Audi enjoyed a successful opening round of the 2017 China GT Championship at Beijing’s Audi Goldenport Motor Park race track, with Xu Jia taking both GT3 victories in the Kings Linky Racing Audi R8 LMS car in the 15-strong field. Compatriot Kimi Qin, driving a first generation Audi R8 LMS Cup Spirit Z-Racing-entered car, took the round 2 GTC victory and the maiden win of the new Audi Challenge Trophy.
“It has been a strong start to Audi Sport customer racing Asia’s 2017 China GT Championship season,” commented Bernd Goeres, Director of Audi Sport customer racing Asia. “We have seen some excellent racing here in Beijing, and are confident we can look forward to an exciting season ahead.”
One of only two single-driver entries in the GT3 races, Xu took pole position for the start of round 1, and had an untroubled 51-lap run to the flag. In round 2, Xu moved into the lead from fifth at the start, winning by a convincing margin after 53 laps of the 2.39km track.
The three other Audi entries in the GT3 class experienced mixed fortunes. The Phoenix Racing Asia-run Audi Hong Kong entry of Malaysians Lim Keong Wee and Melvin Moh finished an impressive sixth in round 2, amongst what was a fiercely competitive field representing six of the world’s leading auto marques. The pair had been unable to qualify on Friday, but battled hard to claim seventh in round 1, two places ahead of the second Kings Linky Racing Audi of Wang Liang and Han Huilin.
Disappointingly, the second Audi Hong Kong car of Hong Kong’s Marchy Lee and Alex Au had almost no time on track after both of Au’s stints ended prematurely in the gravel of the challenging circuit in China’s capital.
In the GTC class Qin, also racing solo, recovered well from the disappointment of his round 1 retirement, bouncing back for the second race and putting in a wheel-perfect performance to take the win. Behind Qin’s purple car in the closing stages, all eyes were on New Zealand’s Will Bamber. Paired with China’s Bian Hao in the JRM Force China Audi, Bamber cut a swathe through the battling field to snatch the final podium spot in dramatic fashion on the very last lap of the race.
The 2017 China GT Championship continues on July 8 and 9, when it travels to the Ordos International Circuit in Inner Mongolia.