Qualifying 1 saw once again yesterday’s fastest car, the #1 Win Motorsport Ligier JSP3 driven by Davide Rizzo set the pace in a time of 2 minutes 1.433 seconds on Lap 4. He was followed by the #27 Infinity Race Engineering ADESS 03 of James Winslow on 2 minutes 3.837 seconds. Completing the top three was the #99 TKS Ginetta LMP3 with Shinyo Sano, who is competing for the first time in the LMP3 class clocking 2 minutes 4.172 seconds.
Over at GT3, the #59 Singha Plan B Motorsport Audi R8 LMS of Kantasak Kusiri clinched top spot in his class and fourth overall with a time of 2 minutes 4.973 seconds. Second in GT3 and taking fifth spot on the grid was the #98 Arrows Racing Lamborghini Gallardo GT3 FL2 driven by Maxx Ebenal on 2 minutes 7.494 seconds. Rounding up the top three in GT3 and eighth overall was the #92 Team AAI BMW Z4 with Chi Huang at the wheel on a time of 2 minutes 15.425 seconds. The other Team AAI car, the #93 McLaren 650S GT3 of Terry Fang had to contend with the final spot on the grid on a time of 2 minutes 17.521 seconds.
In CN class, the #3 Eurasia Motorsport Ligier JS53-EVO set a 2 minutes 11.548 seconds lap time with Dominic Ang at the helm. Moving onto GT Cup, Team NZ’s #77 Porsche 997 driven by Graeme Dowsett scored a time of 2 minutes 14.430 seconds. Behind him was the #15 PAS Macau Racing Porsche 997 on 2 minutes 16.327 seconds with Wong Kian Kuan at the wheel.
Drastic changes ensured in Qualifying 2 as the #99 TKS Ginetta LMP3 of Shinyo Sano went the fastest with a time of 2 minutes 4.756 seconds. Even more surprising was second place overall going to a GT3 car; the #92 Team AAI BMW Z4 with Ollie Millroy setting a blazing 2 minutes 5.527 seconds. Third spot was filled by the #1 Win Motorsport Ligier JSP3 driven by William Lok on 2 minutes 5.724 seconds.
Fourth overall and third in LMP3 was the #27 Infinity Race Engineering ADESS 03 with Neale Muston clocking 2 minutes 6.008 seconds. He was followed by the #59 Singha Plan B Motorsport Audi R8 LMS GT3 on 2 minutes 7.536 seconds who also took second place in his class. The other Team AAI car of Jun San Chen driving the #93 McLaren 650S GT3 placed third in class and sixth overall with a time of 2 minutes 7.545 seconds. Clinching seventh overall was the #98 Arrows Racing Lamborghini Gallardo GT3 FL2 of Michael Choi 2 minutes 8.630 seconds.
GT Cup saw the #77 Team NZ Porsche 997 of John Curran victorious again with 2 minutes 13.820 seconds. The #15 PAS Macau Racing Porsche 997 of Eurico de Jesus managed a 2 minutes 17.001 seconds. In CN, the #3 Eurasia Motorsport Ligier JS53-EVO of Douglas Khoo clocked 2 minutes 28.934 seconds.
Nine cars started off the grid on Race 1 with the only non-starter being the #3 Eurasia Motorsport with drivers Douglas Khoo and Dominic Ang. The race got off to a clean start with the #27 Infinity Race Engineering ADESS 03 surging past pole-sitter, the #1 Win Motorsport Ligier JSP3 of Davide Rizzo and takes the lead going into Turn 1. The chase then began as the #1 Ligier JSP3 continually hounded the race leader throughout the entirety of Lap 1 before reclaiming P1 status on Turn 15. Similarly the #98 Arrows Racing Lamborghini Gallardo GT3 FL2 of Maxx Ebenal who placed 10th on the grid had a fantastic start and was up to fifth by the end of Lap 1.
