Team JRM take GT3 championship lead

Team JRM take GT3 championship lead

04.06.2018: ...as the Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific customer outfit triumphs in China GT Zhejiang round

...as the Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific customer outfit triumphs in China GT Zhejiang round


Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific customer squad, Team JRM, with drivers Li Chao and Chris van der Drift, took their Porsche 911 GT3 R to victory in the second round of the China GT Championship at Zhejiang, as they moved to the top of the standings.



Qualifying saw the #911 Porsche of Van der Drift and Chao place second, while the #991 Team JRM car of Min Heng and Li Jiaqi went seventh fastest. R+ Racing’s GTC-spec Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car would start the weekend’s opening race from fourth in class.



At the beginning of the first one-hour race, contact for Chao saw the #911 car initially drop out of the top-10. The Chinese driver then mounted a stunning comeback through the field, before handing over to co-driver Van der Drift. The New Zealander continued Chao’s efforts, charging through the field to finish in third position, despite tricky wet conditions in the closing stages.



Jiaqi took the start in car #991, avoiding the early chaos and putting in a strong opening stint. At the halfway stage, Heng took over driving duties, who despite a spin caused by a GTC car, brought the 911 GT3 R home to win the AM/AM class. In the GTC category, R+ Racing took its first podium of the season, as Wang Tao and Porsche China Junior Daniel Lu finishing second.

 

After jumping from third to second at the start of race two, Chao masterfully defended second place over his stint, before Van der Drift climbed into the Porsche 911 GT3 R under a safety car. At the restart, the New Zealander climbed from fifth to second, before making his move for the lead with less than 10 minutes remaining, going on to take the team’s first win of the season.



Heng started in the sister Team JRM Porsche, joining the six-car battle for the lead. Efficient pit work by the squad put the #991 up to second with Jiaqi behind the wheel. After battling in the top-five positions, Jiaqi suffered a spin which ended the car’s race prematurely.



After a clean opening stint from Tao, a swift pit-stop for the #307 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car saw his co-driver Lu jump into the lead after the restart. The 16-year-old fought valiantly, but was unable to maintain the class lead, repeating the race one result of second place in class.




Results for the second race are provisional.


 
Alongside the China GT Championship, the Thailand Super Series continued, as the Cayman GT4 Trophy Thailand headed for the Chang International Circuit.



After competing as an invitational entry in the Blancpain GT Series Asia race earlier this year at the circuit, JWD Unixx’s Charvanin Bunditkitsada put his recent experience of the track to good use, scoring pole position for race one, ahead of the AAS Motorsport duo Kmik Karnasuta and Pasu Liptapanlop.



In the opening laps, Sepang double winner Bunditkitsada was pressured by Karnasuta, before the #9 Cayman driver made his move for the lead. Things went from bad to worse for the JWD Unixx driver soon after, as contact with a TA2 car forced him into retirement, paving the way for Karnasuta to take his first victory of the season. Second went the way of Morseng Racing’s Tusaphol Phamyai, while Pasu Liptapanlop was third.



After his accident on Saturday, Bunditkitsada was sidelined for race two, leaving Karnasuta to start from the front row alone. The AAS Motorsport driver would go on to dominate the race, with only the safety car intervention cutting his advantage during the race. Tosaphol Phamyai brought car #14 home in second, while Sontaya Kunplome took third for Racing Spirit Thailand.



 
Li Chao, Team JRM #911 Porsche 911 GT3 R, said: “The car was very good, Chris showed that by setting the fastest lap of race two. I wasn’t as quick, but I felt I did a good job defending my position.



 It was a perfect weekend for us in championship terms, as we’re now leading the standings! We’ll have 50kgs of ballast in Beijing, but the track suits the Porsche very well, so we’ll be looking to continue this good momentum.”



Chris van der Drift, Team JRM #911 Porsche 911 GT3 R, said: “It was really good to take victory in the second race, we potentially could have won the first, but unfortunately we got punted around. Li did an excellent job defending from the cars behind him, and not getting involved in the dramas further back.



 The safety car helped, leaving us in a really good fight, but when the opportunity came to take the lead I made my move. The car was great again, and I’m looking forward to the next race. Beijing was a very good track for us last season, and we’ll be competitive again this year.”



Min Heng, Team JRM #991 Porsche 911 GT3 R, said: “It was my first time at Zhejiang, but we proved to be competitive in the AM class. In race one, we stuck to our strategy and were really happy with the performance.



We’re still learning about how best to race in the series, but we’re very comfortable in the Porsche 911 GT3 R. Stepping up from my experience in the GT3 Cup car, it’s surprisingly easy to drive, and we’ll get quicker as the season goes on.”



Daniel Lu, R+ Racing #307 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, said: “We’re very happy with the progress made in the second weekend of China GT. The car performed very well and we closed the gap to the other GTC class teams.



We had a problem with the front-splitter in qualifying, which meant we didn’t have it for the races, though the track layout meant it wasn’t a major issue. Two second-places show our progress and we’re looking forward to the next race.



Alexandre Gibot, Head of Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific, said: “It’s fantastic to see Team JRM take their first victory of the China GT season in the GT3 class. Both Chris van der Drift and Li Chao did a fantastic job in their Porsche 911 GT3 R, and now lead the championship.



We were also very impressed with the performance of the crews of the #991 GT3 and #307 GTC cars, especially with Porsche China Junior Daniel Lu. The Thailand Super Series’ Porsche Cayman GT4 Trophy Thailand also proved to be fiercely competitive once again, and we’re looking forward to seeing those cars out on track again at the Bangsaen Street Circuit.”

 

The next round of the China GT Championship sees the series head to Beijing Goldenport Park Circuit (6-8 July), while the Thailand Super Series will be taking to the streets of Bangsaen, running alongside rounds four and five of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia (11-15 July).


- Anthony Peacock  photos© China GT / Thailand Super Series

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/team-jrm-gt3-championship-porsche-asia-pacific---176853.html

04.06.2018 / MaP

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