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GT3 Championship Points and GT4 Podium for Craft-Bamboo Racing in Thailand

Craft-Bamboo Racing has scored more Blancpain GT Series Asia championship points in the GT3 class as well as securing another second-place podium in the growing GT4 class in Thailand this past weekend. Home hero Sandy Stuvik, with teammate Shae Davies in the #911 Porsche 911 GT3 R, finished just outside the points in race one with P11, before a strong run in race two saw them finish P8. The #991 Porsche of Darryl O’Young and Aidan Read had a trying weekend in the Thai heat but they still managed to show some good fight with a P14 finish in race one. Race two was looking strong for the pair but a 30 second penalty dropped them from P12 to P17. Frank Yu and Jean-Marc Merlin continued to defend their drivers’ championship title in the #77 Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR. A P2 finish in race one followed by a P4 finish in race two now sees them in sit comfortably in P3, only four points behind second place. The team has everything to play for in Suzuka next month and will continue to work hard on developing their three Porsche’s to ensure they are ready to fight for the lead come race day.

Qualifying:

#911 Porsche 911 GT3 R

Q1: Sandy Stuvik: P14 - 01:35.109
Q2: Shae Davies: P14 - 01:34.756

#991 Porsche 911 GT3 R

Q1: Aidan Read: P12 - 01:34.729
Q2: Darryl O’Young: P17 - 01:35.314 (01:34.430 - Time removed for red flag infringement)

#77 Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR

Q1: Frank Yu: P3 - 01:45.675
Q2: Jean-Marc Merlin: P6 - 01:46.315

Race One

#911 Porsche 911 GT3 R

Sandy Stuvik was first up in the #911 Porsche from P14 and was thrust into battle for position in the midfield. He held his own and managed to jump ahead of the #991 sister car by the end of the first lap to move into P12. The pair fought a clean battle before Stuvik settled back into P13 and continued his stint. As the race progressed, Stuvik was able to make some headway up the order and soon found himself in P11. After a full course yellow slowed the proceedings, a ten-minute sprint to the pit stop window would see Stuvik pit to teammate Shae Davies from P12. Davies found himself in P10 after the field had settled down following the pitstops, one spot behind the #991 sister car. The Australian put his head down and soon managed to make the pass on #991 which saw him in P9 with 15 minutes remaining. It was incredibly competitive in the midfield and Davies got stuck into some good fights with the competition but eventually slipped back into P11 where he would cross the line soon after.

#991 Porsche 911 GT3 R

Aidan Read took control of the #991 Porsche for the start of race one and he made a clean start from P12 but found himself right in the mix during the opening lap. Read lost a place to the #911 sister car but soon regained his position as he settled into his own pace. The #991 driver kept pushing and began to climb up the order, breaking into the top ten half way through his stint. Read continued to put in a strong performance, holding his position before handing the car over to Darryl O’Young in P10. O’Young re-joined the race in P9 and he was looking good until a small mistake allowed the competition to squeeze past in the hotly contested midfield. Now running in P14, O’Young would have to work hard to gain back ground and he put in a consistent drive to the flag. The Hong Kong driver made it back to P12 but O’Young lacked the overall pace to make an effective challenge stick, soon dropping back to P14 where he would finish the hour-long sprint race.

#77 Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR

Frank Yu began Saturday’s race from P3 in the GT4 class but he did not get the start he had hoped for after racing incidents at turn one and three caused him to lose valuable positions early on. Yu fought back from P6 and steadily made his way up the field, managing to take P4 halfway through his stint. Yu maintained his P4 spot until he handed over to Jean-Marc Merlin who got back out on track in the same position for his march to the flag. Merlin ran in P4 for most of his stint, making no mistakes and keeping the pace with the GT4 front runners. His consistency paid off and in the final ten minutes he was able to move into P2 in the GT4 class where he would later finish to give the pair their second podium for the season.

Race Two

#911 Porsche 911 GT3 R

Shae Davies got off to a good start from P14 on Sunday, defending his position to remain in P14 at the end of lap one. Davies would find himself in P14 for his entire stint, keeping pace with the pack to hand the car over to home hero, Sandy Stuvik. Davies’ hard work in the opening stint had paid off and Stuvik joined the battle in P10, giving the pair a good shot at some more championship points. It would not be easy though as Stuvik began trading places with the opposition. He briefly slipped back to P11 but fought back and found his way up to P9 with roughly ten minutes remaining. Stuvik’s march up the order continued and was running as high as P7 before taking the chequered flag in P8 to secure their second points finish of the season.

#991 Porsche 911 GT3 R

Darryl O’Young started P17 in the #991 Porsche due to a red flag infringement received during qualifying and he knew it was going to be a tough race. Unfortunately, the #991 had lacked the pace throughout the weekend in the Thai heat but he put in a solid stint to keep the #991 in the mix and bring the car back to Aidan Read in P17. Read was able to gain a place during the pitstop shuffle and found himself fighting to the flag from P16. The Aussie was making ground but after gaining some places, a small mistake put him back into P16 with 15 minutes left. Read wasn’t fazed and got right back into the fight, climbing four spots to P12 with five minutes to go. Read had done an excellent job and finished the race in P12 but a very unfortunate ruling by the stewards would see the #991 Porsche dropped to P17 with a 30 second penalty applied for overtaking outside track limits.

