Grunwell Wins First Shanghai Race in the Wet In the Series' first visit to the Shanghai International Circuit, James Grunwell of The Pizza Company Team Qi-Meritus took the win in Round 9 of the Formula V6 Asia. Kevin Chen of Champ ...
Grunwell Wins First Shanghai Race in the Wet
In the Series' first visit to the Shanghai International Circuit, James Grunwell of The Pizza Company Team Qi-Meritus took the win in Round 9 of the Formula V6 Asia. Kevin Chen of Champ Motorsport took second while Hafiz Koh, who started in fifth, climbed up the ranks to finish third.
The 12-lap Super Sprint race was held in wet weather conditions where Chen took pole position and the early race lead. The American driver held this position for six laps before being pressured by Grunwell to make a mistake at turn 7. Chen recovered to rejoin the race and finish in second despite pressure from third placed Koh towards the end.
Koh, who started the race in fifth, managed a good start and overtook his troubled Team TaraDTM teammate, Mark Williamson, at the start. He then kept up a steady pace and moved past Michael Ho when the Champ Motorsport driver spun at turn seven. From there, he picked up the pace and caught up to Chen on lap 10 and looked for a way past, but lost control at the second last turn of the final lap.
In the end, Grunwell took the chequered flag with a total time of 25:06.442, 5.919seconds ahead of Chen and a further 22.798seconds ahead of Koh.
"I was quite confident going into the race with the wet weather. I was quite quick in Japan, although I didn't win or finish, but I felt confident. Kevin got a good start, so I tucked in behind him, then I just let him go a couple of times and caught back up, just to find the limits of my car. Then as I got close to him, he spun, which made it very difficult for me because I had to avoid him. Then I had a moment at the same time, luckily we didn't come together.
"From then on, I was just really feeling the car, I wasn't really pushing too hard. I've got some adjustments for tomorrow if its wet and I'm sure we will have another good three races" said Grunwell during the post-race press conference.
For Chen, although disappointed at being unable to convert his pole to a win, he was quite happy with the results from the day. "I had a really good setup for the qualifying session and the race and I would like to thank the team for that. The wet track for me was not good as I don't have much experience in the wet. I tried to keep up and stay on-line but James gave me a lot of pressure and then I made a mistake when I hit the rain gutter, which is why I spun.
"After that I just rejoined the race and kept going. Then Hafiz gave me a lot of pressure also after that but I knew there was only two to three laps left, so I guarded my position and tried really hard to make sure Hafiz didn't get past me" ended Chen.
"Its my first time driving in Shanghai. During practice and qualifying we had a bit of understeer with the car but I was pretty confident in the wet. We were also quite quick in the wet and managed to chase Kevin. Although we had a lot more speed, I think I was too eager on the throttle on the last lap" said Koh.
Mark Williamson, who set the fastest Free Practice time this morning did not have a good outing, losing his position at the start to Koh.
"I made a mess for the rolling start, I was really slow around the last corner and made a big mess of that and lost a lot of momentum off the start line. I lost one place at the start to Hafiz and after that, to be honest, I was just too slow in the wet" said Williamson after the race.
The final three race for the Formula V6 Asia will be held on Sunday 23 November 2008 with the 15lap Grand Race (Round 10) at 10.00am, the 12lap Sprint Race (Round 11) at 12.55pm and the 15lap Grand Race (Round 12) at 3.30pm.