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Craft Bamboo & PTRS Racing Win In FRD At Shanghai

A look at Round 2 of the season

The FRD LMP3 Series had its second round in Shanghai last weekend. The grid was about the same size as the one for the inagural round at Zhejiang, with a total of 10 Ligier JSP3s. Only Jackie Chan DC Racing Team were not present.

There were a few changes to the driver line-ups though, ex-Audi LMP1 driver Marco Bonanomi took over from Alex Tagliani at the wheel of #33 S&D Ligier JSP3. Natan Bihel, the Yvan Muller Racing driver in the Michelin Le Mans Cup, replaced Leo Ye. Kevin Tse from Hong Kong swapped with Dennis Lian in the #25 S&D Ligier JSP3.

Qualifying sessions took place on a damp track. Jami Winslow and Mathias Beche in the #95 Craft Bamboo Ligier took Pole Position for both races.

Race 1: Craft Bamboo Dominates

The #25 S&D Ligier JSP3 and the #17 PTRS Ligier JSP3 took the start of the race from the pits. All the other cars made a clean start with Jamie Winslow in the #95 Craft Bamboo Ligier JSP3 keeping the lead and pulling away easily from the #7 PTRS Ligier JSP3 driven by Rainey He.

A few laps into the race, Natan Bihel in the #33 spun out at the exit of Turn 16 and hit a tyre wall. The car returned to the pits with some damage to its rear bodywork. After repairs, it returned to the race several laps behind the leader.

Meanwhile, there was a heated battle for third position between the #3 Eurasia Ligier JSP3 driven by Garnet Patterson and Andy Yan in the #1 Eurasia Ligier . The #3 was clearly having trouble at the braking points and was eventually overtaken by the #1 on lap 5.

Cars pitted half an hour into the race for driver changes. The #95 had a longer stop than the #7 and the #1 because of the series’ driver BOP rules. After that sequence, Olivier Lombard in the #1 led the race ahead of the #95 driven by Mathias Beche and Simon Evans at the wheel of the #7 PTRS machine. Beche was able to attack and overtake Lombard at Turn 14 some 10 minutes before the end of the race. “It was not easy,” said Beche. “They had a car which was better than ours on the exit of the corners. I knew I could catch him. I was just waiting for him to do a mistake. I managed to get him, but it was tight”.

Lombard in the #1 finished second ahead of Evans in the #7.


Race 2: PTRS Racing Takes Its First Victory in the FRD LMP3 Series

A reasonable crowd attended the Sunday race. All cars made a clean start with Beche heading Yann Clairay in the #17 PTRS Ligier and Martin Cao in the #3 Eurasia Ligier JSP3.

From lap 6 onwards, Clairay attacked Beche relentlessly but without ever managing to overtake him. There was also a battle for third position between Cao, Dan Wells in the #91 Eurasia Ligier JSP3, Marco Bonanomi in the #20 Craft Bamboo Ligier JSP3 and Josh Burdon in the #18 KCMG Ligier JSP3. Burton was probably the most impressive driver of the race. He was ninth on lap 1, fifth after overtaking Bonanomi on lap 8, fourth after overtaking Wells a lap later, ultimately reaching third position after overtaking Cao just before mid-race and the obligatory driver change.

Driver BOP made Beche to stop in the pits for a longer duration than most of his direct competitors. This allowed the #18 KCMG Ligier to take the lead of the race on lap 17, ahead of the #17, the #20 and the #95. The #17 driven by Andrew Waite eventually overtook the #18 one lap later and kept first position all the way to the checkered flag.

The #18 took final podium position on lap 23 as Winslow in the #95 climbed back up the order and took second place despite braking problems.


Next up for the FRD LMP3 Series runners is a second race in Shanghai on August 27, 2017