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Craft-Bamboo Racing Endures Tough Weekend in Shanghai but Scores Dominant Race Two Victory

Craft-Bamboo Racing endured a tough weekend in Shanghai but took their first Blancpain GT Series Asia victory with the #99 VLT Porsche of Darryl O'Young and Marvin Dienst, who scored a dominant race two win in the wet. It was a fantastic result in trying conditions for the #99 VLT Porsche, which also scored a strong result in race one with P6 on Saturday. The #88 Shang Peng Porsche of Nick Foster and Devon Modell did not have the weekend they wanted after being taken out at the first corner of race one while fighting for the lead. After a huge night of repairs for Craft-Bamboo Racing, the #88 Shang Peng Porsche was back on the grid on Sunday and Foster and Modell managed to break their way into championship points territory with P10. Frank Yu and Jean-Marc Merlin scored their fourth win of the season in race one in their #77 Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR before finishing P4 on Sunday. Another strong weekend from the #77 pair sees them leading the GT4 championship by 12 points as they head into the final round of the season in Zhejiang.

Race One

#88 Porsche 911 GT3 R

With Nick Foster starting in P6, the team made the choice to start on slick tyres, with the belief that the track would soon dry out. As the lights went green, Foster got off to a flying start, defending his position from behind by sticking to the outside before carving up the inside of turn one as three of the leaders ran wide on the left. This gave Foster the perfect opportunity to snatch the lead as the grid funnelled out of the first corner. The #88 Shang Peng driver held his line as he edged his nose towards the front of the pack but the #1 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 of Aidan Read squeezed Foster into the middle of the turn. This drove the nose of the Lamborghini into the right rear of the Porsche, spinning the #88 and leaving it in the middle of the approaching stampede of GT cars. While Foster could have recovered from the spin and possibly fought back to a good finish, he was hit by a Bentley Continental GT3 in the rear-left wheel arch, destroying the suspension and instantly ending the #88’s race.

#99 VLT Porsche 911 GT3 R

Darryl O’Young kicked off race one in the #99 VLT Porsche from P5 and made a good start to avoid the chaos at turn one and fight his way up to P2 as the safety car was called out. Unfortunately, the team had chosen rain tyres for the #99 and after the subsequent safety car had been recalled, O’Young was unable to maintain the pace necessary to defend his position. He did his best to defend but slipped down the order to P9 before handing over to Dienst during the compulsory driver change. The German driver re-joined in P8 and began his push to the flag. Showing good speed, Dienst was able to work his way up the order and into P6 by flag fall and give the VLT Porsche a strong points finish.

#77 Porsche Cayman GT Clubsport MR

Frank Yu was tasked with getting race one underway in the #77 Porsche and was able to hold the lead through the opening stage of the race but began to slip back around the 15 minute mark to P3 due to his wet tyre setup. From here, Yu maintained third place to the pit stop window and changed over to teammate, Jean-Marc Merlin. Merlin was able to find much better pace on slick tyres, which Frank had been struggling with in the drying conditions. Merlin ran a faultless stint, extending an eight second gap over the next GT4 competitor and crossing the line in P1 to help them take their fourth win of the season.

Race Two

#88 Porsche 911 GT3 R

After an incredible repair job that lasted into the early hours of the morning, the #88 Shang Peng Porsche was ready to fight another day. With the downpour of rain not letting up, race two was started under the safety car. Modell started from P8 and did well to keep the pace but a small mistake saw him drop down the order to P14 before mounting a comeback and taking the #88 Porsche back up to P12 by the compulsory driver change. As the pit window opened, Modell dove straight in but as Foster exited the pit lane, a full course yellow flag was initiated. This dropped the #88 Shang Peng Porsche further back as they were forced to adhere to the yellow, while others benefited in the pits. Once the flag was lifted, Foster got down to business and began to work his way up from P13. Over his stint, the Australian driver pushed the #88 Shang Peng Porsche to its limits to close the gap and his performance allowed Foster to take three places in the arduous conditions, finishing in the championship points in P10.

#99 VLT Porsche 911 GT3 R

Marvin Dienst started race two from P4 and fought hard to take another position at the start but couldn’t find a way around the #13 Audi over the course of the coming laps. Dienst put his head down and focused on a clean stint in the soaking conditions before handing the car over to O'Young in P4. Thanks to the team's perfectly timed pit stop, which brought Dienst straight into the pits at the start of the full course yellow flag, O’Young was then able to jump the competition and re-join the race in P1. The Hong Kong driver had a nine second gap over P2 as he exited the pits and put in a flawless showing to grow that lead to 16.4 seconds by flag fall, giving Craft-Bamboo Racing and Porsche their first win in the Blancpain GT Series Asia.

#77 Porsche Cayman GT Clubsport MR

Jean-Marc Merlin started on pole position in the GT4 class and was soon embroiled in a battle to keep the lead. He did his best to defend in the trying conditions but slipped back to P2 with 50 minutes to go. Merlin maintained second place until the pit window opened but did not pit right away. A malfunctioning radio prevented the team from calling Merlin into the pits when the full course yellow flag was raised and he subsequently lost a chunk of time before he made the change to, Frank Yu. Yu got back out on track to continue the fight and was briefly last before fighting back to P3. Unfortunately, Yu suffered issues with the ABS system during his stint, which lost him the final podium position in the latter stages of the race. He did a masterful job in the wet conditions though to bring the #77 Porsche Cayman back in unscathed to take a P4 finish in the GT4 class.

