Supertrofeo Asia | Guangzhou (CN)
One month after a successful Chinese debut race at the remote Ordos International Circuit, Italian supercar manufacturer Automobili Lamborghini and luxury Swiss watchmaker Blancpain left the northern plains of Inner Mongolia for the southern bustling metropolis of Guangzhou, where motorsports enthusiasts gathered at the Guangdong International Circuit (GIC) to watch the fourth racing weekend of the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo Asia Series 2012.
“Blancpain is very excited to discover a new circuit in Guangdong” said Alain Delamuraz, Blancpain Vice President and Head of Marketing. “We have never attended a race here, but innovation has been part of our philosophy for nearly 280 years, and we are glad to continue in this way. Through the four races in China, the Manufacture wishes to honour this age-old culture of innovation, with its modern-day representatives showing a keen interest in Haute Horlogerie. For instance, we presented last week a world first: a wristwatch equipped with a traditional Chinese calendar. It represents the culmination of more than five years of research, development and reflection on the Chinese culture and philosophy.”
As the season’s fourth racetrack overall and second in China, the GIC meets all FIA and F3 racing standards and boasts 13 turns covering 2.82 km, the shortest track length in the Series. With a small straight allowing for a top speed of 250km/h, the GIC proved one of the most technical race tracks so far, as the racing teams had to rein in their horsepower and truly tame the Super Trofeo race car through extremely sharp turns and technical corner exits.
After two days of practice and a qualifying race at the Guangdong International Circuit, 16 cars took to the grid on Saturday afternoon. The first race began with current leaderboard winners Liu/Rizzo (#37) in first place, followed by Ordos stop champion Ramli (#9) of Malaysia, and Charlz (#99) of Singapore in third place. Going into the first race, the drivers knew well the challenges of the circuit, including tight turns at the end of both narrow straights requiring heavy braking and advanced cornering skills. Following a series of daring overtakes and gripping head-toheads, a total of 9 cars crossed the finish line after completing the minimum required 23 laps. Singapore driver Charlz (#99) won his first race of the Series, followed by Ramli (#9) and Lok (#2) from Hong Kong, who ascended the podium for the first time in the series.
As the second race began on Sunday morning, the drivers were more cautious approaching the track’s technical turns. Halfway through the race, the speed picked up and crowds were treated to one of the tightest races of the Series so far, with teams Ramli (#9), and Chan/Tse (#88) duelling for the lead until the last few laps, when Ramli (#9) broke away to secure his third victory of the Series, after two victories in Ordos. Liu/Rizzo (#37) started off slowly, maintaining 7th and then 6th position only to race up to second position for the finish line. Meanwhile, first time competitor, Uematsu (#10) of Japan, surprised all by moving up the field and on the last lap and stealing third place from Chan/Tse (#88).
During the free practice on Friday, Head of the Super Trofeo Asia Series Cristiano Inverni said: “We are now well into the 2012 Series, and over our first three races in Sepang, Fuji and Ordos, the racing teams have discovered that more than beating the other contestants, each race is truly an opportunity to outdo yourself, with both experienced drivers and pure amateurs having given us incredible performances across Asia. More than a motorsports event, the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo is also a lifestyle experience, and it is great to see a real camaraderie forming between the racing teams from across the region.”