#77 Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR

Jean-Marc Merlin was off to a good start, gaining a place on the rolling start to see him running in P5 from the second lap. The ever competitive GT4 class was a challenge and Merlin was duking it out for position. He dropped a spot in the early stages of his stint but found his feet and was up to P4 when he gave the car to Frank Yu for the final stint of the weekend. With a ten second success penalty to contend with, Yu had a very difficult job ahead of him and he joined the race in P4. It was an extensive gap to the car in front and behind, but Yu did his best to reel in P3. Yu ran a flawless race but was unable to catch the car ahead as the clock ran down. He would bring the #77 Porsche home in P4 and thanks to their successful weekend they now sit in P3, only four points behind second place.

Quotes

Russell O’Hagan, Operations Director of Craft-Bamboo Racing

“Another strong team weekend where we maximised everything at our disposal but where the conditions just didn’t favour our cars. It’s been frustrating, but we know the results will come from now on and I am looking forward to seeing the drivers and team rewarded for their hard work, dedication and patience. Congratulations to Frank Yu and Jean Marc Merlin for another GT4 podium and keeping their title defence season alive. I would also like to thank our partners, Singha and B-Quik for all their support this weekend.”

Sandy Stuvik, #911 Porsche 911 GT3 R

“It is always a joy to drive in your home race and it felt great to compete in front of all the Thai fans who came to spectate. I am glad that the event was a success from our side. The car performed well during the free practice sessions and we made some good steps in the setup to improve the car. We were hoping for a higher position in qualifying though.

Race one was a bit difficult as we struggled with understeer but eventually got that sorted for race two. So, it was a great job by the team and I am really happy with all the work they have done this weekend. It is a great feeling to score points at my home race. For the next round in Suzuka we hope for conditions that suit the Porsche a little bit better. We will aim high as always and continue the positive work that has been carried out by the team and my teammate, Shae Davies.”

Shae Davies, #911 Porsche 911 GT3 R

“I had a strong stint during the race, I felt quite confident and I felt we got the most from the car. We just struggled too much in the heat, but I was able to have some good battles and fight against my competitors as much as possible.”

“Race two I also had a strong stint, we were running quite well this weekend and the car took a big step forward on setup. This was a positive sign but overall the pace of the car has not been there but hopefully in Japan it will be stronger. We were able to finish P8 and we made no mistakes during the race, so overall we got the most out of the car as a team and we scored points off other people’s mistakes which should prove valuable later in the season.”

Darryl O’Young, #991 Porsche 911 GT3 R

“Race one was a tough race, we didn’t really have the pace to fight. Aidan had a good stint and he held the car in the points and passed it to me, but I had a tough stint to maintain the pace. When I got passed by one car, I lost momentum and then a train of cars got by in one go, so that was a tough result. During my entrance and Aidan’s exit from the pits we were obstructed by slower cars, which lost us a very frustrating five seconds. This really hindered us, and we didn’t finish in the points, so disappointing overall.”

“After the penalty in qualifying we started P17 in race two. I pushed hard to have a good start but didn’t have the pace to overtake. I passed the car to Aidan who made up a couple of positions but in the end, we finished P12 just outside the points. We don’t want to come here to just make up the numbers, so hopefully things will turn around in Suzuka. The team will work hard between the races to make that happen.”

Aidan Read, #991 Porsche 911 GT3 R

“Race one I had a good stint, early on I had a battle with my teammate Sandy, but I was able to get back past him and make a gap. This was probably the best result we could get, and it was good to be able to pass the car over to Darryl who completed a good stint. Unfortunately, we finished outside the points which was disappointing.”

“Race two I fought back hard and tried to get past as many cars as possible. Unfortunately, we got a penalty at the end of the race for overtaking over track limits. This set us back a lot thanks to a 30 second penalty. We gave it all we could but couldn’t get the result we wanted. We look forward to Suzuka where the car should take a big step and we hope to be back on track in Japan.”

Frank Yu, #77 Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR

Race One: “I had a really bad start, there was an incident in turn one that cost me a few positions and there was contact in turn three which lost me some more positions but then I fought back. I handed the car to Jean-Marc in P4 and he drove a really good race as we finished P2 in the end.”

Race Two: “Jean-Marc started the race and did a great job, but we had a ten second success penalty from Saturday and that really hurt us. During my stint I couldn’t catch the car in front of us as we were doing the same lap times. They were 12 seconds ahead of me and the car behind was 25 seconds, so all I had to do was cruise and came back and finished fourth. Good points this weekend and we look forward to Suzuka.”

Jean-Marc Merlin, #77 Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR

“Both races were quite symmetrical, fun and entertaining for the driver at the start and then quite lonely for the second half. On pace, there is not much we can do against the new generation GT4 Mercedes and BMW, so we are quite happy with our points because we could take advantage of the problem on those cars. Overall a very good weekend and a very enjoyable track.”