Not quite the Shanghai surprise for China Equity AMR

Monday, September 10, 2018

Looking to close down and overcome the points deficit to the then GT4 Championship leading McLaren 570S, China Equity AMR frontrunners Jack Mitchell and Ryan Liu endured something of a chaotic fourth round of the China GT Championship from the Shanghai International Circuit at the weekend.

Early signs of promise in Qualifying for the front row in race 1 soon disappeared after an unseen manoeuvre from Am driver Ryan Liu made contact with David McIntyre's championship leading McLaren causing race ending damage to that cars cooling system after just ten minutes of racing.

For that Liu was soon awarded a drive through penalty for the avoidable collision.

Meanwhile, the sister #619 China Equity AMR car of David Pun and Bill O'Brian had been having technical problems of their own over Qualifying 1 and Race - issues that eventually led to an engine change for their golden Vantage GT4.

By the time the pits tops had been completed and Liu and handed over to Mitchell, the #618 car had dropped down to a distant fifth with thirty two minutes of the race still remaining. Despite best efforts to put in successively quicker laps, Mitchell became hampered with overheating issues with the AMR V8 and forcing him to slow to finish the race in P5 and just ahead of the sister #619 car in P6.

Race two on Sunday was something of a strange affair with Race Control forcing the grid around for a second formation lap before eventually calling a start to the somewhat disorganised grid at the third time of asking.

Liu again started for the #618 car from towards the rear of the grid before steaming up around the outside of the pack to claim third spot by the time they hit the third corner of the first lap but unfortunately his haste caught him up to the rear of the pole setting BMW too quickly for him to control the situation that then unfolded. With the BMW moving across the track to take the apex of the next left hander, Liu failed to lift to allow the BMW racing room clipping the rear of the M4 into a spin.

Just a few corners later another incident with other cars saw the Ginetta's spear out into the inside barrier requiring the services of the Safety Car.

On the restart O'Brian pushed his cooling tyres too hard to spin out from T7 whilst holding a comfortable fourth just seven minutes before the opening of the pit window with the incident involving the #618 being confirmed to be investigated after the race by Race Control whilst Mitchell was moving up to P2.

Just a couple of corners later Mitchell's car came to a dramatic halt at the hairpin stopping mid corner loosing loads of time whilst he reset the car before he was slowly able to move away with ten minutes remaining.

Crossing the line in fourth, the #618 was later given a post race 23 second time penalty for the earlier contact with the BMW although, fortunately for them that did not alter the finishing order so they leave Shanghai as the GT4 Championship leaders as the series moves on to the Wuhan Street Circuit in early October.

Whilst the #618 car failed to capitalise on earlier promise they at least saw that the #570 Winning Team McLaren suffered varying degrees of technical issue (including them actually hitting it) which limited their points haul from the event. The trouble is that two other teams have now pulled themselves up into contention.

Photo credits - China Equity AMR / China GT

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