- Hamprecht and Tanart score brilliant win on debut
- Inthraphuvasak and Imperatori storm to Pro/Am class win
- Olsen and Bo were ‘kings’ in qualifying
Absolute Racing’s Porsche teams made a strong start to the Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia season with a one-two finish in the second race at the Sepang International Circuit.
Absolute Racing has made the perfect start to its Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia campaign by claiming pole positions for both of this weekend’s races after its #912 Porsche 911 GT3-R shared by Yuan Bo and Dennis Olsen set the fastest times in both 15-minute qualifying sessions earlier on Saturday.
Bo made a 2m04.883s lap in Q1, 0.166s faster than the best-placed Silver-graded driver, Tanart Sathienthirakul, whose time was good enough to secure Absolute Racing’s Porsches a front row lock-out. Panther/AAS Motorsport’s Vutthikorn Inthraphuvasak set a brilliant third fastest.
It was once again all about Absolute Racing’s #912 Porsche in GT3’s second 15-minute session. Olsen posted 2m03.934s, 0.180s quicker than Panther/AAS Motorsport’s Alexandre Imperatori. Philip Hamprecht qualified the #911 Porsche 911 GT3-R in sixth.
It was a hectic season opener for the Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia with plenty of thrills and spills over the first 60-minute race. The three Absolute Racing-run Porsche 911 GT3 R cars didn’t walk away unscathed. Even so, Bo and Olsen were sixth at the flag, fourth in the Pro/Am class, while Tanart and Hamprecht finished eight overall and fourth in the Silver Cup category, one place ahead of Inthraphuvasak and Imperatori who were fifth in the Pro/Am class.
The Chinese team Porsche armada was keen to bounce back on Sunday, and it did it in style. The #911 Porsche 911 GT3 R of Tanart and Hamprecht took a narrow victory to close off the opening weekend of the season. Imperatori took the lead from Olsen, who started from pole but dropped to third on the first lap that was followed by a brief Safety Car period. Hamprecht circulated in fourth when he passed the car to his teammate Tanart who managed to exit the pits in second after the compulsory pit-stop, just behind Inthraphuvasak.
Tanart overtook his compatriot with just five minutes to go, finishing 0.8 seconds clear of Pro-Am winners Inthraphuvasak and Imperatori in the #918 Panther/AAS Motorsport entry. Olsen and Bo finished tenth overall and fifth of the Pro/Am class. Unfortunately, due to an unexpected driver rating change for Bo, the #912 Porsche 911 GT3 R pair received an extra 35-second pit-stop handicap penalty in both races, which prevented them to do better than that.
Fabien Fior, Team Manager of Absolute Racing, said: “We’ve put a lot of effort into winter testing preparation and it paid off today. We had said we were aiming for race wins and I am pleased we have reached this first objective. The team had a strong start in qualifying with our Porsche 911 GT3-R cars topping the timesheets. Race one didn’t go as planned, but today we showed our true pace. We ended the weekend on the top of the championship standings, and we will fight hard to stay there. We can see that we have a solid basis to work from, now we need to keep our heads down and work hard to improve further.”
Sathienthirakul and Hamprecht head to Thailand with a one-point lead in the Overall championship standings. The Thai-German duo sits first also in the Silver Cup category as Inthraphuvasak and Imperatori lead the Pro/Am class. Absolute Racing sits in first in the Teams’ standings.
The battle for the Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia title resumes next month, this time at Buriram’s 4.4km Chang International Circuit from May 10 to 12.
#911 Absolute Racing
Tanart Sathienthirakul/Philip Hamprecht
Race 1: P8 (4th Silver Cup)
Race 2: P1 (1st Silver Cup)
#912 Absolute Racing
Dennis Olsen/Yuan Bo
Race 1: P6 (4th Pro/Am)
Race 2: P10 (5th Pro/Am)
#918 Panther/AAS Motorsport
Vutthikorn Inthraphuvasak/Alexandre Imperatori
Race 1: P9 (5th Pro/Am)
Race 2: P2 (1st Pro/Am)
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