A GT3S victory in Race-2 and a Pro-Am class podium in Race-1. This is the result with which the Ferraris come away from the Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand at the end of the second round of the Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia. A good weekend for the cars from Maranello and, in particular, for the car of the HubAuto Corsa team whose result in Race-2 sees them progress well in both the driver and team standings.
Middle group. High temperatures, humidity around 60%, overcast skies but without risk of downpours set the scene for Race-2. The Ferraris, once again forced to start mid-group, pulled off a comeback which saw them involved in some deft overtaking moves. Setting off from seventeenth position, New Zealander Andre Heimgartner, very effective in Race 1 and just a whisker away from the podium, started very well at the start and managed to move up five positions before handing over the HubAuto Corsa’s 488 GT3’s wheel to Yuya Sakamoto, while Haryanto took the Ferrari of T2 Motorsports from fifteenth to eleventh place before leaving the space for team-mate David Tjiptobiantoro.
Up on the podium. Sakamoto continued the task his partner had started and, taking advantage of some retirements, moved into fourth overall place. The race seemed to be heading towards an end without any major shocks when, twelve minutes from the end, the Safety Car entered the track to allow marshals to remove a hazardously positioned stationary car. Competitors, after some effort, regrouped and, once the operation had been completed, the race resumed with just five minutes remaining. Sakamoto, second in the Pro-Am class but fourth overall, had set his sights on the maximum achievable goal, the bottom step of the podium. The Japanese driver staged a decisive attack with three minutes to go, overtaking the Audi of Bhirombhakdi to celebrate third place overall, second in the class. David Tjiptobiantoro, in the T2 Motorsports Ferrari, crossed the finish line in eighth place in the Pro-Am class, sixteenth overall.
Post-race. A few hours after the end of the race, the disqualification of Bo-Lester’s Absolute Racing Porsche, second overall and first in Pro-Am, which had been deemed underweight during technical checks, moved the Ferrari of Sakamoto-Heimgartner onto the top of the podium.
Standings and round 3. This is the second podium of the season for the 488 GT3 of HubAuto Corsa after the one in Race-1 at Sepang and, with the result, Sakamoto and HubAuto Corsa team take a significant leap forward in their respective rankings. The Japanese is now second, with 53 points, 10 points shy of Roelof Bruins; HubAuto Corsa, on the other hand, lies in third at 53, less than ten points off second spot.
The next round of the Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia is scheduled for Suzuka, Japan, on the weekend of 22nd and 23rd June.