Frustrating start for BSEM with their new Vantage GT4 in China GT

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

The second round of the 2019 China GT Championship from the Ningbo International Speedpark in Zhejiang was something of a frustrating one for the sole Aston Martin Racing customer team in the race, BSEM Asia Sonic Racing.

Having finally taken delivery and tested with their new 2019 specification AMR Vantage GT4 earlier in the week, things were looking good for Gentleman driver David Pun and his German Aston Martin Driver Academy Pro, Yves Volte whom he would be sharing driving duties aboard the #618 car. Joining them were two regional drivers in Zhang Fangxuan and Wu Pei who would drive one of the teams older 2016 Vantage GT4's.

Starting P5 in Race 1, it was the responsibility of Volte to go chasing after some of the other teams Pro drivers with the new Vantage looking good and quick behind the Mercedes GT4's of Alex Fontana and Will Bamber. That was the position the #618 held when Volte had to come in at the end of the permitted pits stop period window to hand the car over to Pun.

Just after the stops, the #619 car ground to a halt on track forcing the deployment of the Safety Car. On the restart Pun was caught napping a bit and went very wide in the sequence of corners that allowed at least two cars to pass him effectively unchallenged.

With just six minutes remaining of the hour long race,  an errant Mercedes GT4 forced a BMW wide at the final corner which in turn spun and collided heavily with the pit wall. Fortunately the driver was OK but the race would end at the controlled pace of the Safety Car.

For the #618 car however, a too shorter pit stop time cost them a 60 second time penalty which effectively dropped them down to P10 and the last points paying position after what had been a good start to the race.

Race 2 on Saturday faired no better for the team despite Pun being able to maintain his track position relative to the other cars around him who were at the time running their Pro drivers as he held P6 and the #619 car held their P11 starting position for the first fifteen minutes of racing.

Again running wide, the #618 car showed possible damage to the underside of the car although Pun's pace at the time didn't seem to suggest anything performance reducing. Just after that the #619 again seemed to switch off in the middle of the track and force another Safety Car.

By the time of the pit window, the remaining #618 car was back in P7 as Pun handed over to Volte but his race wouldn't last too much longer either as the car was seen running slowly on track before making back to pit lane and retirement with an unknown technical issue.

Not the best of starts for the newest AMR Vantage GT4 in Asia, we know from other series that the car has pace and maybe just a bit more track time for both drivers and team will put them back into a competitive position fo rah next round of the Championship in Shanghai in June.

Photo credits - China GT

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