Dan Wells and Oscar Lee wrap up class championship at penultimate round in Shanghai
DW Evans GT sealed the 2023 Lamborghini Super Trofeo Asia PRO-AM title at the penultimate round of the season and the final outing on Asian soil this year, after Dan Wells and Oscar Lee took their seventh class victory in the Lamborghini Osaka Huracán Super Trofeo EVO2 to take an unassailable points lead.
Overall winners in both races at China’s 5.451km Shanghai International Circuit were newly-crowned champions, Absolute Racing’s Chris van der Drift and Marco Giltrap, the Kiwi duo driving the Lamborghini Auckland car.
Second in race one was the TRT Racing entry of Jonathan Cecotto and Li Qiang, who denied third-placed Wells and Lee the PRO-AM class win. Just off the podium were Harmony Racing’s PRO pair Super Trofeo junior Xu Shenghui and David Chen Wei’an, ahead of AM class winners Aniwat Lommahadthai and Pasarit Promsombat at Star Performance by Absolute. HZO Fortis Racing Team’s Hairie and Haziq Oh took Lamborghini Cup honours after a sensational run to the flag.
Van der Drift and Giltrap were once again untouchable with another dominant charge from pole in race two, but this time Wells and Lee would not be denied the PRO-AM win, clinching the title in the process. Lommahadthai and Pasarit took the third overall podium place, winning the Am class ahead of title rivals Brian Lee and John Kwon of SQDA – GRIT Motorsport with whom they had started the race equal on points at the top of the class leaderboard. Siamgas Corse’s Supachai Weeraborwornpong was back on top in the Lamborghini Cup class, crossing the line ahead of Iron Lynx driver Kumar Prabakaran and the Oh brothers.
Both the AM and Lamborghini Cup titles will go down to the wire at the final round of the 2023 season which precedes the World Finals at Italy’s Circuit de Vallelunga on November 18 and 19. In the AM class, the title fight is now Thailand versus South Korea. The Star Performance by Absolute Thai pair have a slim, three-point lead over Lee and Kwon and, with a maximum of 32 points up for grabs in Italy, there remains everything to play for. The Lamborghini Cup is a four-way shoot out, with Supachai leading the way on 120 points and Prabakaran 12 points behind. Dr. Ma is 22 points off the top spot, and the Oh brothers remain in mathematical contention ahead of the season finale.
Having locked in pole position for Absolute Racing in the Lamborghini Auckland Huracán Super Trofeo EVO2, Super Trofeo junior Marco Giltrap led the field away for the penultimate time on Asian soil for the 2023 season hotly pursued by PRO-AM contender Dan Wells of DW Evans GT.
While Giltrap skillfully held the determined Wells at bay, behind the pair a three-way battle for position raged. A second Super Trofeo junior, Jackson Walls of Objective Racing, emerged in third overall, chased by Star Performance by Absolute’s Pasarit Promsombat and his fellow AM contender, Brian Lee of SQDA – GRIT Motorsport.
Triple Ace Racing’s Eric K was unlucky when he was tagged and spun around on the opening lap melee at turn 10 by Harmony Racing’s Xu Shenghui, for which the latter was penalized with a 10 second penalty. Lu Wei faced crushing disappointment after Lee came together with the R&B Racing AM driver who had qualified a superb P3 at turn 14. Lee was later handed a five second penalty for causing the collision.
Out in front, Giltrap had managed to pull a gap of over a second from Wells, but the Briton was not giving up and kept the Kiwi youngster well within striking distance. Walls was holding firm in third, second of the PRO-AM runners, but behind him Lee was mounting a fierce challenge on Promsombat in the critical battle for AM honours. The Thai held firm, unruffled by the flashing headlights of the Korean as the pit window opened.
After a well-timed pit stop, Oscar Lee emerged in the lead in the DW Evans GT car, but Chris van der Drift wasted no time in dispatching the young pretender by diving down the outside and reclaiming the helm. Aniwat Lommahadthai took the wheel from team mate Promsombat after an outstanding stint and emerged third in the order, ahead of SQDA – GRIT Motorsport’s Jon Kown and Objective Racing’s Tony Walls. TRT Racing’s Jonathan Cecotto, meanwhile, joined in sixth after a strong stint from Li Qiang from P10 on the grid.
Cecotto quickly gained a position, while Harmony Racing’s Chen Wei’an climbed to sixth ahead of Walls and Loh. Moments later, however, the latter pair clashed after Loh attempted to dive down the inside of the Australian. The incident ended the race for both drivers and earned Loh a two-position grid penalty for race two.
