilke Continental GT3 finished fourth, its #5 Tilke sister car fifth. China GT Championship qualifying consists in two 20-minute sessions. Times are then combined, with the average of both best laps the qualifying time for that car. With Han Geng taking the first steps in the sport, the #9 Hard Memory Continental qualified 13th.
In what was a clean start to Saturday’s Race, the #88 Tilke Continental GT3, with Vutthikorn Inthrapuvasak starting behind the wheel, was to be the first Bentley mover of the day, overtaking two opponents for second in the opening seconds. Kim followed the footsteps of his teammate and moved up to fourth.
Fifteen minutes into the race Vutthikorn and Kim were running on second and fourth respectively when the safety car was deployed to remove three cars from the last corner gravel trap. On the race restart Vutthikorn lost two positions and Kim also lost one place.
Fong inherited the #88 Tilke Continental GT3 in fourth and engaged full attack mode. Eventually he made the move for third in the closing stages of the race, scoring first podium of the season for Bentley Team Absolute.
Tan, meanwhile, was also kept busy behind the wheel of the #5 Tilke Continental GT3, taking a strong fifth place, while Han Geng/Imperatori came home 11th.
Fong and Vutthikorn were the first winners of the 2017 GT Asia Cup. Kim and Tan completed the “1-2” for the team.
Speaking afterwards, Vutthikorn Inthrapuvasak said “It was a very good start to the season. I did quite good start, from fourth to second, but after safety car I couldn’t maintain the tire pressure. The grip wasn’t there anymore, and I lost two places. Adderly managed to finish third and this is a good result to start the year. Thanks to the team for giving me a great car. I felt very comfortable and confident behind the wheel.”
Adderly Fong added “Very nice to be back on the podium! My teammate Vutthikorn had an excellent start, and the rest went like clockwork.”
For the final race of the weekend on Saturday afternoon, Fong/Vutthikorn qualified P2 and Kim/Tan in P3. Imperatori and Han Geng were 14th fastest.
Vutinkorn again got off to a great start and took the first position on the first corner. The Thai driver dropped to second on the second lap and then he certainly wasn’t helped by the arrival of the Safety Car right after. When the action resumed, Vutinkorn lost one more position, leaving him in third before the driver change.
An excruciating 82-second long pit stop, as per regulation, threw Fong to fifth place. The Hong Kong driver managed to climb as high as fourth and second between the GT Asia Cup participants. This result left the #88 Tilke Continental GT3 pair second in the China GT Championship standings and leading the GT Asia Cup.
The #5 Tilke Bentley Continental GT3 unfortunately slipped down to 5th place on the opening tour but Andrew Kim seemed to have the pace to recover the lost position but an early spin ruined the chances of repeating Friday’s good result. Andrew Kim and Weiron Tan had worked their way up to seventh position from P12, finishing fourth of GT Asia Cup in the process.
#9 Hard Memory Bentley Continental GT3 pair Han Geng and Alexandre Imperatori did not finish but both drivers remain positive: “I was the second fastest on pure pace in the second race and Han Geng is continuously improving. We have reasons to be looking forward to the next races”, said Imperatori.
Team Director, Ingo Matter said, “Of all the circuits on the current China GT Championship calendar, this one is our car least suited. The boys have done a fantastic job this weekend and I’m delighted with the team overall performance. We will savour these results but need to keep our heads down and carry on working hard for Ordos.”
Bentley Team Absolute returns to the China GT Championship on July 7/8 on the 3.751km Ordos International Circuit in the North-West of China.