Melvin Moh closes championship gap to 7 points after damage limitation
Kevin Tse retains lead in Real-AM title chase after 2nd place finish at Spa
GT World Challenge Asia Esports Championship
The penultimate round of the 2020 GT World Challenge Asia Esports Championship at Spa Francorchamps saw Craft-Bamboo Racing’s title battle heat up in the Real-Pro and Real-Am categories. Melvin Moh had a great comeback drive after being taken out early on by a backmarker, and closed the gap to just 7 points. In the Real-Am class, Kevin Tse retained his championship lead by taking his 4th podium in a row.
The Real-PRO class was full of drama right on the first lap, with Melvin Moh in the #7 Motul Mercedes-AMG GT3 starting on the front row. Moh was right in the mix as the three title contenders diced for position, but halfway around the opening lap, the championship leader disconnected, presenting a great opportunity for Moh to score maximum points. However, as the Motul driver came up to lap a back-marker several laps later, there was unfortunate contact and Moh dropped down the order to 9th position. Moh got his head down and pushed hard for the remainder of the opening stint and made his mandatory pit-stop with 30 minutes to go. Moh was able to put in a strong second half of the race to recover to 5th place and closed the championship gap down to just 7 points with one final race to go.
Matt Solomon, in the #36 Vita Juice Mercedes-AMG GT3 finished in 14th outright after unavoidable contact with a spinning car coming out of Eau Rouge took him out of contention. Darryl O’Young finished 29th in his #55 Vita VLT liveried Mercedes-AMG GT3. Fresh from his weekend at the Macau Grand Prix, O’Young got caught up in a lap 1 incident hitting a spinning car, forcing him to enter the pit for a lengthy repair. Alex Liang had a disappointing race after starting in 6th position, dropping down the order after contact and damage to his #99 Motul Mercedes-AMG GT3, and was unable to finish the race.
Real-AM title leader Kevin Tse started from pole position in class with his main rival behind him. Tse, at the wheel of his #38 Motul Mercedes-AMG GT3, got a good start but relinquished the class lead during the opening lap exchange of positions. Several laps later however, Tse took the class lead back again after the leader was caught up in slower traffic. Tse drove a great stint, running as high as 4th outright before pitting with just 10 minutes to go. However as he emerged from the pits, the lead was lost as his title rival managed to undercut the strategy. He eventually crossed the line 2nd in class, to take his fourth podium finish of the season out of four races, and retained his 13 point lead in the championship.
In the Sim-PRO class, Motul driver Charles Theseira had a great race in tricky wet conditions and finished 7th overall, scoring his fourth points finish in a row. Craft-Bamboo Racing welcomed TCL as a sponsor for the remaining 2 races, with Mikko Nassi driving the #8 TCL #8 Mercedes-AMG GT3 entry in the Sim-PRO category. The Singaporean-based Finn drove a strong race in the red and white TCL-livered Mercedes and despite being this being his debut in the Sim-PRO class, showed signs of his strong pace and crossed the line in 11th.
The title battles will go down to the wire at the final race of the 2020 GT World Challenge Asia Esports Championship at Suzuka, on the 8th of December. Melvin Moh will be gunning for top honours in the Real-PRO category, and Kevin Tse will be looking to end his strong first season on a high in the Real-AM class.
Kevin Tse | Driver #38 Motul Mercedes-AMG GT3
“I was really happy with my Qualifying with a lap that was faster than what I thought was possible. My main rival, Billy Lo, was right behind me at the start but was able to get ahead. However he got tangled up whilst lapping traffic and the lead came back to me, giving me the championship lead! However after the pit-stops Billy was able to get ahead as I lost a bit of time in some on-track battles. Overall I had really good pace with a setup that worked well, and it was a solid race with no mistakes or crashes. I would have loved to seal the title at Spa, but we go to Suzuka with a 13 point lead. I will be a bit more conservative and aim to finish in the top four positions, which will give me enough points for the Real-AM title!”
Melvin Moh | Driver #7 Motul Mercedes-AMG GT3
“Happy to close in on the championship standings after a tough race for me as I had an incident with my team mate who was a lap down. Not quite the thing I was looking for but it is what it is. Having said that, we are still in a fighting chance for the championship and I will be giving my all in the next race!”
Mikko Nassi | Driver #8 TCL Mercedes-AMG GT3
“Huge thanks to TCL and Craft-Bamboo Racing for having me onboard for the GT World Challenge Asia Esports Championship! It was a tricky event with a lot of rain. Qualifying was quite average but really good race pace until I hit bad luck with a back-marker that unfortunately spun onto the racing line. I really enjoyed racing in this series and I’m looking forward to Suzuka where we can have a strong performance at the final race of the 2020 series!”