Liu and Rizzo take the new Ferrari 488 to victory in Thailand
BBT Ferrari duo claim a hard fought victory
After Audi’s Marchy Lee and Shaun Thong put an end to the Bentley domination of the GT Asia Series during the opening race at Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Ferrari opened their ledger in race two, with Anthony Liu and Davide Rizzo claiming an emotional victory over 2015 Thailand winner Duncan Tappy.
The fourth round of the championship was certainly a race of two halves, after an issue on circuit forced a lengthy Safety Car intervention mid-race, which all but destroyed the chances of points leader Jonathan Venter, as co-driver Fabian Hamprecht was unable to complete his compulsory pit stop until after the Safety Car returned to pit lane.
Ultimately a lengthy stop - by virtue of the parity penalty they endured for dominating the opening round in South Korea - eliminated the duo from contention, dropping Venter back behind new points leaders Liu and Rizzo in the standings.
In the GTC class, the battle continued between Porsche and Ferrari, and despite the performance deficit that the Maranello built machines felt they suffered, it was the turn of the prancing horse in round four, 2015 race winner Voravud Bhirombhakdi and new team-mate Tin Sritrai taking a popular win over the second of the Singha Motorsport backed cars - points leaders Bhurit Bhirombhakdi and Kantasak Kusiri.
What the drivers had to say...
1. Anthony Liu (#37 BBT Ferrari 488 GT3): “I’m ecstatic.. We’ve been pretty much on the back foot with the BoP, the Ferrari has been too slow. We came here, we saw the BoP had been rebalanced, so we had a chance, but they notified me that I’d been upgraded to silver again, despite the FIA classification, so that gave us an extra 12-seconds, so we had to drive like superman to qualify for race two, and had to drive like a slow man in race one to maximise our chances.”
1. Davide Rizzo (#37 BBT Ferrari 488 GT3): “It was a bit difficult after the pit stop to get into the rhythm. I knew also that we had a short time to the end of the race, and they were telling me to push because the Bentley was coming, so that’s what I did. Anthony gave me the car with a nice advantage at the front, but the Safety Car ruined our plans and we had to start do everything again.”
2. Duncan Tappy (#9 Bentley Team Absolute Bentley Continental GT3): “I think we can be very happy. We’ve come together [Tappy and Vutthikorn] to race at the very last minute and collected two podiums. Vutthi has done a really, really good job - he’s been really fast and sensible and stayed out of trouble, he handed me the car in a good position. We managed to get our pit stop in at the right time, then there was a bit of confusion when the Safety Car was out about where we were, but I thought it could play into our hands a bit and it did. We were sitting in a good position and I passed a couple of guys to get onto terms with Rizzo. I tracked him down, but couldn’t quite get there.”
2. Vutthikorn Inthrapuvasak (#9 Bentley Team Absolute Bentley Continental GT3): “I was very lucky to find a way through the incident at turn one. After that I was up to P4, but defending all the time. I pretty much did all the defending while Duncan did all the hunting, so it’s a pretty good combination [laughs].”
3. Andrea Amici (#55 FFF Racing Team by ACM Lamborghini Huracan GT3): “I was second into the first corner, then touched the leader going into the second corner, but after that the Ferrari was faster. We pushed as hard as we could, but for the moment, we are at the limit. During the Safety Car we lost a little time, but overall we’re very happy.”
3. Edo Liberati (#55 FFF Racing Team by ACM Lamborghini Huracan GT3): “We tried to take advantage today by saving two sets of tyres for this second race. I had quite good pace, but still with new tyres I could not catch the others and the Bentley was 5-10kph faster in a straight line, so I couldn’t defend. Andrea [Amici] did a fantastic start and he pushed like crazy to catch the Ferrari.”
1. Voravud Bhirombhakdi (#89 Singha Team Thailand Ferrari 458 Challenge GTC): “Today’s result may be down to motivation I suppose. The start was okay, I was alongside the Porsche, but there was an incident in turn one - he went on the outside, and I went on the inside to avoid it. I was then able to pass him at turn three after he went wide, so after that we were leading so we just pushed as hard as possible. I managed to make the gap two or three seconds, then just managed that gap until the pit stop. The stop went well - a lot better than yesterday - then Tin [Sritrai] took the wheel and finished the race. I’m very happy, for myself and the team and it’s great to be back on the podium.”
Chang International Circuit, Buriram, Thailand (12 June)
1. 37. Liu/Rizzo (BBT Ferrari 488 GT3) - 32-laps
2. 9. Inthraphuvasak/Tappy (Absolute Racing Bentley Continental GT3)
3. 55. Amici/Liberati (FFF Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3)
4. 12. Bhirombhakdi/Van Dam (Singha Motorsport Ferrari 458 Italia GT3)
5. 6. Au/Yoong (Phoenix Racing Asia Audi R8 LMS GT3)
6. 98. Richardson/Sugden (GruppeM Racing Porsche GT3-R)
7. 88. Yu/Lyons (Craft Bamboo Racing Porsche GT3-R)
8. 7. Fong/Kim (Absolute Racing Bentley Continental GT3)
9. 91. Bhirombakdi/O’Young (Craft Bamboo Racing Porsche GT3-R)
10. 5. Lee/Thong (Phoenix Racing Asia Audi R8 LMS GT3)
11. 8. Hamprecht/Venter (Absolute Racing Bentley Continental GT3)
12. 89. Bhirombhakdi/Sritra (Singha Motorsport Ferrari 458 Challenge*)
13. 59. Bhirombhakdi/Kusiri (Singha Plan-B Ferrari 458 Challenge*)
14. 11. Aekrat Discharoen (True Vision Motorsports Porsche 991 Cup Car*)
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