Derani, Spirit of Race win Shanghai Asian Le Mans opener

Derani, Spirit of Race win Shanghai Asian Le Mans opener

Le Mans/WEC

Derani, Spirit of Race win Shanghai Asian Le Mans opener

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The 2018/19 Asian Le Mans Series openerat Fuji Speedway delivered a thrilling race despite challenging wintry condditions, with the fight for the overall win going right up until the checkered flag. Ultimately it was polesitter Pipo Derani in the Spirit of Race Ligier JS P2 who crossed the line first to claim victory with his teammates Come Ledogar and Alexander West.

Series newcomer United Autosports finished second with Paul Di Resta behind the wheel of the Ligier JS P2 he shared with Phil Hanson. Both teams did it the hard way after they made light contact on the opening lap causing both to drop back down the order.

Another front-runner to hit trouble early was the Ligier JS P2 of Algarve Pro Racing being driven by Andrea Pizzitola. While leading the race, Pizzitola pulled off the track with a terminal engine issue.

The second Ligier LMP2 car from United Autosports, raced by Guy Cosmo, Patrick Byrne and Salih Yoluc, finished third overall while also claiming the win in the LMP2 AM Trophy class. ARC Bratislava finished fourth overall and second in the LMP2 AM Trophy class with team owner Miro Konopka joined by Ling King and Darren Burke in their Ligier JS P2. The third LMP2 AM entry, the Algarve Pro Racing Ligier JS P2 Nissan driven by Mark Patterson, Anders Fjordbach and Chris McMurry, finished fifth outright and third in class.

In LMP3, polesitter Inter Europol claimed the victory in its first Asian Le Mans Series race with Jakub Smiechowski and Martin Hippe sharing duties in their Ligier JS P3. The first of the two United Autosports Ligier JS P3s, driven by Chris Buncombe, Garret Grist and Wayne Boyd finished second. Eurasia Motorsport claimed the final place on the podium thanks to a solid drive from Aidan Read and Nobuya Yamanaka in their Ligier JS P3.

The GT class was won by Japanese newcomer Car Guy in the team’s first race with its new Ferrari 488 GT3, driven by Takeshi Kimura, Kei Cozzolino and James Calado. Making it a Ferrari 1-2, the Spirit of Race Ferrari 488 GT3 driven by Alessandro Pier Guidi, Francesco Piovanetti and Oswaldo Negri Jr. finished second. Third in the GT class was the TF Sport Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 of Johnny Mowlem and Bonamy Grimes.

After pulling away comfortably in the early stages of the race, the class pole-sitting TianShi Racing Team Audi R8 LMS had a difficult race that eventually ended with retirement.

At the end of a very tough weekend, the TianShi Racing Team finished the race on top in the the GT AM Trophy with its Mercedes AMG GT3. Prior to the race, the only track time the drivers Max Wiser and Xu Wei had was in qualifying after a problem with their original entry.

In Porsche Endurance Trophy, polesitter Benny Simonsen and Philippe Descombe in the Modena Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup dominated the race to take a comfortable victory.

The second round of the Asian Le Mans Series, this time coming from Fuji Speedway in Japan on 7-9 December.

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