Published on May 14th, 2017 | by Amirul Mukminin0
Local Star Takes Pole for Beijing’s GT China Championship Opener
Local driver Xu Jia from the popular Kings team overcame a true international challenge to claim the first pole position of the 2017 China GT Championship at Beijing’s Audi Goldenport Motor Park circuit, the new Audi recruit – who was a winner during the inaugural season – qualifying on top during the second session ahead of the opening race of the season.
Behind him were a string of new Porsche GT3-R’s led by experienced Porsche Carrera Cup Asia campaigner Martin Ragginger and FAW T2M team-mate Bao Jin Long, the HubAuto supported drivers just 74 one thousandths of a second off the top spot on combined times.
During practice it was a Porsche 1-2-3 with Frenchman Maxime Jousse topping the timesheets for JRM as he had done during the pre-season test, the reigning Carrera Cup Asia #2 stopping the clocks with a best of 1:01.961 to better team-mate Chris van der Drift by almost half a second, with Ragginger third ahead of a pair of thundering Bentley Team Absolute Continental GT3s.
In the hotly contested GTC/GT4 category the top spot in qualifying was taken by Andrew Tang and Pan Chao in their JRM Porsche 991 Cup Car mere hundredths clear of the impressive Xtreme Motorsport Radical RXC V6 of Xu Wei and Leng Kang, and former Audi R8 LMS Cup regular Kimi Qin in a Spirit Z-Racing prepared Audi R8 LMS GT3, suitably wrapped in purple vinyl to match the Chinese driver’s hair colour! Ultimately the local drivers were the big winners despite the big influx of international stars from Bentley Team Absolute, Phoenix Racing Asia and FAW T2M, paving the way for what promises to be a season to remember.
Whilst the Series regulars featured strongly, there was little separating the teams during qualifying, as New Zealander Chris van der Drift pointed out to experienced driving partner Li Chao who had qualified tenth during his session, but mere hundredths off a front row start, it was that close.
Qualifying saw two 20-minute sessions with the ‘Pro’ drivers out on track first, ahead of the ‘Am’ drivers in session two. Times were then combined, with the average of both best laps the qualifying time for that car, whilst for single ‘Am’ entries such as pole-man Xu Jia, they would start the second leg of qualifying only, and their best lap was the car’s allocated time.