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AUSSIES OVERSEAS WRAP

LEARNING WEEKEND FOR READ

The inaugural round of Blancpain GT Series Asia took place on April 7-9 where Aussie Aidan Read compete.

Partnered with Italian Lamborghini Junior Squadra Corsa driver Alberto di Folco, the pair started 10th for the first of two one hour races at Sepang. The fastest time of 2m 04.180s was set by Mitchell Gilbert in the OD Racing Audi R8 GT3 LMS.

Gilbert’s co-driver Aditya Patel continued the OD Racing dominance by securing a nine second victory in the first race, while second was the GruppeM Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Hunter Abbott and Raffaele Marciello, who stormed from 22nd to finish second. Read and Di Folco finished a disappointing 16th, though it was Read’s first GT3 race. An accident at the start of the race halted proceedings as the Clearwater Racing McLaren of Richard Wee hit the pit wall, the clean-up took 15 minutes.

Rui Aguas and ex-F1 driver Alex Yoong started from Pole in the second race and held the lead early on, meanwhile Di Folco started from sixth on the grid for the second hour race to finish sixth overall and fourth in the Silver Class. The winners overall was the BBT Ferrari 488 GT3 of Anthony Liu and Davide Rizzo, while Gilbert and Patel backed up victory in the first race with second in the final. Third were Marchy Lee and Shaun Thong in the Hong Kong Audi Audi R8 GT3 LMS.

The second round of the Blancpain GT Series Asia will be held at Chang International Circuit on May 20.

BURDON GOES LMP3

Tasmanian Josh Burdon has signed with the KC Motorgroup to contest the newly launched five-round Asian FRD LMP3 series.

Burdon will be joined by Chinese Bronze-rated driver Neric Wei in a new Ligier LMP3 when the series kicks off in Shanghai on May 14. Burdon is keen to carry the form that took him to last year’s Asian Formula Renault Series title last year into his first season in an LMP3 car.

“The FRD LMP3 series is going to be exciting with many professional teams entering cars and a very high level of drivers from over the world scheduled to come and compete,” said an excited Burdon.

“I am very excited to be teaming up with Neric and I genuinely believe we will be a strong package. I can’t wait to get my first taste of driving a LMP3 car and have full confidence I am in good hands with KCMG.”

KCMG team manager John O’hara is confident the team is capable of winning races and is excited by the potential Burdon brings to the team.

“We are really happy to have Josh join us in our LMP3 program for 2017,” O’hara enthused. “Josh is a very fast capable driver and has good momentum at the moment. As a team we look forward to beginning work with him towards winning races.”

The winner of the series will be awarded a seat in the Asian Le Mans Series in a factory Onroak Automotive Ligier LMP2.

EUROPEAN LAMBO CAMPAIGN FOR HABER

Queenslander Morgan Haber will drive in the European Lamborghini Super Trofeo series this year after announcing he will team up Leipert Motorsport.

Haber raced at this year’s Bathurst 12 Hour alongside Chaz Mostert and Max Twigg where the BMW M6 GT3 had problems during the race. Haber had previously teamed with DTM star Bruno Spengler in last year’s Australian GT round at Phillip Island and raced at the Super GT round in Thailand.

Previous to this Haber finished runner up in the Kumho V8 Touring Car Series and was a regular frontrunner in the Australian Suzuki Swift Series.

Haber has been testing the car at Monza ahead of the first round at the same circuit on April 21-23.

“I’m very excited to announce that I will be racing in the European Lamborghini Super Trofeo series this year with Leipert Motorsport,” said Haber.

“I’ll get my first taste of the car at Monza and can’t wait for the race.”

Haber will race a Lamborghini Huracan LP 620-2 in the series alongside Polish driver, Jan Kisiel. Kisiel competed successfully in the Asian Audi R8 LMS Cup last year after winning the Audi TT Cup in 2015.

Leipert Motorsport also race in Asia where fellow Aussie Ben Gersekowski, and co-driver Rory Collingbourne drove to fourth and fifth in the opening pair of Lamborghini Super Trofeo Asia races.

SUCCESSFUL F3 DEBUT FOR MAWSON

Joey Mawson has made a successful debut during the opening round of the European Formula 3 Championship at Silverstone on April 14-16.