As van der Drift pulled an unassailable lead at the front, the closing minutes of the 23-lap thriller saw Cecotto pass first Lommahadthai and then Lee to cross the line second overall and seize the PRO-AM victory from DW Evans GT. Harmony Racing’s Xu Shenghui and Chen put in a superb performance to climb from P11 to just miss out on the overall podium. Lommahadthai and Promsombat, fifth overall, took the AM victory from title rivals Lee and Kwon, with TRT Racing’s Kang Zhilong and Ray Lu third in class despite picking up a two second stop-and-go penalty after their pit stop was 0.6 of a second short of the mandated time. The final PRO-AM podium place went to D1 Racing Team’s Smart Tse and David Lau.
The Lamborghini Cup class was arguably the most hard-fought in what was an eventful race throughout the field from lights out to chequered flag. While Iron Lynx solo driver Kumar Prabakaran had taken class pole, points leader Supachai Weeraborwornpong made a lightning start from the rear of the grid to snatch the lead. However, it proved to be short lived when HZO Fortis Racing Team’s Hairie Oh passed the Thai, while further back Kam Lung Racing’s Dr. Ma, another solo entry, was challenging Prabakaran for fourth.
After the compulsory pit stops, Haziq Oh inherited the class lead from brother Hairie ahead of series returnee, Gabriele Murroni in the Orion Endurance entry. Although Supachai was holding on to the final class podium place, he was challenged hard by an in-form Dr. Ma, who snatched the position in a sensational move in the closing minutes and took the fight to Murroni ahead, the pair switching positions in the run to the flag. Dr. Ma prevailed to take an outstanding class runner-up finish ahead of Murroni, the pair joining the victorious Oh brothers on the Lamborghini Cup podium.
Chris van der Drift took the opening stint in race two in the Absolute Racing Lamborghini Auckland car, with TRT Racing’s Jonathan Cecotto alongside on PRO-AM pole, and Chen Wei’an in the Harmony Racing Lamborghini Azabu on the second row alongside Star Performance by Absolute AM title contender Aniwat Lommahadthai.
As the field was released, van der Drift wasted little time in putting distance between him and Cecotto, with Chen tucking in behind the TRT Racing driver. Behind the leaders, TRT Racing’s Ray Lu made a lightning start from the fourth row and was quickly up to fourth in the order. DW Evans GT’s Oscar Lee came under fire from John Lee, the SQDA – GRIT Motorsport driver in a hurry in the Lamborghini Seoul car to catch his Thai title rival up ahead.
Lommahadthai, who had lost ground at the start, was quickly back on the charge, getting by BC Racing’s Vincent Tai to take seventh. After Lee made a successful move on Lu, Kwon seized the moment to follow the PRO-AM title hopeful through and up to fifth. Lommahadthai was next to challenge Lu, getting by as the pit window opened.
Giltrap regained the lead as the second stint got underway, but there was drama for Cecotto when the team misjudged a last-minute pit stop and consequently incurred a drive through penalty served by team mate Li Qiang. That handed second in the order to Dan Wells who had taken the wheel from Lee. Kwon’s team mate Brian Lee had a spin shortly after he began his stint, allowing Lommahadthai’s team mate Pasarit Promsombat take the class lead.
There was plenty of late-race drama to keep the Shanghai crowds on their feet. BC Racing’s Johnson Huang and Triple Ace Racing’s Eric K battled it out for position, R&B Racing’s Lu Wei got by Harmony Racing’s Xu Shenghui on the inside, and a spin by Lamborghini Cup contender Dr. Ma of Kam Lung Racing lost him a hard-earned second place class finish. Xu Shenghui’s tangle with Orion Endurance’s Gabriele Murroni, meanwhile, saw him incur a five second penalty.
At the flag, Marco Giltrap crossed the line to take the win with another comfortable margin, with Lee and Wells second overall, taking the PRO-AM victory and wrapping up the 2023 class title. Thai stars Lommahadthai and Promsombat finished third overall and first of the AM runners ahead of title rivals Lee and Kwon for SQDA – GRIT Motorsport. An impressive fifth overall and third in the AM class were R&B Racing’s Lu Wei and Wu Jiaxin, with Jackson Walls charging through the field after taking over the Objective Racing car from father Tony to finish sixth overall and second in the PRO-AM class. Third PRO-AM across the line were TRT Racing’s Li and Cecotto.
In the Lamborghini Cup, Supachai Weeraborwornpong took his fifth class win of the season ahead of Iron Lynx driver Kumar Prabakaran, while Hairie and Haziq Oh took the final podium place for HZO Fortis Racing Team.