Asia Racing Team drivers Luis Sa Silva, Tin Sritrai and Chi Cong Li stole the show at the opening race of the Ordos’ weekend.
The weekend started well for the Macau founded and Zhuhai based team, when Sa Silva shot to the second place of the Qualifying. If Luis’ performance didn’t come as surprise to anyone in the paddock, the same couldn’t be said about Sritrai third spot in the grid. The tight and twisting Ordos track suits Sritrai driving style, and the Thai racing hero knew how to take the maximum out of it. Teammate Chi Cong Li qualified fifth and Zhang Ran was eleventh out of twelve cars. With three cars in the first five positions, Asia Racing Team had reasons to smile but the best was yet to come.
The three ART top drivers had a good getaway. Sa Silva secured the second spot, and Chi Cong Li jumped to third in front of teammate Sritrai. Knowing that the leader was going to be penalized for jump-start, Sa Silva managed his race to win for the second time in the series. Sritrai and Chi Cong Li had a hot fight for the second place and Asian trophy win with the Thai driver crossing the line in front of his Chinese colleague. Race 1 was short for Zhang Ran as she got sandwiched by two opponents at the start, damaging the front wing, ending up later in the gravel at T5.
Speaking about his second race win, Sa Silva said, “I’m very happy to have closed the gap to the first, its good to get some more solid points today. I knew Matheo was going to be penalized and that I was actually the new leader, so I decided to keep cool and take it easily till the end”.
For the second race of the weekend Sa Silva lined up second with his team mate Chi Cong Li just behind him in third, Sritrai in fifth, and Zhang Ran started in twelfth. The Angolan prodigy got away cleanly off the line and fell into place behind the leader. Sa Silva soon started to charge towards race leader however the championship leader had an answer and maintained the gap well. Chi Cong Li did a good start and kept his third position for a couple of laps but wasn’t able to sustain the speed and was caught by his Thai teammate. Sritrai finished again in the podium and celebrated the second Asian Category win at Ordos.
By the end of the weekend, Sritrai commented, “It feels really good to have finally finished in the podium after a difficult start to the season. I made no mistakes and I was fast from the beginning so it’s a great feeling. The team did a good job, and this will definitely give us momentum as we move forward”.
Meanwhile Chi Cong Li was involved in an accident and finished sixth. Zhang Ran was eleventh but dropped to twelfth and last at the wire.
Sa Silva, Sritrai and Chi Cong Li are now second, fourth and fifth respectively in Formula Pilota China drivers’ standings. Sritrai and Chi Cong Li are both in the Top-3 of the Asian Category.
The Formula Pilota China will now take a month break, with the racing action resuming in earnest at Guangzhou in China, for the FIA World Touring Car Championship support event, which will take place 4-5 November 2011.
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