The second round of the GT World Challenge Asia Esports championship was hosted at the Laguna Seca circuit, as 92 of Asia’s best real and simulator drivers took to the fast and narrow North American circuit. The real driver race was a race full of drama, with Matt Solomon in the #36 Vita Juice Mercedes-AMG GT3 getting the lead early on. However it was Kevin Tse and Melvin Moh who emerged out of the chaos, with Tse taking the Real-AM victory and Moh producing a stunning recovery after getting a drive through penalty early in the race to score 2nd overall.
Real-PRO drivers Matt Solomon and Melvin Moh had a great qualifying, placing their virtual Mercedes-AMG GT3s in 5th and 6th on the grid, with Alex Liang and Darryl O’Young further back in 19th and 24th respectively. By the end of the first lap, Solomon, in his Vita Juice livered Mercedes-AMG GT3 had fought his way through and was in the podium positions, whilst Moh was unfortunately given a drive-through penalty, dropping him down the order. After several laps, Solomon found himself in the lead after the leader was also penalized, and led for the majority of the race extending to nearly a 5 second lead before the pit stops. In the final 15 minutes however, drama unfolded as he had a technical issue causing the car to stop on track and lose the lead, and in a double-whammy, was taken out by an Audi in the dying minutes of the race. Motul driver Melvin Moh however, stormed through the field and crossed the line in 2nd place overall, sealing Craft-Bamboo Racing’s second outright podium finish of the 2020 GT World Challenge Asia Esports Championship.
Further down the field, Alex Jiatong Liang finished in 17th place after a tough race which saw the Chinese driver fighting in the midfield for the whole hour. Darryl O’Young, in the #55 Vita VLT Mercedes-AMG GT3, was having a strong race despite qualifying in 24th place. He fought through the field, moving up as high as 11th before a pit-stop error dropped him back down the field, eventually crossing the line in 18th place.
In the Real-AM class, Kevin Tse drove yet another commanding drive. Tse put his #38 Motul Mercedes-AMG GT3 in 3rd position and 12th overall in qualifying, and despite starting mid-pack, did well to avoid the first lap chaos. Using his experience from the last race, Tse drove flawlessly and steered clear of any incidents to bring his Motul Mercedes-AMG GT3 across the line 1st in the Real-AM class, taking back-to-back class victories. In the #77 Vita Water Mercedes-AMG GT3, Frank Yu started the race from 8th in the Real-AM category, his troubles in the pit-stop meant he eventually finished 12th in class.
Craft-Bamboo Racing’s simulator drive Charles Theseira had a difficult qualifying, and started the race 13th overall. Theseira got a great first lap and was in 6th position after 2 laps. However, he was given a drive-through penalty which dropped him down the order. Thereon, it was damage limitation as he kept a good pace throughout the race and eventually finished 11th overall, and 7th in the Sim-PRO category.
The great performances at Laguna Seca means that Melvin Moh and Alex Liang are currently tied for 3rd in the Real-PRO championship standings. In the Real-AM class, Kevin Tse is leading the Real-AM rankings after his two victories. The 2020 GT World Challenge Asia Esports Championship presented by Tarmac Works reaches its halfway point next time out at the historic Silverstone circuit, on the 10th of November, and the team are looking forward to racing at the wide and fast Grand Prix circuit.
Darryl O’Young | Driver #55 Vita VLT Mercedes-AMG GT3
“I’m really pleased with the way the team is performing in esports and the effort put in by all the drivers. They have put in the hours of practice and preparation, hence being rewareded with strong results. It was great to see Matt running in the lead before he had the unusual technical problem, as well as Melvin fighting through the field following a drive through. The consistency Kevin is displaying is also remarkable, as its not easy to stay out of trouble in sim racing, let alone take two wins in two races. On my driving side, I have yet to get fully comfortable in the sim, but I’m pushing hard and getting more consistent each race. I had a clear goal to complete the race without incident, and this I managed to achieve. I was actually up to P11 before I made a mistake on my pitstop setting, dropping me down several positions. At the end, I’m having great fun and look forward to the next race in my Vita VLT racer.”
Matt Solomon | Driver # Vita Juice Mercedes-AMG GT3
“Overall it was a really solid race. Kept my nose clean and had a really good start, getting up to 3rd in the first corner. Picked up a few places and kept the lead all the way until the last 15 minutes, where for some reason I had a technical issue which caused the car to stop, and dropped down to 3rd. Was still looking to get on the podium, but was unfortunately got taken out in the chaos towards the end. Really unfortunate end to what was a really strong race, the car setup was perfect and it would have been a good result with the strong pace. Obviously disappointed that the win slipped through but I’m really happy with the direction and big thanks to Craft-Bamboo Racing for the technical support, and to our partners, and I’m looking forward to the next race at Silverstone, hopefully to get a win.”
Melvin Moh | Driver #7 Motul Mercedes-AMG GT3
“I certainly did not expect to finish 2nd after what happened at the start with the drive through. But it shows time and time again that we should never give up regardless of the situation. A big thanks for CBR and Motul for the support once again and I now look forward to the next race in Silverstone.”