An uncharacteristic miss for Dillan Tan at Donington was a breath of fresh air for many. The reigning champion had made the Asia Sprint Series his own over the preceding twelve months – so much so that a Ferris Stanley victory seemed almost too difficult to believe at first.
Following a poor qualifying session, an excellent first lap and strife for others ahead, the man from Singapore recovered decently. Fourth in class behind Daffa Nabiel, Philippa Boquida and the aforementioned Stanley proved to be decent damage limitation before the quick turnaround to Bathurst.
Australia’s most famous of mountains would, in theory, suit Tan’s Mercedes-AMG far better giving him the confidence to bounce back into terrifying form.
So it proved almost immediately as someone who is being watched as a rising star worldwide claimed a second pole position of the year. Even better new for Tan was the troublesome sessions endured by all of his rivals. Boquida was highest-placed taking sixth in class and overall.
Fadhli Rachmat joined Tan on the front row ahead of Naquib Azlan and Andika Rama Maulana respectively. Fresh off a second consecutive podium, Russel Reyes claimed Silver class pole position ahead of Shuning Gong
With no ‘hell’ to be found through the first turn, plenty of the initial jostles for position saw success earned the hard way. Boquida got away nicely, passing both Moreno Pratama and the squirrely Azlan to reach fourth my the mountain’s peak. The former of those dropped three places ultimately; Reyes securing himself a one-car barrier between himself and Gong.
A huge incident developed off-screen involving some eleven cars. One of the victims turned out to be Silver class points leader Luke Addison – music to the ears of Reyes who was in prime position to take hold on the championship now. His gap back to Gong grew significantly as KuiSheng Huang pressured and eventually took over custody of ninth on the road.
Stagnancy would be the word best used to describe the run-in towards the pitstop phase. Drivers has separated out into battle groups with plenty threatening change yet failing to see it. Boquida personified this struggle, failing even in her mission to undercut Maulana.
In fact, it was those who went for the overcut who saw a little more joy. Had it not been for a robust defence up Griffens Bend, Azlan would surely have snatched fourth away from the Australian.
No matter who was in the right and who was in the wrong, one thing that became clear was Azlan’s frustration with the incident. He became the centre of attention for all the wrong reasons, clattering into Boquida through The Chase resulting in a loss of position to Reyes which he quickly recovered.
The stewards made no friends in the audience as they issued a controversial penalty to Boquida for the incident upon pitlane exit with Azlan. They practically forged enemies of some in chat as they announced that the Chase incident would be reviewed post-race. To make matters even worse, Azlan launched a final attack on Boquida that resulted in yet more contact.
Whether premeditated or otherwise, it ensured only a fifth-place finish for Boquida. Azlan, meanwhile, was inundated with multiple penalties upon review. He would drop an extraordinary, but not undeserved, ten positions during classification.
Not that Dillan Tan cared much out front. His second half of the morning was a breeze with no challenge to speak of.
2023 GT World Challenge Esports Asia Sprint, Round 3 Pro results
- Dillan Tan – 1st – 30 Laps
- Fadhli Rachmat – 2nd – +9.776
- Andika Rama Maulana – 3rd – +14.524
- Moreno Pratama – 5th – +24.582
- Philippa Boquida – 6th – +24.932
2023 GT World Challenge Esports Asia Sprint, Round 3 Silver results
- Russel Reyes – 4th – +22.080
- KuiSheng Huang – 7th – +25.204
- Shuning Gong – 10th – +39.031
- Matthew Lamb – 14th – +43.676
- Rialto Ristofani – 16th – +44.62
Images courtesy of Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia Powered by AWS