Back up front, Rizzo in his #1 Win Motorsport Ligier JSP3 increased his lead further by 2.7 seconds on his second lap. Further down the grid, the #92 Team AAI BMW Z4 GT3 with Chi Huang at the helm was having problems with his machine having spurn out at Turn 14 on Lap 3 and ending up in the gravel at Turn 12 on Lap 5 with a blown engine. Unfortunately for Huang, he was forced to retire from Race 1 and hopefully will be able to take part in tomorrow’s Race 2.
By Lap 9, Rizzo had further increased his lead by 16 seconds over Winslow’s #27 ADESS 03 and continued to set faster sector times throughout further opening up the gap. Lap 11 saw the pit window open and the first to pit was the #93 Team AAI McLaren 650S GT3 of Terry Fang. With the grid systematically pitting in, this allowed the #59 Singha Plan B Motorsport Audi R8 LMS of Kantasak Kusiri to move up to third on Lap 13. At this point, the two race leaders, Rizzo and Winslow continued to stay out, up till Lap 15, where they both pitted in for a driver change.
For Win Motorsport, William Lok took over the reins of the #1 Ligier from Rizzo while Neale Muston replaces James Winslow in the #27 ADESS. However, as Lok pulled out of the pits to rejoin the race, Muston was delayed as his team’s pit crew found an issue with his rear right tyre and quickly tried to solve it. Even though he rejoined the race and kept his position, the gap between the lead car by now was far too great. A lap later the #59 Singha Plan B Motorsport Audi R8 LMS pitted in as well for a driver swop to Bhurit Bhirombhakdi.
Lap 17 saw the #27 Infinity Race Engineering ADESS 03 in trouble again as Muston spins out between Turn 2 to Turn 3 though he recovers quickly to maintain his position yet again. By this time the #1 Win Motorsport Ligier was so far ahead, on Lap 19, Lok had increased the gap to 55 seconds. Then on Lap 21, the #99 TKS Ginetta LMP3 of Sano passes the #59 Audi R8 LMS GT3 for the final spot on the podium. The standings remained that way right up till the chequered flag.
Davide Rizzo, #1 Win Motorsport Ligier JSP3, LMP3: “It was a perfect day and we finished in first position. The start was good, we had a bit of a moment with the other LMP3, which was good as well, so I just had to bring the car back and William did a perfect job. We were always focused and there’s where we are.”
William Lok, #1 Win Motorsport Ligier JSP3, LMP3: “Davide had a very solid stint, he just gave me the car, I jumped in and pushed it to my best. Lap time may have been better but I guess the tyres were wearing off and I had to be a little safer as I was pushing it too much. Its the first race of the season and my physical fitness isn’t that good yet, so I am very happy and would like to congratulate James and Sano. What can I say, its our first time, first race, first pole and first win for Win Motorsport Hong Kong, thank you very much!”
Neale Muston, #27 Infinity Race Engineering ADESS 03, LMP3: “First of all a thank you to our race team, Infinity, they did a tremendous effort, congratulations to our other competitors, fantastic win to Davide and William, it was very good competition and unfortunately we couldn’t be a little bit more competitive. We didn’t have the best preparation and had a little bit of car trouble but we started getting on the pace at the end so hopefully we can come out tomorrow and be a little bit more competitive and hopefully give these boys more of a challenge.”
James Winslow, #27 Infinity Race Engineering ADESS 03, LMP3: “We made a good start, tried to have a little bit of fun with it at the first corner with Davide, I had this feeling he was going to take me in the race so i thought I would claim one victory and take the first corner. Big thank you to Infinity who helped develop the ADESS’ chassis, we will keep working on it and get closer and closer to Win. Congratulations to William and Davide on their win and for their new team, a big thanks to Neale who did very well as well.”
Shinyo Sano, #99 TKS Ginetta LMP3, LMP3: “I would like to thank my team and family, this is my first time in an LMP3 car, the race was really very hot and pretty tough as I am the only driver. It was a very good experience and completing it makes me very happy, thank you!”
