Winter and Armannsson Crowned Champions with Zhuhai Victory

Chris Winter and Einar Armannsson won the GT Super Series Round of China from Pole Position and were crowned as 2018 World Driver’s Champions.

Winter led from the onset after getting the better start of the front row starters and would be on cruise control for the duration of the first stint in the race. Behind Winter it would be a battle to find out who would be the next to take a crack at the Championship leader. Initially it would be second place in the championship Evgeny Restov but his initial lack of relative pace opened him up to attacks from the quick starting Matteo Rossi. Rossi would be unable to complete the pass for second, letting Winter to have a buffer to the cars behind. Next up to move forward would be Denis van Walwijk recovering from a slow start.  The South African dropped down to fifth after turn 1 on the first lap and would move back to the forefront, including passing teammate for second, in only a few laps before starting to close the gap to the Solvalou Lamborghini. With van Walwijk leading the way, it allowed Restov and Rossi to follow along in pursuit before Restov would take back second place, shoving his teammate aside at turn 9. The trio would continue to fight for second as the first round of pit stops closed in, joining the group late in the first stint was the twenty five Pagani of Anton Robishaud.

Robishaud would be the first of the front runners to pit at the end of lap twenty-five, with his teammate Amato Agostini opening up the pit window the lap before. But troubles would hit for Giulio Mari, a issue in the pit stop while he took over from the Canadian resulted in a additional pitstop and their Zonda stuck deep in the field for the rest of the race. Rossi would be the next front runner to pit before the rest of front runners would pit on the last lap of the first pit window on lap thirty-two. The pit crew for the 28 Scuderia Italia Ferrari put in their finest work of the year, jumping ahead of the 02 Solvalou Lamborghini in the pit stop and ultimately cycling themselves to the lead. Einar Armannsson, taking over for Chris Winter, now found himself in third overall after Ryota Wong cycled ahead with a earlier pit stop with Felix Horvath now in fourth in the other Pagani Zonda GR.

Einar would make short order of Wong and James James Davies, moving back to the lead before half distance, but the Brit would not lie down and would take the fight to the Icelandic driver for a bulk of the second stint; the pair trading the lead a few times before Davies started to fade on worn tires. It would prove decisive as Davies, staying in the car for the final stint, found himself stuck behind Robishaud and Paul Travesen in seventh place. after the second round of pit stops cycled out. Racing Team Solvalou would pull a fast one on Scuderia Italia and pull in Armannsson a lap earlier than the Factory Ferrari team projected and without being able to respond in time. Chris Winter kept the lead once pit stops resolved, now with Matteo Rossi in second and Denis van Walwijk in third, all in close proximity.

Rossi would try his hardest to make a pass on the American happen, but would find himself too far back to make the overtake successfully. A late rain shower would not play favorites either leading to Chris Winter taking home Racing Team Solvalou’s second overall win this season. James James Davies would be able to pass Paul Travesen late in the stint but only finish sixth overall, helping to seal the World Driver’s Championship for Chris Winter and co-driver Einar Armannsson, the gap between the drivers of the 02 and 28 now twenty-three points with fifteen points left to play for. The Gulf Aston Martin and the other Scuderia Italia would complete the podium with Fabian Rei and Ryota Wong finishing a quiet fourth place overall.

Winning in the Independents Class was the pairing of Koyomi Setou and Redur Jaffer. After Gia Van Dycke led in class to start the race, Setou would be put to task to hunt down the Belgian. Setou would pass Joey Alliot in the Carson Corvette at the first turn early on in the stint before focusing in on the Scuderia Belgio Ferrari. The Japanese driver would pass Van Dycke after thirty minutes of the race had been run and would not look back. It would be smooth sailing for the rest of the race for her and co-driver Redur Jaffer in Best In The World’s first class win since Belgium last year with Asim Adhikari and Marlin Hortin, they also finished tenth overall in the Round of China.

Finishing second in class, eleventh overall was the Commonwealth Corvette of Markus Jacobson and Valeri Kozar. The pair found themselves in the midst of the midfield battle for most of the race before finally clearing the battle through the second round of pit stops. Jacobson would start to close in on Setou but would eventually run out of time to mount an attack. Their second place in class, paired with the LKM duo of Harrison Wilkinson and Carlton Cho only finishing tenth in class, results in Valeri Kozar being crowned as Independent’s Champion in China. This is the first time in the series a lone driver has been crowned champion, with Jacobson and Darren Older Jr. sharing starting driver duties throughout the season.

Race Results – After 76 Laps

327Mvan Walwijk/ConstantiniScuderia Italia+0.837
414MRei/WongGerald Pereria+4.064
628MRestov/DaviesScuderia Italia+11.321
741MTravesen/SparksGerald Pereria+16.506
803MLe Fay/FazioSolvalou+18.750
1011ISetou/JafferBest In The World+20.384
1330IJenkins/PellerinGlobex Scorpio+37.530
1521IVan Dycke/SeronBelgio+41.651
21007MMagnus/GeiszlerFalken Tire+52.151
2355IDouglas/MelroseTom Douglas+55.425
25555IA.+V. Reyna-SanchezTom Douglas+56.211
2608IWhiting/de LangeChris Short+57.924
2799IEinfeldt/von SchweigerPeople's Republic+2 Laps
292IKikkawa/GauthierBoutsen GinionSpun Off
303IM.Bourne/TuckerBoutsen GinionGearbox

Fastest Lap – Car 6 (Gulf Aston Martin – Rossi/Davidson) – 1:30.343

Infinite Improbability Drive of the Race – Pagani: If it weren’t for some tough luck on a pitstop, they looked like legitimate contenders for a double points haul, and maybe a podium.

Reject of the Race – Boutsen Ginion: Their race fell apart in a hurry with a double DNF before quarter distance.