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Craft-Bamboo Racing kicks season off with P2 finish at Sepang



  • Cao Qi and Daniel Morad secures maiden overall podium finish in GT World Challenge Asia, despite heartbreak in Race 1

  • Strong progress for Jeffrey Lee and Fabian Schiller with two top-10 finishes

  • Craft-Bamboo Racing sits P3 in teams’ championship after opening two rounds at Sepang


Craft-Bamboo Racing kicked off their 2024 campaign in the Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia Powered by AWS in strong fashion with an overall P2 finish for Cao Qi (CHN) and Daniel Morad (CAN) in round 2 of the first weekend of the pan-Asian series. The pair consistently showcased strong pace around the Sepang International Circuit in the Haikou-liveried #30 Mercedes-AMG GT3, having recovered strongly after a disappointing puncture, dashed hopes of a win in round 1 on Saturday. Meanwhile, Jeffrey Lee (TPE) and Fabian Schiller (GER) had an eventful, but overall successful weekend in the sister J-Fly Racing-liveried #88 Mercedes-AMG GT3. The pair cut through the field in round 1 to finish in P8 despite starting in P22, and then battled a wounded car due to lap 1 damage in round 2, still managing to finish in the points with P9. The Hong Kong team now sits in P3 of the teams’ championship as they prepare to head to Thailand for the next two rounds of the Fanatec GT Asia series.



In 2024, Cao made the transition to the Pro-Am class, being paired up alongside Mercedes-AMG factory driver Morad. The pair featured consistently at the top of the timesheets as they continued to familiarize themselves with the 5.54km Malaysian Grand Prix circuit. Lee returned to the championship, aiming to battle more consistently at the sharp end of the grid alongside Schiller, who played a pivotal role in securing Craft-Bamboo Racing’s drivers’ championship title in 2023. 



Lee and Cao were out early in the first qualifying session, however it was increasingly difficult to find a clear track with a grid of 33 cars. A traffic-hindered session meant the #30 and #88 would start race 1 in P13 and P22 respectively. The second part of qualifying had a stronger performance, with Morad setting a quick time that would be good enough for the front-row and Schiller managing to get up to P5 as well for race 2.



As Saturday afternoon approached and teams prepared for the inaugural race of the season, ominous rain clouds loomed large over the Malaysian track. Heavy downpour led to an hour’s delay before the race finally got underway under the safety car. All teams faced a predicament with tire choice as the track was drying, but still extremely damp. A collective decision in the Craft-Bamboo Racing camp meant both Mercedes-AMG GT3s opted for the wet weather tires, which later proved to be the overwhelmingly correct choice. Cao and Lee enjoyed the grip advantage as they cut their way through the field, the #30 running in P2 before the pit stop and Lee elevating the #88 to P9 before handing over to Schiller. Morad continued to go faster as the track dried up, eventually taking the lead of the race. However, all the efforts came undone as the Canadian was forced to dive into the pits due to a puncture, dropping him down the order. Eventually the white and pink Mercedes-AMG finished just outside the points in P11. Schiller continued to make up ground throughout his stint, eventually crossing the finish line in P8.



Contrasting conditions on Sunday morning made it an ideal day for exciting racing action around the Sepang International Circuit, with the team confident as both cars started in the top 5. Morad had a tricky get away from P2 as carnage ensued in the mid-pack. However, the Canadian managed to hold onto his position, while Schiller was sandwiched between two cars and had contact on both sides, sustaining early damage which led to a loss of power for the rest of the race. However, he managed to slot into position and was even able to get himself up into P4 before diving into the pits for the driver change. Cao and Lee took over the #30 and #88 Mercedes-AMG GT3s, both maintaining position in P2 and P4. Lee was running safely in P6 before having a small spin, but recovering to still finish within the points in P9. Meanwhile Cao drove a composed stint, stylishly bringing the car home in P2 to secure a maiden overall podium for himself and Morad in the series.



Following an exhilarating first couple of rounds at Sepang, Craft-Bamboo Racing sits in P3 of the teams’ championship with 24 points, while Morad and Qi are in P4 of the drivers’ championship. Lee and Schiller are also on the board in P10 with 6 points. The second round of the series is set to be held at the Chang International Circuit in Thailand from the 10th to 12th of May. The Hong Kong team will look to repeat the feat of a 1-2 finish they achieved in 2023 at the same track.


 

Darryl O’Young

Team Director
Craft-Bamboo Racing
“I’m very happy with the result at Sepang, we worked really hard over the winter with the drivers to get up to speed and prepare ourselves for the season. It was a shame to lose the win in race 1, but the #30 Mercedes-AMG GT3 bounced back strong in race 2 to take the podium. I’m super happy with the way Jeffrey and Fabian drove as well, despite having problems with the car they still fought back to score points. There’s still a lot to work on as a team, one of the main things is working on improving the consistency in qualifying. Overall, I’m very happy with how all four drivers drove, they did an amazing job over the weekend and its a solid start to the season. We will be looking to take another step forward in Thailand.”


Daniel Morad

Driver
# 30 Craft-Bamboo Racing
“It was such a great way to kick off the championship. We missed out on victory in race 1 due to the puncture and then backed up our performance to secure P2 in race 2. Qi really impressed me with his progress and improvement throughout the weekend. I’m excited to come back in Suzuka and support the team and my friend.”


Cao Qi

Driver
# 30 Craft-Bamboo Racing
“I’m very happy to get my first podium with Craft-Bamboo Racing, it was such a special moment and I hope we can get more podium finishes in the future. Even though we missed out on our first win, I’m really thankful for the effort from the entire team and Daniel for the amazing performance throughout the weekend.”

Jeffrey Lee

Driver
# 88 Craft-Bamboo Racing
“It was a challenging weekend for myself and Fabian, we showed good speed during the races but ultimately couldn’t capitalize on it. It was a good starting point for us and we will work hard at the coming race in Thailand to fight for the podium."


Fabian Schiller

Driver
# 88 Craft-Bamboo Racing
“We had a challenging weekend on our side of our garage as we struggled with the car and we couldn't figure out why. Jeffrey drove really well in both races, the first race he did really well in controlling the car through tricky conditions and in the second race he made a great step forward from last year and his performance is a good base to start the season in. Once we figure out the issues with the car I’m sure we will be higher up in the ranking in the Pro-Am class and will have a good chance in fighting for the top 5 positions.”

 




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