Mawson qualified ninth, 11th and 13th for the three races held during the weekend. Qualifying for the second and third races were hampered by set-up changes that worked against the Aussie, though one second separated the 18 drivers on the grid.

The opening race started under Safety Car as rain started to set in. The Safety Car returned to the pits on lap three young Brit Lando Norris led the field, but it was eventful early for Mawson as Russian Nikita Mazepin collided with him and teammate Pedro Piquet before eventually ending his race in the sandtrap.

Mawson held onto fifth despite added pressure from his ADAC Formula 4 rival Mick Schumacher to cross the line as the second placed rookie, as Norris took a home win from Jake Dennis and Maximillian Gunther.

Graining tyres cost Mawson a certain top 10 in the second race as he was battling Schumacher for sixth. Mawson tried to defend but eventually dropped down to 11th, while Joel Eriksson took victory Callum Ilott and Jake Hughes.

In contrasting conditions to the first race the field raced in sunny conditions for the final race of the weekend as Mawson climbed his way from 11th to eighth to score valuable points and finish second rookie. Ilott took victory this time from Eriksson and Norris, with Eriksson taking the championship lead after round one.

Mawson currently sits seventh in the standings heading into the next round at Monza on April 29-30.

MIXED WEEKEND FOR PIASTRI

Oscar Piastri had a mixed weekend during the second round of the British F4 Championship held at Donnington Park.

Piastri ended Qualifying in the tyre wall. Prior to that, Piastri had set a personal best first sector and set the fastest second sector of anyone until coming a cropper at the final chicane, giving Linus Lundqvist Pole, while Piastri started third.

Despite a good start in the opening race of the weekend, Piastri was shuffled back to fifth in the opening lap chaos. The young Aussie attacked Oliver York, but was unsuccessful as he came under significant pressure from Finn Patrik Pasma. Jamie Caroline continued his good form to win from Polesitter Linus Lundqvist and Billy Monger.

Jamie Caroline doubled-up in Race Two set-up by a superb opening lap that moved him into contention. Piastri was overtaken by Caroline, then battled Pasma, Harry Webb and Ayrton Simmons for the final step of the podium. Piastri attacked Pasma for third but it was to his detriment as an opportunistic Webb passed Piastri. Piastri crossed the line fifth behind Caroline, Lundqvist and Monger.

The final race of the weekend was cancelled after a massive accident between Pasma and Monger. Monger was unsighted and hit a stationary Pasma with both drivers carefully extracted from their vehicles. Monger suffered leg injuries in the incident.

Piastri sits in equal second, 19 points behind Jamie Caroline heading to round three at Thruxton on May 6-7.

Unfortunately, Billy Monger suffered life changing injuries in the incident and has had both lower legs amputated. A GoFundMe page has been established to aid with the 17-year-old’s recovery. Link below:

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/billymonger23

ALLEN IMPRESSES ON DEBUT

James Allen has made a successive debut at the European Le Mans Series opener at Silverstone on April 15. Allen and co-drivers Richard Bradley and Franck Martelli bought the Graff Racing Oreca 07-Gibson home fourth after starting 29th.

Bradley had an off in Qualifying, but recovered superbly in the race to put the team in a winning position after his first stint, but the Ligier JS P217-Gibson of United Autosports team of Filipe Alberqueque, Hugo De Sadeleer and Will Owen finished on the top step after taking the lead with less than three minutes remaining of the four hour race.

Second was the G-Drive Oreca 07-Gibson of Ryo Hirakawa, Memo Rojas and Leo Roussel after Hirakawa failed to hold off Alberqueque on worn tyres, while Danish pair Anders Fjordbach and Dennis Andersen completed the podium in their Dallara.

United Autosports also won the LMP3 class marking the first time the feat has been achieved as Ricky Capo finished his first LMP3 race in 10th place. Capo and co-drivers Erwin Creed and Yann Ehrlacher started from sixth, but dropped down the order by the end of the four hours. John Falb and Sean Rayhall took a dominant LMP3 victory.

Capo is looking to improve on the weekend ahead of the next round at Monza on May 14.

“We managed to finish in 10th position which scored us one point yesterday,” said Capo after the race. “[I am] Looking forward to unlocking the secrets of this new car. Good job by the entire team.”