Buriram Blancpain: Patel scores podium in Race 2
India’s Aditya Patel and OD Racing Audi teammate Mitch Gilbert secured a podium finish in the second round of Blancpain GT Series Asia in Thailand.
With a victory and a podium in the opening round, Patel and Gilbert arrived at Buriram’s Chang International Circuit as championships leaders.
Eventual Race 1 ends in retirement
Having qualified third on the grid for Race 1, Gilbert and Patel were in a prime position for another podium finish.
However, their bid to continue their rostrum streak was thwarted on the first lap alone when Gilbert made contact with Hunter Abbort’s #999 Gruppe Mercedes, suffering a puncture in the process.
A safety car period brought the OD Racing outfit back into contention with Patel running as high as 10th place, but a gearbox problem forced him to retire the car from the race.
At the front of the pack, the #38 Spirit of Race took a comfortable victory in a Ferrari 488 GT3, leading home a quartet of Audis.
The #5 Audi Hong Kong secured the runner-up spot, while the #6 Audi R8 LMS squad completed the podium positions.
Podium in Race 2
Patel started the second race in the heart of the midfield in 11th position, but was able to take advantage of a multi-car pile-up at Turn 5 to rocket up to fourth place.
However, after the safety car retreated, Patel came under pressure from a gaggle of cars, dropping to seventh place in a matter of laps.
At this point of time, OD Racing rolled the dice by calling in the Indian for the mandatory stop, who handed over the car to Gilbert.
The undercut worked in the team’s favour, with Gilbert promoted to fifth place as the order after the pitstops became clear.
The Australian then initiated a charging drive, passing the #7 Absolute Racing Audi before hammering down the #39 Spirit of Race Ferrari.
On the final lap, Gilbert found a way around Ferrari’s Jiang Xing to book a spot on the final spot on the podium.
It was the Indo-Australian pair’s third podium of the season in four races and keeps them firmly in the championship hunt, despite the retirement in Race 1.
At the front of the field, Abbort and Maximilian Buhk took a comfortable 11 seconds victory in the #999 GruppeM Mercedes, while Marchy Lee and Shaun Thong Wei Fung were classified second in the #5 Audi Hong Kong,
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