Origine Motorsport’s Silver-Am duo of Leo Ye and Yuan Bo snatched overall victory in the first GT World Challenge Asia race at Fuji while a pair of Lamborghinis from VSR completed the podium.

By Steven Walton

Drama unfolded before GT World Challenge Asia’s 60-minute race got underway on Saturday afternoon, with the pole-sitting #888 Triple Eight JMR Mercedes peeling into the pits on the formation lap. It did not rejoin the race.

This meant Franky Cheng in the #36 Audi Sport Asia Racing Team car led away at the start. Cheng held onto the lead throughout the opening stint.

Origine Motorsport’s #87 Porsche ran second early in the race with Yuan Bo at the wheel. He was able to keep pace with race leader Cheng.

Cheng and Yuan sprinted away in the first stint, building a gap of nearly 20 seconds to third-placed Eshan Pieris, who drives the #911 Absolute Racing Porsche.

Pieris spent much of the first stint defending third place.

When the pit window opened, Yuan brought the #87 Porsche in immediately, handing the car over to Leo Ye. The race-leading #36 Audi stopped later, with Cheng handing his car to Adderly Fong.

Emerging from the pits, Ye in the #87 had the advantage and passed Fong in the #36 Audi to snatch away the effective race lead.

The #36 Audi, which won a race in Sepang and finished on the podium in Buriram, did not make it to the end of the Fuji race. Fong slowed on the main straight with about 20 minutes to go and the car eventually stopped on track and retired.

There was a scare in the final minutes of the race for race leader Ye in the #87 Porsche, with part of his car’s floor appearing to come loose.

Still, this issue didn’t stop Ye and he brought the car home for not only overall victory but top honours in the Silver-Am class too.

The retirement of the #36 Audi handed the VSR Lamborghini team a double podium.

The team’s #6 car, driven by Bian Hao and Edoardo Liberati, finished second, followed in third by the #63 car of Zhou Bihuang and Marco Mapelli.

Vutthikorn Inthraphuvasak and Joel Eriksson finished fourth in the #93 Phantom Global Racing Porsche, followed in fifth by Anthony Liu and Alessio Picariello in the #1 Absolute Racing Porsche.

Another GT World Challenge Asia race takes place at Fuji on Sunday at 11am local time (2am GMT).

Header image credit: GT World Challenge Asia/SRO Motorsports Group

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