Climax Racing’s Zhou Bihuang and Jules Gounon converted pole position into their first GTWCA victories in the second race at the Suzuka Circuit.

By Nida Anis

The race finished under safety car conditions after Sun Jingzu rolled his Phantom Global Racing Porsche on the exit of Degner 2 with 10 minutes to go. Whilst Jingzu walked away uninjured, the car was not able to be recovered quickly enough for racing to resume.

Climax Racing’s #66 Mercedes-AMG finished just ahead of Absolute Racing’s Anthony Liu and Alessio Picariello, who charged from seventh on the grid to second by the chequered flag.

Absolute Corse received a post-race penalty in lieu of a one-second stop-and-go, promoting Origine Motorsport’s Lu Wei and Laurin Heinrich to the overall podium. As a result, championship leader Lu is just one point in fromt of Liu and Picarello ahead of the Okayama round.

Origine’s other Porsche, shared by Bob Yuan and Leo Ye Hongli, cleaned up in Silver-Am and finished in fourth overall, ahead of Triple Eight JMR and Team KRC. Behind them was FAW Audi Sport Asia’s Franky Cheng and Adderly Fong, who topped the Silver class but were unable to progress due to the safety car.

AMAC’s Andrew Macpherson and Ben Porter took victory in the Am class after maintaining the pressure on lelader David Tjiptobiantoro.

A safety-car affected race

Despite starting from pole, Gounon was overtaken by Heinrich two-thirds through the opening lap. Heinrich wasn’t able to pull as much of an advantage as he had hoped due to an early safety car period triggered by a collision between D’Station’s Aston Martin, James Yu’s Audi, and Mineki Okura on the exit of Spoon.

Henrich pulled five seconds ahead clear o Gounon before pitting, but this wasn’t enough to negate his 10-second success penalty. His co-driver Lu only rejoined in fourth, behind Zhou’s Climax Mercedes-AMG, Liu’s 911, and Andre Canard’s Absolute Corse Ferrari.

Climax Racing’s stationary #52 Mercedes-AMG triggered a short safety car period just after the pit window closed. Racing resumed with 15 minutes remaining. Liu attempted to pass Zhou, but was unsuccesful.

Meanwhile, Origine Racing’s Lu and Yuan followed Canard closely. aware of the Ferrari’s impending stop-and-go penalty. Canard was ultimately penalised post-race due to the Phantom crash preventing penalties from being served under full course yellow conditions.

Four races remain in this year’s GT World Challenge Asia season, which continues at Okayama on August 23-25.

GTWCA Suzuka race two results

GTWCA Suzuka race two overall top ten

  1. Car #66 – GT3 Pro-Am, Climax Racing, Bihuang Zhou, Jules Gounon, Mercedes-AMG GT3 EVO, 1:01:22.095, 21 Laps
  2. Car #1 – GT3 Pro-Am, Absolute Racing, Anthony Liu, Alessio Picariello, Porsche 911 GT3 R (992), 1:01:23.122, 21 Laps
  3. Car #4 – GT3 Pro-Am, Origine Motorsport, Wei Lu, Laurin Heinrich, Porsche 911 GT3 R (992), 1:01:26.027, 21 Laps
  4. Car #87 – GT3 Sil-Am, Origine Motorsport, Bob Yuan, Leo Hongli Ye, Porsche 911 GT3 R (992), 1:01:26.347, 21 Laps
  5. Car #89 – GT3 Sil-Am, Team KRC, Cunfan Ruan, Maxime Oosten, BMW M4 GT3, 1:01:27.913, 21 Laps
  6. Car #888 – GT3 Pro-Am, Triple Eight JMR, H.H. Prince Abu Bakar Ibrahim, Mikael Grenier, Mercedes-AMG GT3 EVO, 1:01:27.366, 21 Laps
  7. Car #36 – GT3 Silver, FAW Audi Sport Asia Racing Team, Franky Congfu Cheng, Adderly Fong, Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II, 1:01:28.639, 21 Laps
  8. Car #88 – GT3 Pro-Am, Craft-Bamboo Racing, Jeffrey Lee, Fabian Schiller, Mercedes-AMG GT3 EVO, 1:01:29.513, 21 Laps
  9. Car #30 – GT3 Pro-Am, Craft-Bamboo Racing, Qi Cao, Daniel Morad, Mercedes-AMG GT3 EVO, 1:01:31.201, 21 Laps
  10. Car #6 – GT3 Pro-Am, VSR, Bian Ye, Edoardo Liberati, Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo2, 1:01:31.691, 21 Laps

GTWCA Suzuka race two GT3 Pro-Am top five

  1. Car #66 – Climax Racing, Bihuang Zhou, Jules Gounon, Mercedes-AMG GT3 EVO, 1:01:22.095, 21 Laps
  2. Car #1 – Absolute Racing, Anthony Liu, Alessio Picariello, Porsche 911 GT3 R (992), 1:01:23.122, 21 Laps
  3. Car #4 – Origine Motorsport, Wei Lu, Laurin Heinrich, Porsche 911 GT3 R (992), 1:01:26.027, 21 Laps
  4. Car #888 – Triple Eight JMR, H.H. Prince Abu Bakar Ibrahim, Mikael Grenier, Mercedes-AMG GT3 EVO, 1:01:27.366, 21 Laps
  5. Car #88 – Craft-Bamboo Racing, Jeffrey Lee, Fabian Schiller, Mercedes-AMG GT3 EVO, 1:01:29.513, 21 Laps

GTWCA Suzuka race two GT3 Silver top three

  1. Car #36 – FAW Audi Sport Asia Racing Team, Franky Congfu Cheng, Adderly Fong, Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II, 1:01:28.639, 21 Laps
  2. Car #77 – Harmony Racing, Kailuo Luo, Jiatong Liang, Ferrari 296 GT3, 1:01:35.612, 21 Laps
  3. Car #911 – Absolute Racing, Tanart Sathienthirakul, Eshan Pieris, Porsche 911 GT3 R (992), 1:01:37.981, 21 Laps

GTWCA Suzuka race two GT3 Sil-Am top five

  1. Car #87 – Origine Motorsport, Bob Yuan, Leo Hongli Ye, Porsche 911 GT3 R (992), 1:01:26.347, 21 Laps
  2. Car #89 – Team KRC, Cunfan Ruan, Maxime Oosten, BMW M4 GT3, 1:01:27.913, 21 Laps
  3. Car #25 – Porsche Center Okazaki, Kiyoshi Uchiyama, Tsubasa Kondo, Porsche 911 GT3 R (992), 1:01:32.910, 21 Laps
  4. Car #44 – Vollgas-Motorsports, Mingwan Han, Jaehyun Kim, Porsche 911 GT3 R (992), 1:01:35.070, 21 Laps
  5. Car #18 – Porsche Center Okazaki, Hiroaki Nagai, Yuta Kamimura, Porsche 911 GT3 R (992), 1:01:37.275, 21 Laps

GTWCA Suzuka race two GT3 Am top three

  1. Car #51 – AMAC Motorsport, William Ben Porter, Andrew Macpherson, Porsche 911 GT3 R (991.2), 1:01:38.606, 21 Laps
  2. Car #75 – Garage 75, David Tjiptobiantoro, Christian Colombo, Ferrari 296 GT3, 1:01:40.380, 21 Laps
  3. Car #8 – EBM, Setiawan Santoso, Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3 Evo, 1:01:43.966, 21 Laps

For more coverage of the GT World Challenge Asia, stay tuned to Asian Motorsport.

Header photo credit: GT World Challenge Asia

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