Published on June 26th, 2017 | by Subhash Nair


Thong and Lee Claim Victory for Audi Hong Kong in Japan

Audi Hong Kong’s Shaun Thong broke through for his maiden Blancpain GT Series Asia victory at Suzuka in Japan, the 21-year old Audi driver decimating the opposition over the closing laps to win by a staggering 16.5-seconds to hand he, and team-mate Marchy Lee, the championship points lead after five rounds of the new season.

Using the experience he’d gained from the Audi R8 LMS Cup round just two weeks ago, the Cup race lap record holder at Suzuka was amongst the pace-setters during practice at the iconic home of the Japanese Formula One Grand Prix, but like his experienced team-mate, was unable to extract the best of the car during qualifying.

Starting from third position on the grid, Lee though was quickly through to the lead before the close of the opening lap, extending the advantage to more than six seconds before his compulsory mid-race pit stop. With a seven second additional penalty for placing second last time out in Thailand, Thong rejoined the field after the stop just as the race leader filed past the pit exit, but within a handful of corners, the Phoenix Racing Asia driver was through to the lead.
From there he set a sequence of laps as the fastest driver on the circuit to pull away from the emerging battle for second, ultimately claiming the second fastest lap of the race, and a comfortable race victory.

Suzuka International Circuit, Japan (24 June, 2017)
Qualifying #1 (15-minutes)
1. 99. Darryl O’Young (Porsche GT3-R) – 2:02.982
2. 86. Aditya Patel (Audi R8 LMS GT3) – 2:03.084
3. 5. Marchy Lee (Audi Hong Kong Audi R8 LMS GT3) – 2:03.534
4. 66. Sandy Stuvik (Lamborghini Huracan GT3) – 2:03.598
5. 999. Hunter Abbott (Mercedes AMG GT3) – 2:04.002
Qualifying #2 (15-minutes)
1. 7. Alessio Picariello (Audi R8 LMS GT3) – 2:01.851
2. 86. Mitch Gilbert (Audi R8 LMS GT3) – 2:02.230
3. 13. Franky Cheng (Audi R8 LMS GT3) – 2:02.264
4. 18. Martin Rump (Audi R8 LMS GT3) – 2:02.395
5. 999. Max Goetz (Mercedes AMG GT3) – 2:02.482
7. 5. Shaun Thong (Audi Hong Kong Audi R8 LMS GT3) – 2:02.573
Suzuka International Circuit, Japan (24 June, 2017)
Rnd#5 2017 Blancpain GT Series Asia (60-minutes)
1. 5. Lee/Thong (Audi Hong Kong Audi R8 LMS GT3) – 28-laps
2. 88. Modell/Foster (Porsche GT3-R) +16.553
3. 86. Patel/Gilbert (Audi R8 LMS GT3) +24.202
4. 99. O’Young/Li (Porsche GT3-R) +26.412
5. 38. Guedes/Aguas (Ferrari 488 GT3) +27.505
2017 Blancpain GT Series Asia
Championship Points (after five rounds of 12)*
1. Shaun Thong/Marchy Lee (86-points), 2. Mitchell Gilbert/Aditya Patel (73), 3. Hunter Abbott (71) *unofficial

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Written work on @subhashtag on instagram. Autophiles Malaysia on Youtube.

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