Suzuka Blancpain: Patel scores fourth podium of 2017
India’s Aditya Patel scored his fourth Blancpain GT Asia podium finish at Japan's Suzuka Circuit on Saturday.
Patel, who races an Audi R8 LMS GT3 alongside teammate Mitch Gilbert for OD Racing, qualified on the front row of the grid for the first race of the weekend.
The 29-year-old didn’t get the best of starts off the line and was passed by Marchy Lee in the #5 Audi, who subsequently dispatched the pole-sitting #99 Porsche of Darryl O’Young to take the lead.
However, the Audi India-backed driver showed consistent pace from there on, piling early pressure on O’Young before successfully defending against the #28 Ferrari.
During the mandatory mid-race stop, he handed over the car to Mitch Gilbert for the second stint. The Australian initially dropped to fourth behind the the #88 Porsche, but reeled in #99 Porsche’s Petter Li with 10 minutes to go to return to podium spots.
He eventually crossed the line 7.68ss behind runner-up Nick Foster and Devon Modell in the #88 Porsche, with the #5 Audi of Shaun Thong Wei Fung and Lee taking the victory.
After a mixed weekend in Thailand which included a DNF, the podium result puts the Indo-Australian duo back in contention for the championship.
The two drivers will return to action tomorrow for the second race of the Suzuka weekend.
Buriram Blancpain: Patel scores podium in Race 2
Shanghai Blancpain: Patel returns on podium in Race 1