Bhurit Bhirombhakdi, #59 Singha Plan B Motorsport Audi R8 LMS GT3: “First of all I would like to thank our sponsor, Singha Plan B Motorsport and Absolute that made us the perfect car. It was very easy to drive and it was a fantastic weekend for me. I am very happy and thank you for having us.”
Kantasak Kusiri, #59 Singha Plan B Motorsport Audi R8 LMS GT3: “Today I had a good start and in the first corner I tried to save my position and the only thing I need is to be faster in the driver changing. It was great for me!”
Graeme Dowsett, #77 Team NZ Porsche 997 GT3 Cup, GT Cup: “Thank you to Asian Le Mans and the ACO, its great to be back. Today’s race was good for us, the other cup car Porsche was stuck to us for the first quarter of the race and we managed to pull out a little bit but it was great to have them racing with us and congrats to them as well.”
WIN Motorsport and drivers, William Lok and Davide Rizzo took the #1 Ligier JSP3 LMP3 car to the finish line in first place after a well calculated battle that saw grid positions change drastically throughout. 1 minute 16.073 seconds behind was second placed #27 Infinity Race Engineering ADESS 03 of James Winslow and Neale Muston. In third was Shinyo Sano (the only solo driver in the race) in his #99 TKS Ginetta LMP3.
Fourth overall and first in GT3 class was the #98 Arrows Racing Lamborghini Gallardo GT3 FL2 of Maxx Ebenal and Michael Choi. Second in GT3 and fifth overall was Kantasak Kusiri and Bhurit Bhirombhakdi in their #59 Singha Plan B Motorsport Audi R8 LMS. Rounding up the third spot in GT3 was the #92 Team AAI BMW Z4 of Ollie Millroy and Chi Huang, they were also sixth overall. The other Team AAI car, the #93 McLaren 650S GT3 driven by Jun San Chen and Terry Fang were fourth in their class and seventh overall.
Over in GT Cup, Team NZ has emerged tops again in their class as John Curran and Graeme Dowsett took their #77 Porsche 997 and went ahead of the #15 PAS Macau Racing Porsche 997 of Eurico de Jesus and Wong Kian Kuan. The only non-starter of Race 2 was the #3 Eurasia Ligier JS53-EVO with drivers Douglas Khoo and Dominic Ang as the car continued to be plagued by issues.
Picking up from yesterday’s action with a grid line-up that was vastly different, sitting on pole was the #99 TKS Ginetta LMP3 driven by Sano, beside him was Team AAI’s #92 BMW Z4 GT3 of Ollie Millroy. Second row comprised of the #1 WIN Motorsport Ligier JSP3 driven by William Lok and in fourth was the #27 Infinity Race Engineering ADESS 03 of Neale Muston. Behind them were the #59 Singha Plan B Motorsport Audi R8 LMS GT3 of Bhurit Bhirombhakdi in fifth and the #93 Team AAI McLaren 650S GT3 driven by Jun San Chen in sixth.
Making up the back end of the grid was the #98 Arrows Racing Lamborghini Gallardo GT3 of Michael Choi in seventh, the #77 Team NZ Porsche 997 GT3Cup of John Curran in eighth and finally the #15 PAS Macau Racing Porsche 997 GT3Cup of Eurico de Jesus in ninth. Tenth was originally the #3 Eurasia Motorsport Ligier JS53-EVO of Douglas Khoo who unfortunately could not take part due to engine issues.
Besides the difference on the grid, Race 2 also started at 1.55pm with an overcast sky that meant drastically cooler temperatures. Just on Lap 1 itself it was the top four cars on the grid that went into Turn 1 with the #99 TKS Ginetta of Sano taking the lead, but that was short lived as the #92 Team AAI BMW Z4 of Millroy overtook the Japanese driver to gain the lead as the race ensued. In third was yesterday’s winner the #1 WIN Motorsport Ligier JSP3 of Lok and the #93 Team AAI McLaren 650S of Jun San Chen in fourth.