Quotes

Richard Coleman, CEO of Craft-Bamboo Racing

"We are delighted to have won race two, particularly after the #99 car lost out to the safety car on Saturday. Both drivers put in an amazing stint in really difficult conditions, which suited our car but this is a huge achievement and a just reward for all the serious effort, hard work and determination that the whole team has put in. However, I am absolutely gutted at the result on Saturday for the #88 Shang Peng Porsche 911 GT3 R. The engineers made the correct tyre choice for the race after some intelligent thinking, the driver (Nick Foster) made an incredible get away, only for us to get hit by a Lamborghini and take no further part but I am glad they were able to fight their way into a points finish on Sunday. I am proud to see that Frank and Jean-Marc were able to notch up another win this weekend and extend their lead in the GT4 drivers’ championship to 12 points.”

Race One Quotes

#88 Shang Peng Porsche

Nick Foster

“Not a great weekend for us, we really struggled with a lot of bad luck. Qualifying wasn’t too bad, we did a good enough job to put ourselves up front but not nearly what we were capable of. We opted for slicks on the damp track, which was the right move as I got a really good start, jumping from P6 to P1. Unfortunately, I got tagged by another competitor and our race was over when the Bentley hit us in the rear of the car. It was very disappointing and very unlucky but unfortunately that is motor racing.”

Devon Modell

“Nick did a great job in qualifying to put us P6 in front of all the Shang Peng fans. He made a mega start to get the #88 into the lead but was very unfortunate to be on the receiving end of some race ending contact at turn one. I really feel we had the pace and ability to win race one.”

#99 VLT Porsche

Darryl O'Young

“In race one I made a mistake, as I went with rain tyres. The circuit dried a lot faster than I expected and that was compounded by a safety car early on, which reduced the gap that we built. Overall it was a tough race for us but we never gave up and I fought for every single position. Passing the car to Marvin, he was able to drive a really strong stint and bring it back in P6, which is a good result despite the tough start.”

Marvin Dienst

“We decided to go with rain tyres but with the safety car coming out early on, we lost the lead that we had. When I got the car, I could push quite well and we were able to get a good result with P6 in the points.”

#77 Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR

Frank Yu

“I started on wets and I was in the lead before the first lap was over after starting P2 but then the tyres started going away as the track dried. I was then passed by a car on slicks once their tyres warmed up. They were flying and I couldn’t defend, I handed to Jean-Marc who changed to slicks and he came out P2.”

Jean-Marc Merlin

“I had an easier stint than Frank in race one, as I was on slicks. Our pace was better than our rivals on average, so it was an important win for the championship. This puts us ten points ahead as we head into race two on Sunday.”

Race Two Quotes

#88 Shang Peng Porsche

Nick Foster

“The guys did a great job to fix the car overnight and Devon got off to a good start in race two. Unfortunately, we pitted as soon as the pit lane opened and then the full course yellow was introduced as I was leaving pit lane. This lost us about one minute but we fought back hard and were able to finish the race with the #88 Shang Peng Porsche in the championship points, which is a strong result.”

Devon Modell

“The second race started under safety car as the conditions were atrocious. I was holding position until I made a small mistake but I battled back up a couple of places before the pit stop. We came in as soon as the pit window opened and nailed the stop, but our strategy was ruined by the full course yellow. Nick drove a great stint to bring us back into the points in 10th but it was another race of what might have been, as we had the pace to join the #99 Porsche on the podium.”

#99 VLT Porsche

Darryl O'Young

"Craft-Bamboo Racing has been working so hard since we got the Porsche, this is our first win and we are just so ecstatic because we have given everything to get here. Marvin did a fantastic stint and everyone has worked so hard, this all goes to the team because they have always done their best to put in maximum effort. I'd like to thank Porsche for their fantastic support, the car was fantastic today, it was unbelievable."

Marvin Dienst

“We started from P4 as a car ahead of us retired on Saturday after a crash. I could pressure P3 right from the start but I couldn’t get past him. I stayed in P4 for the rest of my stint and after checking with the team that the full course yellow flag was coming out, I was able to pit at the right moment as the guys ahead of me missed the pits. Darryl took over and managed to come out in the lead before extending the gap to the flag. I am really happy to be a part of this victory; it is very special, thank you to Craft-Bamboo Racing.”

#77 Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR

Frank Yu

“Jean-Marc started the race and did a great job sticking with the lead after he was overtaken. It would have been a really easy job for me to attain the lead during my stint but we got caught out by the full course yellow and lost about 50 seconds. I came out last but managed to work my way up to P3 within a couple of laps and then I began to narrow down the gap from 30s to 7s. I started having trouble with my ABS and the brakes were acting up, which began affecting the gear shift and unfortunately I had to finish P4.”

Jean-Marc Merlin

“Race two was unlucky as we could have repeated our pace from race one in the wet conditions but a radio malfunction prevented us from pitting during the full course yellow, which cost us half a lap and Frank had to fight back from that.”