Craft-Bamboo Racing were taken out of the GT Asia Series lead when an overly ambitious Lamborghini careened into the #88 Interush Porsche on only lap six of the first race of the season. Richard Lyons had made a great start to get into P1 and was running strong until the crash ended their hopes of a top result. Unfortunately, the #88 Porsche was blighted by bad luck again in race two, suffering two separate tyre punctures. The latter puncture forcing them to retire for the second time, which was even more disappointing given their leader matching race pace. The #91 VLT Porsche debuted with new GT3 driver Naiyanobh Bhirombhakdi who did an excellent job of adapting to the new car and demands of GT3 racing. Partnered with Darryl O’Young, they finished race one in P9 and race two in P8, giving the #91 pair a solid amount of points in which to base their 2016 campaign on. The team is confident that they will be back on form in Buriram, having learnt a great deal this weekend after gaining more crucial seat time.

Craft copyRace One

#88 Interush Porsche 911 GT3 R

Richard Lyons was off to a great start, moving up into P3 by the start of turn one and taking a further two spots to claim the lead by the exit of the first corner. Now in the lead, he was beginning to edge out a gap by lap six until he was hit from behind by the FFF-Racing Lamborghini who lost control while battling with an opponent. The resulting contact forced Lyons off the track and out of the race with a damaged car. Given his pace and that of Frank’s during qualifying, the #88 Interush Porsche was well on its way to a top result but was once again ruined by more careless contact from the competition.

“The car was fantastic and I was up to P3 by turn one and took the lead on the exit of turn one,” said Richard. “We were able to maintain the lead right up until lap six, until another driver ran out of talent and t-boned us. Disappointing for the team but we have shown that we have potential and we look forward to the coming races.”

Team mate Frank Yu was disappointed about missing a podium: “It is kind of disappointing because Richard had a fantastic start. He took the lead on the first lap, but then we had some ambitious driver take him out after having the lead for six or seven laps. I think we would have had a really good result looking at the lap times for the second half of the race. I would have kept up and could have been on the podium.”

Craft2 copy#91 VLT Porsche 911 GT3 R

Darryl O’Young made a clean start in the #91 VLT Porsche and began to battle for track position. He managed take a few positions over the coming laps but was struggling to find the right balance. O’Young fought hard and showed great skill in moving up the field. When the pit window opened, O’Young was in P5 and changed over to teammate Naiyanobh Bhirombhakdi who hit the track for the first GT race of his career. Bhirombhakdi was showing signs of continued development but the rookie was still getting used to  the GT3s dynamics on the Korean circuit. After pushing the car to its limits in the pursuit of quicker lap times, the Thai driver was caught out by a spin but he quickly regrouped and returned to the chase. As the hour long race drew to a close the VLT Porsche crossed the line in P9 to collect some valuable points and give both drivers some crucial seat time.

“It was good to get my first GT Asia race underway, I thought the car was well balanced but my overall result wasn’t that great,” commented Naiyanobh. “Darryl put us in a great position but once I got in the car I had a spin, which cost us several seconds. Tomorrow is another day and hopefully we will do a lot better.”

“The race was ok, overtook some cars and got myself in a good position,” said a mellow O’Young. “I struggled with the balance a bit and had some good fights. Unfortunately, Naiyanobh had a spin and we really deserved a better result today, but tomorrow we will try and improve.”

Race Two

#88 Interush Porsche 911 GT3 R

With the #88 Porsche repaired for race two, Frank got off to another good start and he was able to snatch a few places into turn one where he settled into P6. After a couple of good laps, Frank and one of the Bentleys made contact, causing the #88 Porsche to spin and undo that great start. He got back into the action straight away and set about regaining lost time before pitting in P12. After a faultless driver change Lyons was away but a slow puncture was soon discovered, forcing Lyons to return to the pits to change the tyre. Once he was back out on track the expert GT driver began setting some brilliant lap times, clearly doing his all to shave off as much lost time as possible. The Irishman was matching the leader’s pace, setting times in the region of 2:08.00 and showing just how competitive the #88 car could be. Lyons was unrelenting in his pursuit and continued to gain on the competition but bad luck was about to strike once more. With only a few laps left of race two; the #88 suffered another puncture that would force Lyons to retire the car due to another incident completely out of their control.

Richard Lyons: “The mechanics had to work hard to repair the damage caused by the Lamborghini from race one but they got the job done. I unfortunately had to do the extra stop to change the tyre after my driver change, which cost us further time and the chance of a top 10. Again, bad luck got us on the last lap with a puncture, which put us out once again.”

Craft4 copy#91 VLT Porsche 911 GT3 R

Naiyanobh Bhirombhakdi made a clean rolling start and got straight into fighting with the competition. With more time in the car, Bhirombhakdi was showing greater confidence in his driving style. This was reflected in his pace too, taking back a position after battling with the Audi in the opening stages of his stint. The Thai driver continued to gather speed, setting his best lap of the race just before the opening of the pit window. After the #88 Interush car completed its pit stop, Bhirombhakdi dove in and changed to O’Young who set his sights on moving up the field. The 2015 champion did just that and was able to manoeuvre into P8 towards the end of his stint. O’Young continued to push the #91 Porsche and was closing in P7, separated by only tenths of a second at one point. With the hour long race drawing to a close, there wasn’t enough time for O’Young make his move. As the chequered flag waved, O’Young crossed the line in P8 to take home some more points for their championship campaign.

Darryl O’Young: “We improved on yesterday, Naiyanobh drove a good stint and he improved a lot over the weekend. I took over the car around P10 and I had a strong stint, the car has been developing over the weekend. I had a good fight with Alex Yoong but I was unable to overtake him. Overall positive weekend and we will keep pushing to improve.”

Ben Potter

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