Audi first-timers score class podium in BGTA at Fuji
- BBT’s Anthony Liu and Davide Rizzo visit the podium
- OD Racing Team holds third position
- J-Fly shows speed but no luck
Shanghai, August 20th, 2017 – Absolute Racing serviced teams endured a tough weekend at the Fuji Speedway, the fourth round of the 2017 Blancpain GT Series Asia. Nevertheless BBT pair Anthony Liu and Davide Rizzo raced the number 37 Audi R8 LMS to a second place finish in the GT3 Pro-Am Class on Saturday’s one-hour long race.
Qualifying didn’t go quite as well as the team would hope. A red flag, caused by a GT4 car, gave drivers just six minutes to improve on their early times once the first session resumed. OD Racing’s Aditya Patel qualified ninth place, while BBT’s Liu rounded out the top ten. GT3 Pro-Am title contender Jeffrey Lee placed his car in fourteenth place, and Milestone Racing’s Sun Jingzu came home in 27th.
In Q2, Friday’s pacesetter Alessio Picariello earned the sixth fastest time with a lap of 1:40.918. OD Racing’s Mitchell Gilbert set the ninth fastest with a lap of 1:41.169 around the 4.563-kilometer, 16-turn track. Milestone Racing lead driver Cheng CongFu qualified in 14th. Driving the R8 LMS for the first time in the dry, Rizzo was only sixteenth.
On Saturday’s race, Rizzo and Liu put in a strong fight to finish second in the GT3 Pro-Am class on their first outing with the Ingolstadt-built car in the series. Following a strong first stint of Liu, the red and yellow #37 R8 LMS could have finished higher than sixth place overall. Unfortunately, when Rizzo took over the car and was overtaking a GT4 car, the driver didn’t see him come past and both cars touched. From then until the end of the race, the Italian driver had to deal with a struggling car with the toe completely set off.
The three regular Absolute Racing serviced teams endured a tough first race but showed speed. Despite dropping as low as P28 after an early spin, Patel and Gilbert in the #86 OD Racing Audi R8 LMS recovered brilliantly to eleventh place.
#7 J-Fly by Absolute drivers Lee and Picariello put in a strong drive to claim P12, after starting from P14. Lee did the start but he lost a couple of places to avoid a collision in front of him. Setting a series of fast laps, Picariello was able to get back the lost positions and gain two more places to finish 12th.
Lower down in the field, starting from 27th on the grid, #13 Milestone Racing duo CongFu Cheng and Sun Jingzu raced to a sixteenth-place finish.
In a difficult race on Sunday, OD Racing pair Patel and Gilbert closed the weekend with a tenacious 8th place. The four points earned over the weekend were enough to hold third in the GT3 Overall championship standings.
Starting from 16th on the grid, BBT crossed the finish line in 13th and seventh in the GT3 Pro-Am Class. Milestone Racing was 17th at the flag.
J-Fly by Absolute Racing Audi was forced to retire due to a gearbox issue earlier in the race while running on sixth place. Lee lies now on third in the GT3 Pro-Am championship standings.
Speaking about the weekend, Team Manager Michael Schneider said, “Fuji is always a very challenging circuit. The races were also influenced by factors, which did not lie in our hands like the gearbox issues on J-Fly’s car. Anyway BBT’s Anthony Liu and Davide Rizzo had a good premier in the series with an Audi R8 LMS. Anthony adapted extremely well and showed an impressive pace! OD Racing duo had a tough weekend, but they remain third in the overall championship standings. We will fight back strongly in Shanghai!”
Absolute Racing serviced teams now take off for China, for the first of the two Japanese consecutive double-header races. The Shanghai International Circuit weekend takes place on September 23 and 24.
ABSOLUTE RACING CHINA CO.LTD.
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