Anthony Liu and Fabian Schiller have won this weekend’s second Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia Powered by AWS race at Chang International Circuit where a three-car accident with two minutes remaining brought proceedings to an early end.
The race was immediately red flagged when Kevin Chen spun Jeffrey Lee out of second place before the recovering Mercedes-AMG was T-boned by GH – Team AAI’s other BMW driven by Junsan Chen.
The #15 M4 GT3 went on to finish second on the road but was penalised 30 seconds in lieu of a drive-through for the contact.
Basing the final result on the previous lap’s positions meant Lee and Maximilian Goetz completed Craft-Bamboo’s one-two ahead of AAS Motorsport by Absolute Racing’s Vutthikorn Inthraphuvasak and Alessio Picariello whose Success Penalty-serving Porsche led the opening stint from pole.
Phantom Pro Racing’s Ling Kang and Cao Qi also benefitted from the late drama. They were already on course to win the Silver class and score maximum Fanatec China Cup points before being elevated to fifth place behind AAI’s other reclassified BMW.
Am class victory went the way of local Thai team YK MOTORSPORTS BBR BY SUNOCO whose drivers Dechathorn Phuakkarawut and Pasarit Promsombat finished an excellent seventh overall.
The opening stint was characterised by two Full Course Yellow and subsequent Safety Car periods that prevented Picariello from building a lead that would negate some of AAS/Absolute’s 10-second Success Penalty.
The first involved Franky Cheng spinning around Dennis Lind whose stationary Climax Racing Mercedes-AMG was hit by an unsighted Alex Imperatori, before contact soon after the restart between Eshan Pieris and Dennis Olsen sent the latter’s R&B Porsche into the gravel trap.
Those incidents partly explain how Jesse Krohn and Jens Klingmann moved AAI’s BMWs from 11th and 14th to third and fourth during the first half-hour, which set the platform for what would follow after the driver changes.
Triple Eight JMR’s Mercedes-AMGs were first in after spending the opening stint inside the top-six, but #88’s chances always appeared slim thanks to the maximum 15-second Success Penalty that dropped Luca Stolz and Prince Abu Bakar Ibrahim down the order. A spin later in the race ensured Saturday’s winners failed to score a point.
A third FCY/SC period was required just as the window closed when Andrew Macpherson’s AMAC Porsche made heavy contact with the wall following a tap from R&B Racing’s #87 911. AAS/Absolute’s crew would have lost the lead anyway due to their Success Penalty, but Inthraphuvasak was now at least back in the hunt.
The Thai slotted into fifth behind new race leader Lee whose co-driver Goetz kept Picariello in sight during the first half-hour, Junsan Chen’s BMW, Liu, and AAI’s other M4 driven by Kevin Chen.
Lee initially bolted clear when the Safety Car was withdrawn but was then reeled back in again by Liu who found a way past Chen. He was soon on the back of his team-mate who appeared to make space for the lead change at the final corner with just over six minutes remaining.
Next to have a go was Kevin Chen who’d earlier passed his AAI team-mate and namesake after rebuffing Inthraphuvasak’s attacks. He was hounding Lee as the clock ticked towards the finish but misjudged his braking point and hit the Mercedes-AMG’s rear, which sent it spinning at Turn 8. Both he and Inthraphuvasak – who was up to fourth before the collision – got through unscathed, but the same couldn’t be said for Junsan Chen who was powerless to avoid Lee.
Chen’s subsequent penalty immediately dropped the car he shares with Klingmann from second to 14th.
Taking the results from the previous lap will at least come as some consolation to Lee, Goetz and Craft-Bamboo who were reinstated to second place post-race. Inthraphuvasak and Picariello leave Buriram as early championship leaders thanks to their second podium of the weekend, while Junsan Chen and Krohn were classified fourth despite their BMW failing to complete the final lap.
Phantom Pro Racing were provisionally classified third but dropped to fifth following reinstatements. Nevertheless, Ling and Cao can be happy with their Silver class and Fanatec China Cup victories after qualifying 22nd and taking the final restart from 14th.
But theirs wasn’t the only Phantom Pro Audi in the overall top-six: Chris Chia and Mikkel Mac also made significant progress from 15th on the grid to finish one place ahead of the leading Am class duo, Phuakkarawut and Promsombat.
Fanatec GT Asia continues in a month’s time at Fuji (June 16-18) where 40 cars are expected for the first of this year’s Fanatec Japan Cup-counting rounds.