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Craft-Bamboo Racing Takes Pole Position and Podium in Fuji

Craft-Bamboo Racing took an incredible pole position and second place podium during round four of the Blancpain GT Series Asia at the Fuji Speedway this weekend. The #88 Porsche of Nick Foster and Devon Modell scored their second podium of the season, proving that they are one of the strongest pairings on the Blancpain grid. Foster claimed an incredible last-minute pole position in Q1 that gave them the start they needed to put the Porsche 911 GT3 R on the second step of the podium in race one. Darryl O’Young and Peter Li Zhi Cong had a tough weekend but scored points in race one with a P10 finish, before ending the weekend with P12 in race two. Frank Yu and Jean-Marc Merlin made it another double podium in Fuji, with P2 in race one and P3 in race two, boosting them from third to first in the fight for the GT4 title.

Race One

#88 Porsche 911 GT3 R

Nick Foster kicked off race one from pole position and tried to hold his ground into the first turn but was forced wide onto the grass, dropping him to P9 and severely hurting the #88's chances of a win. Foster regrouped and quickly found the pace, clawing back lost positions before handing over to his teammate, Devon Modell. Foster put in a huge effort to get the #88 Porsche back up to P3 by the pit stop window and the team did an amazing job to get Modell back out on track in P2. The #88 driver put in his best performance so far this season, producing quicker lap times than the lead car, thanks to the Porsche's excellent race pace. Modell continued to close the gap to P1 but ran out of time as the 60-minute sprint race drew to a close, ultimately finishing only 1.4s behind P1 to give the #88 pair another podium and 18 points for their championship campaign.

#99 VLT Porsche 911 GT3 R

Peter Li Zhi Cong began his race one challenge from P18 on the grid and made an excellent start to take an incredible seven places in the opening couple of laps. Now in P11, Li got his head down and focused on maintaining the pace to the pit stop window. He fought some good battles and put in a clean stint to hand the car over to Darryl O’Young in P12. O’Young then did well to pick off a few competitors and put the #99 VLT Porsche into P10 by the chequered flag.

#77 Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR

Frank Yu got off to a good start in the GT4 class from P3 and was soon able to take the class lead. As his stint progressed he came under attack from the McLaren 570s GT4 and was unable to hold on. Yu kept close and handed the car over to Jean-Marc Merlin in P2, giving him a good chance to retake the lead during his stint. Merlin pushed hard and found his way by but with 15 minutes remaining was given a stop and go penalty for a pit stop infringement. This penalty destroyed any hope of taking the win and forced Merlin to play catch up for the rest of the race. Thankfully, Yu and Merlin had done enough to beat their season rivals and claim a second-place podium at this crucial stage of the season.

Race Two

#88 Porsche 911 GT3 R

Devon Modell started race two from P18 on the grid but lost position after being forced wide during a big battle at the first corner. After the field settled down, Modell was now fighting from P23 and focused on climbing up the order before the opening of the pit stop window. The Brit showed great pace once again, taking back six places to hand the car over to Nick Foster in P18. With their additional success penalty from race one, Foster rejoined the field in P20 and continued the #88 Porsche's march up the field. The Australian driver again showed just how competitive the #88 Porsche could be by climbing a further nine spots by flag fall to finish just outside the points in P11.

#99 VLT Porsche 911 GT3 R

Darryl O’Young was tasked with the first stint of race two in the #99 VLT Porsche, lining up P11 on the grid and making a good start to move up to P10 by the end of the first lap. O’Young pushed the #99 VLT over the course of his stint and after many encounters with the competition gave the car to Peter Li Zhi Cong at the end of the pit stop window in P12. Li rejoined the fight in P12 and over the next ten minutes managed to close in on those ahead and take two positions to slot into P10. As the race entered the closing stages, Li had a clean fight with the #3 Porsche and #88 Porsche sister car of Nick Foster, trading blows before finishing the race P12 overall.

#77 Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR

Jean-Marc Merlin started from P3 in the GT4 class and he maintained his starting position throughout his stint. The Frenchman had a faultless race and kept close to their season rival in the #10 Porsche. Frank Yu rejoined the race in P4 after their success penalty from race one dropped them back down the order and lost them valuable time. Yu had the pace though and he managed to close the gap to P3 over the rest of his stint, catching his rival on the final lap of the race. Yu made a last-minute pass up the inside at the final corner to snatch away P3 and take the final step on the podium. Yu's brave manoeuvre at the last corner allowed the #77 Porsche to finish ahead of the #10 Porsche and collect some very important championship points to secure them the lead in the GT4 standings.

