Published on January 21st, 2019 | by Amirul Mukminin0
David Chen and Billy Lo Crowned GT Masters Asia 2018/19 GT3 Champions
David Chen and Billy Lo have won the 2018/19 GT Masters Asia GT3 Drivers championship. At the season finale in Sepang, Malaysia an outright race win in round four and a second place finish in round five were enough to see the Audi R8 LMS ultra duo win the category and also propel their team, Tianshi Racing Team (TSRT), to the GT3 Teams title.
“To win championships, you need to be dedicated and on top of your game. Congratulations to TSRT, David Chen and Billy Lo for securing the GT Masters Asia title,” said Martin Kuehl, Director of Audi Sport customer racing Asia.
Positions two and three in the GT3 Drivers championship also went to Audi customer squads, with Singha Plan-B by Absolute Racing’s Kantasak Kusiri and Bhurit Bhirombhakdi second overall and Cheng Congfu and Sun Jingzu of Absolute Racing third.
After the five-race, three-event season, TSRT also took the GTC Teams title.
The round five race win in Sepang went to Audi Sport R8 LMS Cup GTC champion Jeffrey Zee and Zhang Zhiqiang of Team 69 after a superb fightback in the latter half of the race. That win continued the 100 percent record for the Audi R8 LMS in the series, with various model years of the race car taking victory in each of the five rounds in Ningbo and Shanghai in China and Sepang in Malaysia.
The first race of the weekend’s double-header at the Sepang International Circuit took place in the early evening of Saturday with Audi customers occupying the first three positions on the grid. Lo and Chen started from pole for Tianshi Racing Team and had a relatively untroubled run to the flag to put them into championship contention.
The team’s second entry, an Audi R8 LMS Cup car with Su Yanming taking the first stint, was up to second from a starting position of third as the field piled into the first corner.
It was another Audi customer team, T.K.R, that lost out in that first corner melee, with driver Lu Zhiwei dropping two positions to fourth, only to claw back third place one lap later.
As the mandatory driver change pit window opened, Su handed the reins to Chen Bohan in second place, with Dennis Zhang who had taken over from teammate Lu in hot pursuit.
Zhang won the battle for second in the final 20 minutes of the one hour race, with Chen Bohan third to secure an Audi customer one-two-three finish.
Audi customer teams filled the first two rows of the season’s finale with the #999 TSRT Audi R8 LMS ultra once more on pole. David Chen this time started, scorching off the line from the rolling start, and proceeded to punch out strong lap times to put clean air between himself and the chasing pack ahead of the driver changeover.
Behind, Lu Zhiwei started second for T.K.R but a spin on lap six saw him come into the pits, emerging down the order in seventh. Jeffrey Zee in the Team 69 Audi R8 LMS Cup car was one to benefit from that spin, slotting into third, with the #888 TSRT entry with Chen Bohan at the wheel just behind in fourth.
At the midrace driver change Dennis Zhang took over from Lu Zhiwei in seventh and put in a great stint to cross the line fourth overall, third in the GTC class. Fifth overall was Su Yanming, who had taken over from Chen Bohan.
The story of the race had taken place at the front of the field as Zhang Zhiqiang, taking over from Jeffrey Zee, emerged from the pit line like a man possessed. Zhang was second when the pit window closed in pursuit of Billy Lo, who had taken the reins from David Chen over 30 seconds ahead in race lead.
Zhang ate into the deficit lap after lap, eventually reeling in and passing Lo with only five minutes to go to take a memorable victory for Team 69.