GruppeM Mercedes wins Buriram Race 2 with authority

After losing Race 1 at the line on Saturday (21) at Buriram, GruppeM Racing had its No. 999 Mercedes AMG GT3 on the top step of the podium in excellent form, benefited by crashes of its main rivals early in the race, in what was the best Blancpain GT Series Asia weekend for Maximilian Buhk and Hunter Abbott.

As the cars crossed the main straight to start the race the No. 7 Absolute Audi kept the lead while things got pretty tight for the No. 999 GruppeM Mercedes in second place. Things got even tighter for other three cars in the first lap, as Race 1 Am Cup winner No. 19 KCMG Audi as the car spun after a contact with the No. 88 CRAFT-Bamboo Porsche on Turn 2, and some turns later, a high speed carnage sent out the No. 18 KCMG Audi, the No. 37 BBT Ferrari and Race 1 winner No. 38 Spirit of Race Ferrari, bringing the first yellow flag of Race 2.

The race was back to green after ten minutes but first and second places were quite consolidated, even though the GruppeM car suffered some early pressure from the No. 39 Spirit of Race Ferrari. A bit behind, Aditya Patel was struggling with keeping the race-winning No. 86 OD Racing Audi between the white lines and went down to sixth.

In the pit stops positions remained the same as the No. 7 was with Jeffrey Lee in place of Alessio Picariello and the No. 999 had Hunter Abbott in place of Maximilian Buhk, and just two laps were needed to Abbott simply go past Lee, opening the gap immediately as Lee's times were significantly slower, and this also opened the opportunity for Jiang Xin in the No. 39 Spirit of Race Ferrari to get his way into second place, but a block into turn 3 unsettled the front end of the car, making Jiang lose time and almost ending his race.

Jeffrey Lee's early defense into Jiang Xin proved to turn out against him, as Jiang took a few moves to pass Lee for second place, powering his Ferrari after Turn 1, as Marchy Lee in the No. 5 Audi Hong Kong car took third place and Mitch Gilbert took fourth place with the No. 86 OD Racing Audi. Marchy, Jiang and Gilbert were soon in a three-way battle for second place, with the No. 5 keeping second place while an unsuccessful attempt of overtake by the No. 39 saw the No. 86 take third place in the final lap to not lose it anymore. With hell breaking loose for second place, Hunter Abbott had just to carry the No. 999 to the finish line as the winner as the gap was way too comfortable to have any threats.

With most of the Am Cup opponents left behind due to crashes, the No. 69 CMRT Eurasia Aston Martin had the class honors with James Cai and Kenneth Lim as drivers, while the No. 77 CRAFT-BAMBOO Porsche took a dominant GT4 class win after a penalty in Race 1.

Now all attentions turn out to Japan as the series starts its trip there with the Suzuka Circuit on June 24th and 25th.

PHOTO: Blancpain GT Asia