Further down the field, the #27 Infinity Race Engineering ADESS 03 of Muston suffered an early spin out on Lap 1 that caused him crucial seconds. At this point, Millroy in his #92 Team AAI BMW Z4 had only built a 1 second gap ahead of a fast charging Sano in his #99 TKS Ginetta on Lap 2. The gap was reduced to just 0.3 seconds by Lap 3 but Millroy brilliantly defended his position from the immense pressure of the LMP3 car behind him.
Then on Lap 4 the #27 Infinity Race Engineering ADESS 03 finally overtook the #93 Team AAI McLaren 650S for fourth place. On that same lap, Team NZ’s #77 Porsche 997 spun out at Turn 9 but recovered just as fast, though this incident allowed the #15 PAS Macau Racing Porsche 997 of Eurico de Jesus the chance to pass and take eighth spot and the lead in GT Cup.
Things up front took a huge change as well as Sano who has been pressurising the #92 Team AAI BMW Z4 of Millroy, lost his concentration and spurn out at Turn 2 on Lap 6. Upon recovering the Japanese driver found himself being tailed very closely by the #27 Infinity Race Engineering ADESS 03 of Muston who wanted that third place very badly. Sano’s folly allowed the #1 WIN Motorsport Ligier of William Lok to move up to second. Lap 6 also saw the #59 Singha Plan B Motorsport Audi R8 LMS move up to fifth and the #98 Arrows Racing Lamborghini Gallardo of Choi into sixth as the #93 Team AAI McLaren 650S of Jun San Chen drops down to seventh.
A lap after that, Neale Muston finally passed the #99 TKS Ginetta of Sano for third; Sano continued to lose pace as he dropped to sixth by Lap 9. This also allowed the #59 Singha Plan B Motorsport Audi R8 LMS of Bhurit Bhirombhakdi to move up to fourth, the #98 Arrows Racing Lamborghini Gallardo of Choi to fifth. Sano picked up the pace again however, as by Lap 10 the #99 TKS Ginetta was back up to fifth. Things were getting equally exciting at the bottom half of the grid as the #77 Team NZ Porsche of John Curran retook eighth place from the #15 PAS Macau Racing Porsche of Eurico de Jesus.
Pit windows opened on Lap 11 and the #1 WIN Motorsport Ligier of Lok was one of the first to pit in for a driver change to Davide Rizzo. Race leader, the #92 Team AAI BMW Z4 of Millroy continued to stay out and tried to build a buffer for the lead. With #1 WIN Motorsport car in the pits, the #27 Infinity Race Engineering ADESS 03 of Neale Muston took second while the #99 TKS Ginetta of Sano was now in third and the #93 Team AAI McLaren 650S of Jun San Chen in fourth.
Rizzo of the #1 WIN Motorsport Ligier rejoined the race in fifth and came out directly behind the #92 Team AAI BMW Z4 of Millroy, though he is technically one lap behind on Lap 12. At this time the #27 Infinity Race Engineering ADESS pitted for a driver change to James Winslow that allowed the #93 Team AAI McLaren of Jun San Chen to move to second. Two laps later though, the #1 WIN Motorsport of Rizzo is now in third, though he still has not un-lapped himself from the race leader.
However it was only in Lap 16, when the #92 Team AAI BMW Z4 of Millroy pitted for a driver change to Chi Huang did the race leader finally relinquished its P1 status and to rejoin the race in second behind Rizzo, who was now in first place on Lap 17. Similarly, the #93 Team AAI McLaren pitted in for a driver swop to Terry Fang that allowed the #27 Infinity Race Engineering to move up to second. Second place Chi Huang in the #92 Team AAI BMW Z4 was gradually slowing down too as he dropped to third on Lap 17 as well, while the #59 Singha Plan B Motorsport Audi R8 LMS of Kantasak Kusiri is up to fourth and overtook Huang for third in the following lap.
Lap 19 saw the #59 Singha Plan B Motorsport driven by Kusiri pitting in to serve a 40 second stop and go penalty for speeding in the pit lane earlier. This allowed the #99 TKS Ginetta of Sano to take fourth and the #98 Arrows Racing Lamborghini Gallardo of Maxx Ebenal to move up to fourth on Lap 20. A lap later though Sano caught up with Ebenal and passed him for third overall.
