15 October 2019
For Immediate Release
It was a great start to the weekend for EWS Craft-Bamboo Racing at the season finale of the 2019 China GT Championship, as Alessio Picariello scored his second Pole Position of the year for Race 1, and Jeffrey Lee qualifying 6th for Race 2 on Sunday.
Lee and Picariello were in prime position to control the race from the start in Race 1, but were unfortunate to be hit from behind and dropped down the order. They managed to fight back to the front, and crossed the line in first position but a harsh penalty for being just under the minimum pit time relegated them down to 8th place. In Race 2, the pair were determined to end the season with a strong result, and despite sustaining damage after being hit again by an am class car, flawless stints from both drivers meant that the pair achieved their 7th podium result of the year. This result means that Jeffrey Lee clinches 2nd place in the Drivers Championship for the 2019 China GT Championship, closing off a strong debut year with Mercedes-AMG. Alessio Picariello finishes just behind Jeffrey Lee in the standings in 3rd, and EWS Craft-Bamboo Racing finish runners up in 2nd place in the teams championship.
Qualifying 1 | Alessio Picariello
P1 – 2:02.991
Qualifying 2 | Jeffrey Lee
P6 – 2:08.571
Jeffrey Lee took the start for the #88 entry from Pole Position after a stunning qualifying lap from Alessio Picariello on Friday. Lee got off to a great start, placing his Mercedes-AMG GT3 perfectly to hold the lead on the opening sequence of corners. However, going into the final hairpin on the first lap, contact from behind spun Lee around, dropping him down the order and leaving him with damage to the rear. He was able to continue, and pushed on to close up the time lost despite the damage.
Just as Picariello took over the controls of the #88 Mercedes-AMG GT3, a well-timed safety car meant that the gaps were closed right up, giving the young Belgian prime position to strike. When the race resumed, Picariello was immediately on the attack and proceeded to scythe his way through the slower traffic. With 20 minutes to go, Picariello already worked his way up to 3rd place and was on the back of the leading pair. In a sequence of 2 corners, Picariello spotted an opportunity and managed to overtake the two cars in front, inheriting the lead of the race. He then controlled the pace from the front, and crossed the line 1st overall. However, it appeared that the #88 car had picked up an unfortunate 60 second penalty due to being 0.064 seconds under the minimum pit-stop time, dropping the team down to P8 in the GT3 class.
After the realization that they had missed out on the championship from the result in Race 1, Lee and Picariello were determined to end the season on a high. Picariello took the start from 6th place, and his great reactions and bravery on the outside of turn 1 meant he was already in 3rd position by the end of the first lap. However, similar to the opening lap in Race 1, there was contact with an am-class car resulting in damage to the rear suspension of the #88 Mercedes-AMG GT3. Despite the damage, Picariello managed to get into a rhythm with the pros just up ahead and pulled away from the 4th placed car. Picariello’s stint was faultless, and in the ensuing laps, continued to apply pressure to the leaders.
When Taiwanese GT driver Jeffrey Lee took over the driving duties, a perfect pit-stop meant that he emerged in 2nd place after the pit window. Lee realized the gap to the car in front, and put his head down to close up the gap for an attempt at the lead later on despite the damage from the start of the race. He continued to push, setting personal best laps whilst making no mistakes. Despite his strong pace, Lee was unable to pass the leading car, and crossed the line in second place, taking the #88 entry’s 7th podium finish of the 2019 China GT Season.
Darryl O’Young | Director of Craft-Bamboo Racing
Really tough weekend, In the first race we had contact from behind on lap 1, and despite finishing 1st, we received a penalty dropping us down the order. In race 2 again we had contact, which again wasn’t our fault, but were still fortunate to bring it home in 2nd after great drives from Jeffrey and Alessio. We had the pace to win but couldn’t capitalize. Definitely a tough one but thanks to the crew and the drivers for all their effort this season.”
Jeffrey Lee | Driver #88 Mercedes-AMG GT3
“It was not the way we wanted to end the year, finishing in second place in the championship due to having the victory taken away from us in Race 1. Especially after we had shown such strong pace in the recent races. However it must be said we crossed the line in 1st position on pure pace, and it shows our strength in this competitive championship, so there are positives to take away from this season. Id like to thank EWS Craft-Bamboo Racing for the great support and operations this year, to give us these strong results with Mercedes-AMG.”
Alessio Picariello | Driver #88 Mercedes-AMG GT3
“After a great start to the weekend by taking my second pole position of the season, it seemed that it was not going our way after being hit in Race 1. Jeffrey drove well despite the damage and handed the car to me in 8th, but a lucky safety car meant that I was just behind the pack, and managed to fight my way through, eventually crossing the line in 1st place. However we received a 60 second penalty for being 0.064 under the minimum pit-stop time, losing the victory and our championship hopes too. We managed to finish the season well with a 2nd place on Sunday and ended the season strongly for Mercedes-AMG, but it leaves us wanting more. Special thanks to the crew and the team for all their hard work this year.”