Patel wins on Blancpain Asia debut
OD Racing duo of Aditya Patel and Mitch Gilbert won the opening round of Blancpain GT Series Asia on their debut, claiming a lights-to-flag win in Race 1.
After showing strong pace in the run up to the weekend, particularly in second practice, single-seater convert Gilbert put his Audi R8 LMS on pole position for Saturday’s race.
The Australian made a slightly slower getaway than fellow frontrow starter Anthony Liu Xi, but was able to retake the lead in the opening sequence of the corners.
However, the battle between the leading duo was interrupted soon after, as a crash between Clearwater Racing’s Richard Wee and the BMW of Jun San Chen brought out the safety car.
Once the action resumed, Gilbert was quick to show off his reflexes, establishing a buffer for himself at the front of the field.
Patel took over the car with nearly 25 minutes remaining, carrying on Gilbert’s good work to take a comfortable nine second victory.
Behind, Gilbert’s early challenger Liu Xi fell down the order with damage, leaving the second spot up for grabs.
In the end it was former Ferrari junior Raffaele Marciello (along with teammate Hunter Abbott) who claimed the runner-up spot, after overtaking a slew of drivers in his #999 Mercedes AMG GT3.
Driving a BMW M6 GT3, Jesse Krohn and Ollie Millroy finished third for FIST Team AAI, making sure all three German luxury manufacturers were represented on the podium.
Patel and Gilbert start Sunday’s race from ninth on the grid, with the Indian driving the car in the first stint.
Audi teams offered extra incentive to participate in GT Asia
Sepang Blancpain: Podium for Patel in Race 2