Shanghai Blancpain: Patel scores back-to-back podiums
Audi India-backed Aditya Patel scored his second consecutive Blancpain Asia podium in the second race of the weekend at Shanghai.
After finishing as the runner-up in Saturday’s Race 11, Patel started sixth at a damp Shanghai International Circuit. With rain still falling down, the conditions were much trickier than it was a day before.
Patel held his position early on, but ran wide at turn 11 later in the race. This allowed two-time Le Mans winner Earl Bamber to pass through and steal P6.
When the #30 Bentley and the #75 Ferrari collided at turn 1 and initiated a Virtual Safety Car, Patel strategically stopped and handed over the #86 Audi R8 LMS to teammate Mitch Gilbert.
Despite having to serve a seven-second penalty due to finishing second in yesterday’s race, Gilbert came out of the pits in fourth place and gained three positions.
Thereafter, the Australian lost nearly half a lap behind a backmarker, but as soon as he got in clean air he started hammering down the top three runners.
With just over 12 minutes to go, he passed Bamber’s teammate Will Hardeman to elevate himself to one of the podium slots.
By this time, the top two runners were too far ahead, but Gilbert made a point by pulling away from Hardeman by 10 seconds.
Following the penultimate round of the season, Patel and Gilbert stay third in the championship but have closed the gap to the points-leading #5 Audi Hong Kong squad and the second-placed #999 Gruppe M Mercedes.
Shanghai Blancpain: Patel returns on podium in Race 1
Zhejiang Blancpain: Patel misses title despite double win