The Qualifying for the opening round of the Asian Le Mans Series 2018/19 was run at the Shanghai International Circuit.
The weather was complete opposite to last weekend, so the two times 15 minutes qualifying was run in the beautiful afternoon sunshine.
8 LMP2 cars and 10 LMP3 cars were the first to go onto the track.
Pipo Derani in Spirit of Race #8 was the first to set a quick time in the LMP2 category, ahead of Algarve Pro Racing #24 with Harrison Newey and United Autosports #22 with Phil Hanson.
The LMP3 category had Inter Europol Competition #13 with Jakub Smiechowski initially fastest, ahead of Viper Niza Racing #65 with Nigel Moore and United Autosports #2 with Wayne Boyd.
Jackie Chan DC Racing #37 with Hwang Doyun had a solo spin, while Eurasia Motorsport #36 with Aidan Read had his own spin at a different spot on the circuit. Both could continue without any issues.
Anders Fjordbach in the Algarve Pro Racing #25 was one of the unlucky drivers to get a flying lap deleted due to track limits. He was up to 4th in the LMP2 category, but ended up in 7th.
Christian Stubbe Olsen in the Ecurie Ecosse/Nielsen #7 had a spin by himself, but he had already posted his personal best at that point, making him line up right behind teammate Colin Noble in the #79.
LMP2 Pole Position ended up in the hands of Pipo Derani in Spirit of Race #8, ahead of Algarve Pro Racing #24 with Harrison Newey and United Autosports #22 with Phil Hanson. With Jazeman Jaafar in the Jackie Chan DC Racing X JOTA #1, we had 4 different teams in the first four spots.
Inter Europol Competition #13 With Jakub Smiechowski took Pole Position in LMP3, ahead of Viper Niza Racing #65 with Nigel Moore and United Autosports #2 with Wayne Boyd.
Then we moved on to Qualifying for the nine GT cars, split by five in the GT3 category and four Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars.
Tianshi Racing Team #66 was originally slated to race with an Audi R8 LMS GT3, but they had an engine fire during an additional test session on Thursday, so that car couldn’t take part. Luckily they had a Mercedes AMG GT3 back at the workshop, so they got that freighted to the track, just in time to head out in Qualifying session.
Their teammate in the #88 with Dries Vanthoor was the first to post a quick time, ahead of Alessandro Pier Guidi in Spirit of Race Ferrari #51 and Tianshi Racing Team #66.
Earl Bamber Motorsport #12 with Graeme Dowsett was the first car to set a fast time in the Cup category, ahead of EKS Motorsports #59 with Lu Wen Long and OpenRoad Racing #21 with Francis Tjia.
James Calado in Car Guy Ferrari #11 didn’t set a time, since his first lap was deleted due to Track Limits. So he had to go all-in for the last 5 minutes of the session.
Benny Simonsen in Modena Motorsports #11 posted the fastest lap in the Cup category with four minutes to go. But nothing was certain just yet, with the equally matched Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, where it’s always a fight of hundreds and thousands of a second between the cars.
Many tried, but nobody could beat Dries Vanthoor in the Tianshi Racing Team Audi #88, ahead of Car Guy Ferrari #11 with James Calado and Spirit of Race Ferrari #51 with Calado’s FIA WEC teammate Alessandro Pier Guidi. Tianshi Racing Team Mercedes #66 with Max Wiser qualified fourth, while Bonamy Grimes in TF Sport Aston Martin #5 took the chance to get a few extra laps, but as a Bronze ranked driver, he was no match for all the factory drivers.
Benny Simonsen in Modena Motorsports #11 took Pole Position in the Cup category ahead of EKS Motorsports #59 with Lu Wen Long and OpenRoad Racing #21 with Francis Tjia, while Earl Bamber Motorsport #12 with Graeme Dowsett got two of his times disallowed due to Track Limits, and had to settle for P4, but actually having the pace to be up front too.
There appears to be a great race shaping up for Sunday, in the Asian Le Mans Series 2018/19. The only slight downer in this equation, is that it starts at 02.00 European Time Sunday morning, but will be streamed via Youtube.