After an exciting opening round to the season at the Red Bull Ring, the GT1 and GT4 drivers took on the challenge of the Chang International Circuit with Max Haas (GT1) and Damien Laurent (GT4) looking to build on their round 1 success whilst being hunted by the rest of the grid.
Qualifying for the GT1 class was again very close at the top and saw Peter Bakus taking pole position from Nemanja Manojlovic by 0.179 of a second and the top 4 drivers covered by 0.392. Qualifying for the GT4 drivers was even closer for pole position with round 1 winner, Damien Laurent, taking the honour from David Dhoore by just 0.118 of a second, the top 3 covered by 0.452.
In the 75 minute race, both Peter Bakus and Nemanja Manojlovic fought hard to convert their good starting position into a win in the GT1 class but it was the driver who qualified 3rd who was able to pass them and secure his second win of the championship and 4th at RRLeagues. Max Haas had done it, he had repeated his win from round 1 and with it left Chang with a 10 point lead in the championship. At the Red Bull Ring, Haas had beaten Bakus by just over 5.5 seconds. At Chang, it was a slither over 2 seconds, but it was still Haas who took the chequered flag first. It will be interesting to see if Bakus, or someone else, can narrow the margin even further and overthrow the seemingly ‘master of GT1’. Jazz Forsberg (4th) and Ralf Arella (5th) were only separated by 1.5 seconds at the line with Petr Pek taking 6th after Vlastimil Lukas was handed a time penalty by the stewards after the race. Stefan Riedl (8th), Alejandro Forerro (9th) and Henk-Jan Steneker rounded out the top 10.
With Haas having won for the second time, Damien Laurent set out to repeat his win from the first round and increase his championship lead in the GT4 class but with David Dhoore having cut Laurent’s advantage in qualifying it would be a tough task. Laurent managed to get a good start and maintained his lead into T1 from Daniel Badcock who, having started 3rd, had managed to get past team mate Dhoore. Laurent’s race was given a boost when at T2, the KTM of Robert Horvath tangled with Badcock’s Porsche and a healthy lead was gifted to Laurent. Whilst Laurent was building a lead over 2nd, both Dhoore and Jim Britton were caught in a battle over 2nd and 3rd with Britton bringing it home in front of Dhoore, with Dhoore having been caught up in an incident. Laurent however had kept his composure to take the chequered flag with 32.2 seconds in hand over Britton, who had used experience and skill to bring the slower KTM home in 2nd, securing the manufacturer’s first podium of the season. Having recovered after the incident with Horvath, Badcock unfortunately suffered technical issues and retired with Szabolcs Albertini finishing a strong but lonely 4th place. Morten Roslev (5th) and Mike Wyatt (6th) were split by 2.6 seconds at the end of the 75 minute race with Roslev’s points haul taking him and Britton to the top of the Team’s Championship with the Crew Chief Mega Corp Works Team. Xavier Eugeni (7th), Robert Horvath (8th), Yevgeny Lazorenko (9th) and Oli Bateson rounded out the top 10.
With 2 rounds in the record books, both classes have double winners and 2 drivers with a definite target on their backs for the coming rounds. Hockenheim plays host to round 3 and only time will tell whether there can be a new winner in season 27 at RRLeagues or if Haas and Laurent can score a hat-trick of wins and extend their championship lead further. Who do you think is most likely to score a 3rd win? Have your say above and below!