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Craft-Bamboo Racing Scores China Endurance Series Podium in Ningbo

Craft-Bamboo Racing scored their first China Endurance Series podium of the season in Ningbo, China, this past weekend. The #95 Ligier JS P3 of James Winslow and Tanart Sathienthirakul took P3 in race one after a big battle early on saw them fight hard for position. The #96 Ligier JS P3 of Nathan Kumar and Jeffrey Zee showed strong performance during the opening stint, but a small mistake beached the car in the gravel trap and prematurely ended their race before the pit stop. Race two was more difficult, with the #95 opting for dry tyres, they opened strong but couldn’t match the pace of the wet option. The pair did well to adapt and finished P7, with the #96 Ligier finishing one spot behind in P8. The China Endurance Series heads to Zhuhai next month and Craft-Bamboo hopes for further development for round three.

Qualifying

#95 Ligier JS P3

James Winslow – P2: 1:42.551s
Tanart Sathienthirakul – P3: 1:42.900s

#96 Ligier JS P3

Nathan Kumar: P8: 1:47.199s
Jeffrey Zee: P9: 1:57.910s

Race One

#95 Ligier JS P3

James Winslow took control of the opening stint in the #95 Ligier from P2 and was thrust into an instant battle for the lead. He initially dropped down to P4 after the opening few laps before finding his pace and beginning to climb back up the order. Winslow worked his way back to P3 and pitted at the start of the pit window to hand over to Tanart Sathienthirakul. The Thai driver re-joined in P4 and after putting his head down, it wasn’t long before he was within reach of P3. With 15 minutes left, Sathienthirakul had made the pass and put the #95 in line for a podium finish. The #95 driver continued to push in the quest of reeling in P2 but the gap was too wide and he crossed the line in P3 to secure their first podium of the season.

#96 Ligier JS P3

Nathan Kumar kicked off the #96 Ligier’s race weekend from P8 and he maintained his start position over the opening couple of laps. Kumar was right on the pace and he was soon able to take two positions and move into P6 about half way through his stint. A small mistake saw him drop down to P7 but he was able to claw his way back. After trading blows for position, Kumar elected to remain on track following the opening of the pit window. Going for a quick in-lap, Kumar pushed too hard and veered off the track at T8, unfortunately beaching the car in the gravel trap and ending #96’s race.

Race Two

#95 Ligier JS P3

Sathienthirakul got a wet race two underway from P3 and made a strong start to capture the lead early on the opening lap with a great move around the outside. He was unable to hold his lead though and began to slip back, settling into P5 by the start of lap two. The #95 driver couldn’t match the raw speed of those at the front and by the opening of the pit window, Sathienthirakul handed the car over to Winslow in P8. He re-joined the race in same position but soon found himself fighting for position in P9. Winslow would spend the coming laps clawing back ground and with less than 20 minutes left was able to retake P8. He pushed on in the greasy conditions and continued to make headway, closing in on P7 in the final ten minutes. Winslow’s determination had paid off and by the end of Sunday’s main race, he managed to take P7 overall.

#96 Ligier JS P3

Jeffrey Zee helmed #96 for the start of race two and he did well to hold onto his P9 starting position. The #96 Ligier had chosen to go with wet tyres, which helped Zee in the slippery conditions, but he soon dropped back to P10. The #96 driver was showing great development and was putting in his best laps of the weekend. He ran consistently throughout and after a clean stint, he handed the car over to Nathan Kumar at the start of the pit window. Kumar joined the race in P10 and set about closing the gap. The Australian was putting in consistent lap times and was making headway as the race entered the final 20 minutes. Kumar had caught the tail of P9 and was soon able to make a move stick as he battled it out to the chequered flag. He would be rewarded for his persistence, claiming P8 with less than ten minutes remaining to secure a points finish to end their weekend.

Quotes

Darryl O’Young, Director of Craft-Bamboo Racing

"The weekend started off well, the team did a good job to turn the car around from the last race and get the car back on pace. Qualifying went well for #95 and they really deserved better results in the race. We are happy with the P3 podium in race one but when the weather conditions changed in race two, we struggled with pace so that wasn't ideal. With the #96 car, Nathan and Jeffrey are both new to prototype racing and they did an excellent job improving, which was the main priority for the weekend. We wanted to see them maximise and improve, and they did just that so it was great to see"

#95 Ligier JS P3

James Winslow

“This weekend we were strong, fastest outright in practice and qualifying on the front row, narrowly missing pole position after setting purple sectors but with a mistake in the final sector in the damp conditions. A strong podium in race one after a huge four car battle for the lead in the early laps didn’t quiet go our way, race two was looking to be ours for the taking after leading the first lap, but the wet weather and the dry tyres didn’t mix well after the circuit took much longer to dry than expected and the wet tyre cars dominated the race. A weekend of missed opportunity with good speed but a lot of bad luck. The CBR team and my co-driver Tanart were amazing and I’m looking forward to the next race.”

Tanart Sathienthirakul

“Race one went well, we started P2 but a small incident put us into P3 but when James passed the car to me everything was perfect. We managed to finish P3. For race two we chose the wrong tyre and we had a few problems as well. Overall though, I really enjoyed the weekend and learned a lot.”

#96 Ligier JS P3

Nathan Kumar

“Race one didn’t go ideally to plan for us in car 96, I made an error coming up the hill and over cooked it. Our pace up until then was good having made up two positions to be running in P6. I apologise to the team and my co-driver Jeffery for the mistake that ultimately cost us our race. “

“Race two was a difficult call for setup with ever changing greasy conditions but between the team we made the right tyre choice and ran on wets. My co-driver Jeffrey did a good job taking care of the tyres and the car and progressed very well over the course of the weekend. I got into the car and found it to be ever so compliant with my requests and managed to set decent lap times towards the end of the race and made up a position to finish overall in P8. We have learnt a lot to carry over to the next round in Zuhai, to which I am looking forward too.”

Jeffrey Zee

“The whole weekend has been a truly amazing experience for me to not only drive and race an LMP3 car but also work with such an exceptional team of professionals. Both my teammate and I have learned and improved tremendously with the car throughout all the unpredictable weather and track conditions. We were lucky to have switched to wets in the final minutes before race two and the decision proved to be more than helpful. Thanks again to Craft-Bamboo Racing for such an awesome opportunity!”