Lights-to-flag win for Origine’s Lu and Heinrich

GT challenge Asia : Sepang Race 2
Lu Wei and Laurin

Heinrich clinched a commanding victory from pole position in Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia Powered by AWS’s second 60-minute race at Sepang. 

The Origine Motorsport Porsche was never troubled after Heinrich pulled nine seconds clear of Daniel Morad in the opening stint before Lu took the chequered flag 14 seconds ahead of the same Mercedes-AMG also driven by Cao Qi. The result was a tonic of sorts for Craft-Bamboo’s #30 crew, whose Race 1 podium chances were ended by a puncture.

Absolute Racing’s post-race penalty for final lap contact with Climax’s #22 Mercedes-AMG promoted Harmony’s Silver class-winning Ferrari shared by Luo Kailuo and Liang Jiatong to third overall. 

Silver-Am was won for the second time this weekend by Origine’s other 911 despite Yuan Bo and Leo Ye Hongli serving a five-second success penalty for their Race 1 overall podium. Further back, The Spirit of FFF Racing’s Mineki Okura and Hiroshi Hamaguchi clinched Am victory in their Audi by passing AMAC’s Porsche on the final lap.

Victory by 14 seconds was no less than Origine’s #4 Porsche deserved after Heinrich converted his Q2 pace – the German qualified 0.5s faster than anyone else – into a commanding lead by the end of the opening stint.

Markus Winkelhock’s spinning Audi helped the likes of Alessio Picariello, Joel Eriksson and Tsubasa Kondo make significant gains at turn one on the opening lap. But none of that concerned Heinrich who powered clear after initially holding off Morad, Ralf Aron, Fabian Schiller and the fast-starting Jordan Love.

Picariello and Eriksson both passed Love before the leading Pros all pitted towards the end of the 10-minute window. A short Full Course Yellow period triggered by Elegant Racing’s crashed Mercedes-AMG coincided with some of those stops, but the order and gaps were largely unaffected.

As such, Lu emerged with his healthy lead over Cao intact. And although it reduced initially, Origine’s Porsche eventually pulled clear of the Craft-Bamboo Mercedes-AMG which completed a trouble-free race in second.

Behind, Wang Zhongwei was also on course for a podium until Anthony Liu – who’d earlier passed Jeffrey Lee – tapped the Climax Mercedes-AMG into a spin at the final corner on the last lap. Liu continued to take third on the road but was penalised 33 seconds in lieu of a drive-through penalty before the podium ceremony took place. 

That elevated Harmony’s Ferrari to the overall rostrum after the leading Silver-graded driver, Liang, passed several amateurs in the second stint. He was helped by the fierce battle for fourth that initially featured Lee and Prince Abu Bakar Ibrahim but eventually included Sun JingZu (Phantom Global Racing), Zhou Bihuang (VSR) and Min Heng (Climax Racing) who squabbled between themselves. 

But the order became clearer once VSR’s Lamborghini completed a stop-go for a short pitstop and Climax’s Mercedes-AMG was black flagged for failing to serve a similar penalty. Those plus Liu’s extra time post-race elevated Ibrahim and Love’s Triple Eight JMR entry to fourth overall and third in Pro-Am, while Wang and Aron – who were one corner away from an overall podium – salvaged fifth.

There was a second Silver-Am win for Yuan and Ye whose Porsche was part of the racing incident that spun Winkelhock around at the start. Ye dropped four places to eighth as a result but remained in contention to give Yuan a chance in the second stint. However, their cause was also undoubtedly helped by the black flag that accounted for erstwhile class leaders Min and Jaylyn Robotham.

Audi Sport Asia Team Absolute’s James Yu and Akash Nandy were less than a second behind their class rivals in seventh, while Saturday’s winners Franky Cheng and Adderly Fong completed the top eight despite serving the maximum 15-second success penalty.

Lee and Schiller (Craft-Bamboo), and Hiroaki Nagai and Yuta Kamimura (Porsche Center Okazaki) rounded out the overall points scoring positions.

Further back, Liu and Picariello’s penalty dropped Absolute’s Porsche from third to 12th.

Next up it’s Chang International Circuit in Thailand, which hosts rounds three and four on May 10-12.

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