The fifth round of the Blancpain GT Series Asia took place at the Shanghai F1 Circuit which lies on the outskirts of the bustling metropolis of Shanghai. Thai driver Sandy Stuvik would have a new teammate for the weekend in Yuki Nemoto. The young Japanese rising star has had numerous successes in the European Super Trofeo Championship.
Friday’s practice sessions were contested in dry conditions. As part of the team strategy for the weekend, no new tires were used, instead saving them for possible use on Saturday’s Official Practice.
Saturday morning saw a wet Official Practice Session, with Sandy leading most of the session, only to be pipped to 3rd during the closing stages. Less than one-tenth of a second separated the Top 3.
Up next was the first Qualifying session, again in wet conditions, Sandy was confident to improve on his Official Practice time. The Thai driver went on to do exactly that and managed to secure his first Pole Position in the Blancpain GT Series Asia!
Yuki Nemoto carried on in fine form in the second Qualifying session, taking a well-earned 11th position in his first-ever GT3 qualifying with difficult conditions.
The rain however did not continue to fall after the Qualification sessions and the track began to slowly dry up before Race 1. The discussion in the teams was whether to opt for Slicks or Wets in the damp conditions, with Sandy choosing to go for Slicks, like most of the rest of the grid.
With Sandy leading the pack, Race 1 got underway and the Thai driver fell from the lead, seceding 3 positions to cars on the initially grippier wet tires. The safety car was despatched due to a turn-1 incident, but the race quickly got underway again. With the Slicks beginning to heat up Sandy started making up ground and was back in the lead of the race. The Thai driver would stay in the lead until his pit-stop window opened and he was able to give the Lamborghini Huracan GT3 over to Yuki Nemoto, who managed to keep the lead after the pit-stop window thanks to a string of fantastic laps.
Unfortunately the Thai driver was given a drive-through penalty for his battling in the first lap, and with that served, the pair dropped to 4th place, where they would finish.
2017 Blancpain Asia Series Calendar
|8-9 April||Sepang, Malaysia||Round 1-2|
|20-21 May||Chang, Thailand||Round 3-4|
|24-25 June||Suzuka, Japan||Round 5-6|
|19-20 Aug||Fuji, Japan||Round 7-8|
|23-24 Sept||Shanghai, China
|21-22 Oct||Zhejiang, China||Round 11-12|