Published on October 5th, 2015 | by Subhash Nair0
Tappy Sets the Pace for Bentley in China
Despite the fact they were competing without team-leader Jacky Yeung in Shanghai, the #77 JV Global Tiger Racing GT Bentley Continental GT3 recorded another solid top ten result, with the team’s ‘Pro’ driver Duncan Tappy regularly the fastest of the Bentley stars across all three days of competition. For Yeung, a family commitment kept him away from the Shanghai round, the reigning GT Asia Series GTM class champion handing the keys of the #77 Bentley to Audi R8 LMS Cup rival Andrew Kim, a regular at the front of the Am class field in the one-make category. For Kim, the Bentley was a big departure from what he was used to, but the young South Korean driver adapted quickly with the assistance of Tappy and the Absolute Racing operation.
Different it may have been, but Kim settled in quickly and his pace was pretty good too, setting a time well within reach of the top ‘gentleman’ drivers in GT Asia, whilst for Tappy, he was happy to see that he was clearly the fastest of the Bentley ‘Pro’ drivers, the Englishman sixth fastest after the two official practice sessions, just three tenths off the pace-setting Aston Martin.
That pace translated into qualifying speed with Tappy setting the fifth fastest time, Kim continuing on his good form on debut to be classified sixth just 2.3-seconds slower than his team-mate. For the opening race Tappy charged off the line to push through on the Liuzzi McLaren on the opening lap, but in order to conserve tyres for Kim’s run, he settled into a rhythm ahead of the compulsory pit stop [CPS] to hand over to Kim from P4.
Kim rejoined in position five, but almost immediately fell under the control of the Safety Car after his rival in the #15 McLaren went hard into the barriers on the run into turn one, fortunately without any harm to the driver. That Safety Car period lasted for ten minutes, condensing the field and reducing the #77 car’s advantage over the sixth placed McLaren which managed to forge its way past not long after the restart, Kim hanging on to record a sixth placed finish.
Kim was scheduled to start race two, the South Korean driver putting in a superb opening stint to stick with the lead pack and hand Tappy the car from sixth place, the Englishman pushing hard amongst the Pro drivers over the closing laps to hold on to sixth and claim more valuable championship points. The final round of the 2015 GT Asia Series will be held at the new Chang International Circuit at Buriram in Thailand, a circuit new to virtually every one of the GT Asia regulars, something which is sure to present plenty of challenges as the teams contest the final two races of the season.