Local Hero Li Qi Stars with Third Pole of Season in Zhuhai

Chinese driver Li Qi brought the local crowd into a frenzy when he secured his third pole position of the season at his home race in Zhuhai, China.

It was a strong qualifying session overall for Carson SpeedWorks, after Joey Alliot put in the second best time in the closing seconds of the session to give the factory Corvette outfit their second ever front row lockout, with their first coming last year at the RAC Tourist Trophy. But it was Qi’s first flying lap which initially lit up the timing screens and the crowd on the pit straight, it had put him half a second clear of the field after everyone had done their first flying laps. Alliot had found himself twenty-eighth on the time-sheets after catching the People’s Republic Ferrari of Robert Black on his out lap, thus losing time in the final two sectors of the lap. Also getting stuck behind Black, making his first appearance in Qualifying this season, was James Douglas who was twenty-seventh after the first runs were completed.

Douglas would steal away the Independent’s Class pole position with the only lap he would get on his second run from Czechmate driver Phil McCracken, the pair sharing the sixth row on the grid for Sunday’s race. Qi would improve by another two tenths on his second run, which would be enough of a cushion after Alliot’s flyer came in at the end of the session, the time close to what was set by Qi earlier in the session. This is Qi’s third pole position of the season, and breaks up Rhys Davies’s run of three consecutive pole position performances. Rhys will start Sunday’s race in sixth position, starting alongside the Scuderia Italia Ferrari of Evgeny Restov.

In the championship picture, it was a strong day for current second place runner Nathan McKane, who will start the Round of China from fourth position alongside James James Davies. It was especially important for the Ravenwest owner, as reigning champion and currents points leader Chris Winter struggled all session, and is stuck with a fifteenth place starting position. All of the drivers that currently remain with a mathematical chance at the World Driver’s Championship will start ahead of Winter, with Matteo Rossi starting tenth, Winter’s teammate Emma Pescatore starting alongside Rossi in ninth, and then Restov, Mckane and Alliot starting in the top five.

Directly behind the highest starting independent’s class pair of Douglas and McCracken is the current second place driver in the Independent’s Trophy in Peter Oliver. He, and second driver David Simmons, are eight points behind current leaders Melanie Bourne and Marie Alberta Luisa and start six places ahead of Bourne, but with only one other Independent’s Trophy car in the group separating them. With the way the points are structured in the Independent’s Trophy, it would only result in a two point swing in the favor of Oliver and Simmons as it stands before race day.

Qualifying Results – Round of China

164MLi QiCarson1:28.473
263MJoey AlliotCarson+0.213
328MJames James DaviesScuderia Italia+0.379
42MNathan McKaneRavenwest+0.401
527MEvgeny RestovScuderia Italia+0.840
640MRhys DaviesMacMillan+0.906
725MAnton RobishaudPagani+0.940
843MDarren Older Jr.MacMillan+0.954
903MEmma PescatoreSolvalou+0.962
106MMatteo RossiGulf+1.026
1155IJames DouglasTom Douglas+1.043
12550IPhil McCrackenCzechmate+1.124
1319IPeter OliverOliver+1.174
1414MFabian ReiGerald Pereria+1.193
1501MChris WinterSolvalou+1.205
1615MPaul TravesenGerald Pereria+1.387
1788IHarrison WilkinsonLKM+1.462
1824MAmato AgostiniPagani+1.552
193IMelanie BourneBoutsen Ginion+1.626
2013INatsuki YanameWinton+1.746
2141IKoyomi SetouBest In The World+1.808
2270INikov TimeTeam Astana+1.862
234IEliana DiazBoutsen Ginion+1.862
2432IKjeld AxelsenRMR+1.896
25555IAntonio Reyna-SanchezTom Douglas+1.923
2645IPatrick FeldhofferEuromotor+1.959
2730IPaul JenkinsGlobex Scorpio+2.002
28007IJohn MagnusFalken Tire+2.335
2934IArtesia MassOran+2.402
3099IRobert BlackPeople's Republic+2.903