Both qualifying sessions took place under perfect weather conditions yesterday and today, with warm sunshine and cool temperatures. All the technicians, engineers and drivers were excited to start their races and took much care in preparing their cars for both sessions. The practice sessions on Wednesday helped them get acquainted with the track.
Qualifying 1. Philippe Prette from Italy, the 2018 Asia Pacific Champion, was determined to make an early impact in the 2019 championship series. His focus was rewarded in an solid performance that saw him claim pole position following an exciting and aggressive battle early in the race with James Weiland from USA and Go Max from Japan. It was a close battle as less than a second separate leader Prette, Weiland and Max. However Weiland had a five grid place penalty and will be starting in 7th position overall. In the Shell class, battle for pole was equally tight amongst the top three frontrunners. Japanese Kazuyuki Yamaguchi had to find his extra gear to stay ahead of his close rivals Vincent Wong of Hong Kong and Yanbin Xing of China, but managed to take pole position in his class at the end. In Coppa Shell AM class, Kent Chen of Chinese Taipei was racing along in first position for much of the session as close action took place between Jay Park of South Korea and Baby Kei of Japan. Although Park managed to qualify ahead of Kei, he had to start from the back for Race 1 due to some contact with another fellow racer and Kei stepped up to second position. Atsushi Iritani of Japan rounded up the top three positions.
Qualifying 2. Philippe Prette once again had a blistering qualifying round that allowed him to be in pole position for Race 2 on Sunday. Hector Lester of Ireland managed to qualify ahead of James Weiland with less than half a second separating them. The Irish man with previous experience at the Albert Park circuit will be the one to watch starting off the front row on Sunday. In the Shell Class, Yanbin Xing had a good start and managed to keep pace till the end of the session to be in pole for his class. Michael Choi from Hong Kong and fellow compatriot David Pun rounded up the other 2 positions. In the Shell AM class, Jay Park after a less than perfect start in Qualifying 1, didn’t commit any mistake and stormed ahead to take his first pole for Sunday’s race, even finishing ahead of other more experienced drivers. Atsushi Iritani and Xiao Min of China rounded up the 2nd and 3rd positions for race 2.