Quotes

Richard Coleman, CEO of Craft-Bamboo Racing

“Overall it was a very strong weekend for Craft-Bamboo Racing. We could have won race one had it not been for some bad luck at the first corner but it was great to come away with second place and it was great to have the #99 sister car in the points as well. Sunday's race was a little bit more difficult but we have taken some good steps forward on setup, which is good because we know Shanghai is a circuit that won’t suit us. Fingers crossed that all the hard work will help us get a good result at the next race. Jean-Marc and Frank did an excellent job in GT4 to score some valuable results for their championship. The McLaren was out of reach this weekend but the #77 pair did a fantastic job to retake the championship lead.”

Race One Quotes

#88 Porsche 911 GT3 R

Nick Foster

“Overall the team did a really good job, the car is quick and in the end, we probably should have won the race so it was a bit disappointing getting hit off by the Audi at the first corner. We really should have come away with a win but P2 is still a really good podium finish and a good result for the team. It was a strong points finish for the team, so we will just chip away, make a few changes and try and make the car a bit quicker and keep at it.”

Devon Modell

“For me, the race was really good, Nick drove very well to bring the car back after being taken out at turn 1 to bring us back into contention. The team did a great job on the pitstop that brought us out in P2. I pushed to try and catch the leader but made a small mistake and ran out of laps to catch up, but we managed to keep a good enough pace to not get caught by the Mercedes behind. Overall the race was a great result when you consider that we were hit at turn one.”

#99 VLT Porsche 911 GT3 R

Darryl O’Young

“It was a really tough race for us, the guys had to do a lot of work on the transmission before the race. In the end, we didn’t have the balance we wanted with the car, so clearly something wasn’t right for this race. The guys did an amazing job to even get the car on the track so we are looking to get the car right for tomorrow’s race.”

Peter Li Zhi Cong

“It was a tough day for us because we had problems with the differential in qualifying. I must thank Craft-Bamboo as they managed to fix the problem in time for the race. Starting P17 in race one, I made a good start and was able to hand the car over to Darryl in P12, so I was happy to have gained some positions despite starting further back than I would have liked.”

#77 Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR

Frank Yu

“I had a good stint after getting off to a smooth start. I really enjoy racing here at Fuji and I had a great battle with the McLaren but it is just too fast to stick with. It is a big shame about the penalty because Jean-Marc and I had a really good race and we could have possibly challenged for the win.”

Jean-Marc Merlin

“Frank had the perfect start and stint. I missed the pit limit by 1/2 second but was able to make up for my mistake on the track after a lively battle with car #10. The McLaren is un-reachable so P2 is a good result which could have come easier.”

Race Two Quotes

#88 Porsche 911 GT3 R

Nick Foster

“All the changes we made overnight were a big improvement, so we were very quick on our stint and considering we didn’t have new tyres our pace was very strong and consistent over the whole race. Overall, it was a really strong weekend for the team, we showed the pace of the car with the pole position and podium and we aim to replicate this in Shanghai.”

Devon Modell

“It was a tough race for us after a difficult qualifying. The start was tough but we recovered well and made a position or two up from our grid position. I handed the car over to Nick who drove a great stint to bring us home P12 and fifth in class, even with our pit stop penalty as a result of our second place yesterday.”

#99 VLT Porsche 911 GT3 R

Darryl O’Young

“Race two was tough, we didn’t have the pace to stay with the guys in the front. I had a good start early on but ended up having to defend and fight. In the end P12, which is not where we want to be, so we need to begin making improvements for Shanghai. It is very competitive here, so we will need to work hard to get to a winning position.”

Peter Li Zhi Cong

“We finished P12 today in race two. I had some good overtakes on the first few laps and had very consistent race pace. It was a tough weekend for us, we were struggling all weekend for braking performance. Thank you to my team! I hope we can improve in Shanghai.”

#77 Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR

Frank Yu

“Todays’ race was quite good, Jean-Marc did a really good stint following car number ten the entire way. I came out in P4 and started to chase, but there was a lot of GT3 traffic, which really destroyed my flying laps. Thankfully, I managed to pass the #10 car at the last corner, which has put us back in the championship lead. Going forward, we need to work a bit harder to keep the championship lead.”

Jean-Marc Merlin

“We executed our game plan for race two. I was challenging car #10 for most of my stint. This slowed me down and allowed car #89 to catch up. The time penalty from our podium in race one was steep but Frank managed a brilliant overtake on the last turn for crucial championship points.”

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