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Double podium for EWS Craft-Bamboo Racing in the China GT Championship

6 May 2019
For Immediate Release

- Jazeman Jaafar and Frank Yu score two podium finishes in two races
- Jeffrey Lee and Darryl O’Young finish fourth and fifth to secure valuable championship points
- EWS Craft-Bamboo Racing sit in 2nd place in the GT3 Team Championship
- Jazeman Jaafar and Frank Yu move up to 2nd overall in the Driver’s Championship standings

Qualifying Results

#77 EWS Craft-Bamboo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3
Qualifying 1 – Jazeman Jaafar - P4 | 1:42.492
Qualifying 2 - Frank Yu - P7 | 1:46.816

#88 EWS Craft-Bamboo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3
Qualifying 1 – Darryl O’Young - P3 | 1:41.802
Qualfiying 2 – Jeffrey Lee - P3 | 1:44.953

After showing great pace last time out in Sepang for the opening weekend of the 2019 China GT Championship, the #77 entry of Jazeman Jaafar and Frank Yu had their sights set high for the weekend in Ningbo going into the first race of the weekend. However the #88 car was strapped with a 50kg success ballast after taking the win at Sepang, meaning Jeffrey Lee and Darryl O’Young were on a mission of damage limitation for the first race, with an aim to score strong points in race 2.

RACE 1 RECAP

#77 EWS Craft-Bamboo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3
Frank Yu took the start for the #77 car from 4th place, but going into turn 1 he was on the outside and ran wide, unfortunately losing 4 positions on the opening lap. In next few laps, he fought back up to 7th, and continued to chase the pack ahead to close up the gap. His great pace meant that Yu moved up another place before handing the car over to teammate Jazeman Jaafar.

After the pitstop window, Jaafar found himself still in P6 and began his fight on the way up through the field. He quickly set up a pass and overtook for 4th. The talented Malaysian proceeded to scyth through the field, eventually catching the tail of the P2 BMW with 10mins to go. With a decisive move, Jaafar passed for 2nd place in the closing stages and took the chequered flag in P2 overall, scoring the #77 entry yet another podium result.

#88 EWS Craft-Bamboo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3
Darryl O’Young had an excellent start from 3rd on the grid, immediately fighting past to go into P2 on the first lap. He did a brilliant job defending from the chasing cars but dropped back down to 3rd in a thrilling opening exchange. The Hong Kong race driver eventually managed to fight his way back past the 2nd placed driver on lap 3, but with the #88 carrying the 50kg success ballast from the previous round, was unable to challenge for the lead. The team extended his stint slightly, making full use of the empty track to set some strong laps in before handing the car over to teammate Jeffrey Lee.

Upon re-joining the track, Lee was baulked by slower traffic and got overtaken by the car behind. During his stint, the Taiwanese driver had to play a game of tyre management whilst keeping the gap from his competitors. Smart driving meant that when Lee noticed the sister #77 car closing quickly behind, he gave plenty of space for the #77 Mercedes-AMG GT3 to pass. Lee eventually crossed the line in a hard fought 5th place, after making a pass on the final lap.

RACE 2 RECAP

#77 EWS Craft-Bamboo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3
Malaysian racing talent Jazeman Jaafar had his work cut out for him, starting the race for the #77 car in P7. He quickly set to work making quick progression in the opening laps, and within the first 10 minutes, he was on the tail of the 3rd place car, putting them under immense pressure. Soon after, Jaafar spotted an opportunity and set up a good exit and passed for 3rd place. He continued to push hard, progressively closing the gap to the leading pair of cars.

Near the end of Jaafar’s stint, there was a car stranded in turn 9 which had a small fire, forcing the first safety car of the weekend. It was the perfect opportunity to pit Jaafar to hand the car over to Frank Yu. An perfect pit stop from the crew meant that frank emerged in the lead of the race after the pitstop. After safety car ended, Yu had contact with a backmarker right after the restart, sustaining damage to the right front and barely made it to the finish with bodywork cutting into the tyre. Against all odds, the experienced GT driver nursed the car to the end finished the race in 3rd, claiming two podiums in two races for EWS Craft-Bamboo Racing.

#88 EWS Craft-Bamboo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3
Jeffrey Lee started from P3 and had a clean start, holding his ground into turn 1 whilst avoiding contact at the tight Ningbo circuit. Thinking about the championship, Lee drove a steady and smart stint up against the pro drivers, with the aim of maintaining the gap to the leaders. After a consistent few laps, he caught and passed the 6th placed car before handing the Mercedes-AMG GT3 over to Darryl O’Young with just over half distance to go.

O’Young’s strong out laps at the beginning of his stint meant that he managed to close the gap to the cars in front, setting car #88 up for a strong chance at victory. However, right before the pit stop window ended, the potential for a win was diminished due to an untimely safety car period that allowed 3 other cars to make their driver change under the safety car. This effectively put #88 and most of the field a lap down from the top 3 cars, and despite his best efforts to close the monumental gap, O’Young’s pace was unrealised finishing the race in 4th. On a positive note, the car crew still managed to pick up valuable points for Lee to keep him in a strong championship position.

After a thrilling and tense weekend of racing in Ningbo, EWS Craft-Bamboo Racing sits 2nd in the overall GT3 Teams Championship, whilst the #77 entry of Frank Yu and Jazeman Jaafar move up to P2 in the Drivers Championship, and Jeffrey Lee for the #88 car in 3rd. The 2019 China GT Championship season heads to Shanghai next on June 28th, for Rounds 5 & 6.

QUOTES

Russell O’Hagan
Operations Director of EWS Craft-Bamboo Racing
“I want to thank the team and drivers for a good performance over a challenging weekend. A great double podium was a worthy return for the hard work of the #77 car after some earlier setbacks. Unfortunately, a very frustrating deployment of the safety car in Race 2 prevented the #88 car from realising their full potential. I am confident a win was possible under more conventional circumstances and I have no doubt the next round in Shanghai deliver the rewards so richly deserved this time out”

Jazeman Jaafar | Driver
#77 EWS Craft-Bamboo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3
“A positive takeaway from the second weekend of the China GT Championship! We achieved 2 podiums in 2 races, which now puts us in 2nd place in the overall standings. A quick turnaround and solid effort by the team after an issue in Free Practice. We hope to carry this strong momentum onwards to Shanghai and the rest of the season. The battle for the championship is tight at the top, so we need to keep improving on our weak points to stay in the fight for the title!”

Frank Yu | Driver
#77 EWS Craft-Bamboo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3
“I had high expectations going into this Ningbo weekend after a successful first outing in the China GT Championship in March. To score two podiums in two races here despite the damage that I sustained in Race 2 shows our potential in this series, and I hope to carry this strong form with Jazeman into the rest of the season!"

Jeffrey Lee | Driver
#88 EWS Craft-Bamboo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3
“Despite going into the weekend being disadvantaged with a weight handicap from the previous race, I felt that we did a great job to limit the damage in terms of the championship. It was great to be able to score lots of points and driving beside Darryl for the first time showed the great potential that we have for the remainder of this championship. Already looking forward to the next round in Shanghai!”

Darryl O'Young | Driver
#88 EWS Craft-Bamboo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3
"It was a nice weekend racing with EWS Craft-Bamboo Racing and Jeffrey. I've known Jeffrey for over 10 years but it was our first time racing together. It would've been nice to take a win this weekend, and all the pieces were there in race 2 to fight for the win, but the safety car procedure really threw that win away for us, which was a big shame. Thanks to the sponsors for making this race possible and I'm glad we still scored good points, keeping Jeffrey and the team in the fight for the title."