Bentley strike first in South Korea in action filled season opener
Bentley records 1-2 finish after dramatic opening leg of round one
After an epic battle over the opening laps of the first round of the 2016 GT Asia Series season, Bentley has claimed an emphatic 1-2 in South Korea, weathering an early storm from the new Lamborghini and the Craft-Bamboo Porsche of Richard Lyons.
Earlier in the day, 2015 season runner-up Adderly Fong had smashed Andrea Caldarelli’s 2014 lap record in the opening qualifier, whilst former race winner Marchy Lee stunned his rivals in qualifying#2 after displacing the most successful team in GT Asia history at Korea International Circuit [KIC] - the BBT Ferrari of Anthony Liu and Davide Rizzo.
Ultimately Bentley prevailed in the opening round with Fong’s 2015 team-mate Keita Sawa, and new driving partner Jonathan Venter claiming the win after Sawa chased down Fong’s new team-mate Andrew Kim five laps from home, but whilst the result looked good for the British built supercar, things could well have been very different if not for an early race incident between the new FFF Racing Lamborghini, and the Craft-Bamboo Porsche of Lyons.
After a rough start to the day with damage to the #88 Interush Porsche in qualifying, Lyons stormed off the start from the second row to lead into turn two. Behind him there was contact between the #55 Lamborghini of Edoardo Liberati and pole-sitter Fong, but they soon sorted things out before an error by the young Italian at turn four removed he, and race leader Lyons, from the equation.
From there it was all down to the Bentleys, with Liu and Rizzo keeping their perfect score of South Korean podiums intact with third from Piti Bhirombhakdi and Carlo Van Dam in the Singha Motorsport Ferrari 458.
In the battle for GTM honours, former champion Dilantha Malagamuwa and Armaan Ebrahim claimed the win despite some mid-race damage to the Dilango Racing Lamborghini, whilst in GTC, Bhurit Bhirombhakdi and Kantasak Kusiri took the win for Singha Plan-B Motorsport in their Ferrari 458 Challenge.
1. Venter/Sawa (Absolute Racing Bentley Continental GT3) - 28-laps
2. Fong/Kim (Absolute Racing Bentley Continental GT3) +1.858
3. Rizzo/Liu (BBT Ferrari 488 GT3) +20.531
4. Van Dam/Bhirombhakdi (Singha Motorsport Ferrari 458 Italia GT3) +33.723
5. Thong/Lee (Phoenix Racing Asia Audi R8 LMS GT3) +54.792
6. Cheng/Sun (Absolute Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3) +58.941
7. Yoong/Au (Phoenix Racing Asia Audi R8 LMS GT3) +1:17.768
8. Mok/Wee (Clearwater Racing Ferrari 488 GT3) +1:23.754
9. O’Young/Bhirombakdi (Craft Bamboo Racing Porsche GT3-R) - 27-laps
10. Sugden/Ma (GruppeM Racing Porsche GT3-R)
11. Ebrahim/Malagamuwa (Dilango Racing Lamborghini Gallardo FL2)
12. Kurisi/Bhirombhakdi (Singha Plan-B Motorsport Ferrari 458 Challenge) - 25-laps
13. Buncharoen (True Vision Motorsports Porsche 991 Cup Car)
14. Amici/Liberati (FFF Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3) - 6-laps
15. Lyons/ Yu (Craft Bamboo Racing Porsche GT3-R) - 6-laps
Craft-Bamboo Racing kicks off GT Asia title defence in Korea
Craft-Bamboo Racing taken out of the GT Asia lead in Korea