Second podium finish for Craft-Bamboo Racing in GT Asia SeriesC

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Craft-Bamboo Racing claimed a podium finish in the GT Asia Series held at the Autopolis International Circuit today. The pairing of Richard Lyons (GBR) and Frank Yu (HKG) in the Aston Martin Vantage GT3 #97, crossed the finish line second during the action filled race which was marred by three formation laps, a Safety Car period and a few incidents.

The team’s car #99, driven by first time GT driver, Tanart Sathienthirakul (THA) and his driver coach, Carlo Van Dam (NED), crossed the finish line a strong fourth.

It is the second podium after the third place finish in Korea and the team is happy with the results of the two cars. “It has been a great start to the season so far with the team finishing on the podium on two separate weekends and we are just getting stronger. The crew have worked well and together the team deserves this strong finish today.

“We have had ups and downs today but the fact that we managed to overcome all the obstacles during the fast paced race, shows how strong we are and it also helps that we had some help from Lady Luck today” said Russell Eeles, Team Manager.

The race started with three formation laps as the cars in the back of the grid could not line up in form before crossing the start finish line. At the third try, the lights went green but Lyons, who started the race from pole, lost two places at the start.

“There were some problems at the start as the cars in the rear couldn’t keep up, so I just maintained a normal pace and when we did start, I did so cautiously so that I don’t get penalised and because of it I lost a couple of positions.”

Lyons dropped to third but was able to maintain his pace to keep up with the race leaders who were battling for the lead whilst behind him, there was a battle for fourth. “It was hard to pass and the Ferrari’s were also fast in the straight line. On lap ten I was faster but we had a miss shift and I couldn’t get the gearbox going again and by then we lost a few more places.”

By the time the Briton got the car going, he was already down to ninth but luck was on his side as the Safety Car was called to clear a stalled Aston Martin that was parked dangerously on the track. This also delayed the pit-stop window and at the restart, as cars pulled in for their stop, Lyons stayed out to gain as much positions as he could before the driver switch. When he stopped to give the car over to Yu, the duo were in fifth.

Meanwhile a little behind Lyons was the car of Van Dam, who was pacing consistently after a great start that saw him claim two places as the lights turned green. The Dutch driver then pushed hard to try and claim fourth but as he got near, the Safety Car was called. “We had a good start, I took Sawa and then kept pursuing the guys ahead to stay with the leaders. There was still a little bit of an understeer but I managed to keep a consistent pace, maintain a gap and consistent laps.

“The Safety Car period was unfortunate for us as we had an eight second added to our pit-stop for new drivers” but at the restart, Van Dam was able to gain one more position before handing the car over to Sathienthirakul.

“Overall I was happy with my stint and when Tanart went out he was in P2 but when I came in at the end of my stint I was P4.”

Yu who took over from Lyons kept on pushing ahead, claiming one position, before two of the lead cars then dropped out of the race, placing the team in second. “We changed tyres at the pit-stop as we knew we had to gain back position. Richard did a good job in his stint. When I came out, I had a bit of a battle with Hiroshi and it was a good race. Overall we had one bad luck and we had two good lucks, so second is a good finish.”

Tomorrow the duo will start the race from seventh with Yu starting the race. “Richard and I have raced together in the past a few times so we know what to do for each other. Tomorrow we have to try hard as I could not get a clear lap in my qualifying and we have to start in seventh” ended Yu.

Sathienthirakul who took over from Van Dam drove a strong and consistent pace throughout his stint. He dropped down two spots but the retirement of the two front running cars pushed him back up to fourth at the end of the race.

It was an impressive outing for him as it is the first GT race for the 21 year old and Van Dam said of the youngster, “Tanart was consistent and managed well to stay in P4, which was not bad. I am quite pleased. I would have liked to be on the podium but fourth was a good start. Tomorrow we will try to find more pace and try to get on the podium.”

After the race, Sathienthirakul was happy with the results, “I think we did quite a good job, I’m new to pit-stops and I think I wasted a little bit of time there when they released me from the pit. As I went out, I was stuck behind two cars and that time wasted at the pits made a difference as I think I would have been able to fight for third after the car ahead spun in front of me, but there was nothing I can do as I was struggling for grip by then.

“Tomorrow we are starting on new tyres and I feel okay with the rolling start, its just like karting” he ended.

Craft-Bamboo Racing will return to the circuit for round four of the GT Asia Series on Sunday, 1st June at 10:30 JST.
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