Published on April 9th, 2017 | by Amirul Mukminin0
Phoenix Racing Asia Tops Qualifying for Sepang Season Opener
Phoenix Racing Asia concluded the 2016 season of the GT Asia Series as arguably the team to beat, after claiming second outright in the championship for co-team principal Marchy Lee and Shaun Thong, whilst three-time Audi R8 LMS Cup champion Alex Yoong and team-mate Alex Au claimed the penultimate race of the season.
2017 though presented a very different scenario with the maiden season of Blancpain GT Series Asia scheduled as one of the team’s major commitments, and many wondered whether the new team would be able to continue that success.
By his own admission, Alex Yoong admitted it was a long off-season and that he wasn’t sure with the threat of the new Blancpain GT Series Asia, as to whether he would have the pace to match some of the world’s best GT3 teams, but after qualifying it was pretty clear that despite a field with some immense talent, the Malaysian former Formula One driver topped the timesheets in today’s qualifying session.
“I had a lot of apprehension coming into this weekend because you never know – you go through the winter asking yourself whether you’ll still be quick. We could see yesterday that the pace was there – the cars are very even, I think we have the chance to fight. I had to have a really good lap and I had an excellent lap. I caught a little bit of traffic in the final corner that cost me a little time but I’m very happy, a great way to start the season.”
With the experienced Phoenix Racing Asia team behind him, Yoong was the standout in the second 15-minute session, setting a time almost immediately with what the team felt was the one chance he had on his new Pirelli tyres, Yoong impressive to both turn in an almost flawless lap, and negotiate the track space needed to ensure he wasn’t delayed by traffic.
Earlier Marchy Lee had come very close to making a front row start after setting the second fastest time on his first quick lap, but traffic thwarted any further forward progress, the 2012 Audi R8 LMS Cup champion ultimately classified fourth, whilst Alex Au claimed a sixth row start, Shaun Thong – carrying 25-kilograms* more weight than Alex Yoong – eleventh in the second session.