Asia GT Challenge Report – Shanghai, April 29-30
The first two races of the Asia GT Challenge 2006 were held on 29-30
April 2006 at the Shanghai International Circuit – writes
Sergio Fonseca. The championship attracted a number of
drivers from the European circuits, including Spaniard Luiz Monzon
and Italian Luca Drudi from Mastercar and British drivers Aaron
Scott and Ted Reddick.
In addition, among the local drivers, there was
Porsche Carrera Cup Asia champion Matthew Marsh returning to the
series, and ART Macau Formula Renault 2.0 Team Manager and former
Formula Asia Macau GP winner Philippe Descombes as a new entrant.
The 2005 Asia GT Challenge champion Michael Lee had sold his black
Porsche 911 GT3 Cup to rookie Sasha Chu, and Michael Lee switched
to a Ferrari 360 Modena Challenge, in the yellow colors of his corporate
sponsor Colour Zone.
In all, the 2006 championship attracted 10 Ferrari
race cars, which was a new record for Asian motorsports, to compete
against 10 Porsches.
- 29 April
As already shown in the Friday practice sessions, the two drivers
in the Mastercar Ferrari 360 Modenas had the fastest pace early
in the first qualifying session, with Luca Drudi lapping in 2:19.176
and Luiz Monzon in 2:20.044. British driver (from Hong Kong) Matthew
Marsh showed good pace in his Porsche Cup car, but an electrical
problem resulted in a small fire in the car, and he could not compete
thereafter. The 2004 Asia GT Challenge champion Ray Li was also
strong in his Porsche 911 GT3 Cup but still 1.4 seconds off the
pace, closely followed by Wayne Shen and Francis Tjia from Modena
Motorsports with their Ferraris.
For the second qualifying session, it was basically
the same dominance from Master Car, with a blistering 2:17.981 from
Drudi on his first lap, leading his teammate by 1.2 seconds. Philippe
Descombes managed a respectable third place with 2:20.130. Unfortunately
the French driver would not race because of a gearbox problem.
Reports – 30 April
For race one, Luiz Monzon and Luca Drudi were 1-2 from start to
finish, leaving the final podium slot to be contest between Ray
Li, Wayne Shen, Francis Tjia, Michael Lee, Aaron Scott and Philip
Ma. Ray had the advantage of a good start in the Porsche, which
the Ferraris could not match without reliable launch control. Ray
Li drove a faultless race, and secured third place.
For race two,
the Mastercar boys also led from the start, but a strong start again
by Ray Li elevated him from sixth to third halfway through the first
lap. The race settled in three different groups, with more race
action in the rest of the field - whilst the two Master Car drivers
sped off. However, by lap nine, Luiz Monzon had brake failure, and
his race ended in the gravel. This promoted Ray Li to second and
Wayne Shen to third.
Aaron Scott had an awful weekend. Aaron's Ferrari 360 Modena Challenge
was badly handicapped with no front and rear spoilers, basically
he was driving without any aerodynamic aids at all.
Next Asia Supercar Challenge 2006 race will on July
22-23 at Shanghai.