In the final minutes of the race though the #27 Infinity Race Engineering ADESS 03 of Winslow suffered a massive spin out on Turn 4 during Lap 22, thankfully Sano in third was some distance behind and Winslow was able to keep his second placement. Lap 23 saw the #59 Singha Plan B Motorsport Audi R8 LMS of Kusiri move up to fifth while the former race leader, the #92 Team AAI BMW Z4 driven by Chi Huang dropped to sixth. The positions stayed that way till the end of the race.
William Lok, #1 WIN Motorsport Ligier JSP3: “Today we changed some strategies so I started the race, it was a good start, I stayed with the leaders and I saw them fighting each other so I kept my nose clean and made sure that I kept up with the guys. Once I got some clear air I was doing pretty decent lap times on the pace and Sano was really quick in the beginning it was hard to catch him but I kept my cool, kept my pace going on and did as much as I can and brought the car back clean so that Davide can finish it.”
Davide Rizzo, #1 WIN Motorsport Ligier JSP3: “I would like to congratulate the whole team that did a great job. I have to complain about William as he did not let me to do anything, I just had to sit in the car for my stint and its his fault for improving too much. It was a great result today, the team did a really good job, it was a nice car and I hope the next weekend would be the same. Thank you everyone.”
Neale Muston, #27 Infinity Race Engineering ADESS 03: “Congratulations to Davide and William for the flawless drive, so its pretty hard to compete with great driving like that. We made a few changes overnight so we are just lacking aero on the car though we have enough power. We gave everything we could and the car felt a little better today but we had a little contact on Turn 2 and that upset our rear diffuser, it just lifted the rear a little bit so it was a little hard to drive quickly for both of us. Other than that I just really sat down and tried to get some decent lap times, it was really hot which was quite a test, but its been great and I always loved to drive here so we will come back and do it again.”
James Winslow, #27 Infinity Race Engineering ADESS 03: “I jumped in for the second stint, it was pretty tricky, it was very hot and I struggled a little with the balance and we tried to move everything forward, the car felt pretty much like yesterday but we will come back and keep fighting and improve the ADESS for the next event and hopefully these guys who keep winning all the races a bit more challenge.”
Shinyo Sano, #99 TKS Ginetta LMP3: “This time is my first time in podium position again so I really don’t know what to say. I was battling really hard with the Team AAI BMW Z4 early on and that gave me a lot of experience for the races ahead, I look forward to the next race! Thank you.”
Maxx Ebenal, #98 Arrows Racing Lamborghini Gallardo GT3 FL2: “I think the race was very good, we knew today we just had to do one thing and it was not to make any mistakes. Yesterday we got a penalty and unfortunately we had to do a stop and go and I think that really hurt us. We were pretty lucky today too because the other GT3 team got a penalty as well and that helped us for sure. The team did an excellent pit stop, the timing was perfect, our driver change was due too, and I think we both had really good stints.”
Michael Choi, #98 Arrows Racing Lamborghini Gallardo GT3 FL2: “It was a great race, I started really clean and there was no incidents, I just followed the fast drivers and tried to keep up with the pace thus I was able to come back not to far from the rest of the cars, did an excellent driver change and everything went perfect. It was a great weekend.”
Graeme Dowsett, #77 Team NZ Porsche 997 GT3Cup, GT Cup: “Congratulations to the boys from Macau, they pushed us really hard right till the end, gave us some good clean racing so congrats to them it was very fun and thank you very much. We had to go through pretty much entire race without relaxing.”
John Curran, #77 Team NZ Porsche 997 GT3Cup, GT Cup: “Just to reiterate what Graeme said, thanks very much to PAS Macau Racing, we got a taste of what GT Cup can be in the Sprint series, its very close racing, very clean racing and I think I went a little harder than Graeme this afternoon and got into a little spin at Turn 9 but it was a very enjoyable weekend overall and thanks to the organisers.”