Blancpain GT Asia heads to Buriram
Aditya Patel and Mitchell Gilbert will be aiming to defend their championship lead as Blancpain GT Series Asia campaign continues at Chang International Circuit this weekend. After becoming the Blancpain GT Series Asia’s first-ever race winner, the OD Racing crew will be eager to continue that form in Thailand.
Their biggest rivals could once again come GruppeM Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3s, second and fifth in the Drivers’ standings. Raffaele Marciello starred at Sepang as super-sub for full-season driver Maxi Buhk who joins Hunter Abbott for the first time. Two storming recovery drives helped Abbott finish second and fourth in Malaysia, and with no pitstop success penalty hanging over the crew another strong result should be expected in Race 1.
Anthony Liu and Davide Rizzo claimed a dominant victory in Race 2 at Sepang, but are only joint-third in the standings – 18 points behind Patel and Gilbert – after their Ferrari 488 GT3 car suffered a DNF in the weekend’s opening race. BBT’s drivers must now overcome the maximum 10-second pitstop success penalty at Buriram if they’re to score heavily once again.
Joining them and Patel/Gilbert in Buriram’s Race 1 pitstop success penalty bracket are Marchy Lee and Shaun Thong Wei Fung. The Audi Hong Kong duo, whose consistent approach at Sepang helped them score the same points as Liu and Rizzo, must remain stationary for an additional five seconds during their mandatory driver change.
Elsewhere, GruppeM’s second crew of Tim Sugden and Jules Szymkowiak lie fifth in the points, while the likes of Alex Yoong and Martin Rump – both of whom recently enjoyed strong starts to their Audi R8 LMS Cup campaigns – will be hoping to bounce back from a promising but ultimately luckless initial Blancpain GT Series Asia outing.
Thailand boasts a rich motorsport history and no less than seven of its drivers will be on Blancpain GT Series Asia’s grid this weekend. The single-event entries of Singha Motorsport Team Thailand’s Voravud Bhirombhakdi and Singha Plan-B Motorsport’s Bhurit Bhirombhakdi and Kantasak Kusiri were announced last week, but they’re also joined by Et Cola Thailand’s Vutthikorn Inthraphuvasak who shares a Porsche 991 GT3 R with France’s Maxime Jousse. Sarun Sereethoranakul, Naiyanobh Bhirombhakdi and Sandy Stuvik complete this weekend’s Thai contingent.
Meanwhile, the all-Porsche GT4 class proved incredibly competitive in Sepang, and there’s no reason to expect anything less this weekend. Craft-Bamboo Racing’s Jean Marc Merlin and Frank Yu, and EKS Motorsports’ Eric Lo and Byron Tong scored a victory and second place apiece to leave both crews tied at the top of the Drivers’ standings heading to Thailand.
Ringo Chong and Alan Yeo completed both Sepang podiums, but they’ll need to finish in the top-two this weekend if they’re to become serious championship contenders, while the likes of Jeremy Wang and Keo Chang, and Tony Fong and Terence Tse will be eager to score their maiden Blancpain GT Series Asia rostrum.