GT3 Asia: Birthday bang as Wayne’s a winner

Published on August 18th, 2009

It was a blissful birthday for Wayne Shen on 17th August as the birthday boy cashed in on lady luck to bag Round 10 of the GT3 Asia championship at Sentul International Circuit in Indonesia.

Playing bridesmaid on the rolling starting grid, W.Shen was sandwiched between pole-sitter and Modena Motorsports teammate Francis Tjia and Tunku Hammam. As the race kicked off, Hammam nicked ahead of W.Shen into second and was on the tail of Tjia that made a good start as well.

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Disaster struck on lap 14 as Hammam’s Porsche shook hands with the rear of Tjia’s Ferrari, sending both into an unpleasant introduction in the gravel and leaving W.Shen in the lead.

As if effectively ending his chances of winning wasn’t enough, Tjia’s prancing horse had run its last derby but Hammam managed to get his car back on to the track albeit for one very minor but utterly significant detail, the bonnet had blown open from the impact and was now but a rather large speck in Hammam’s windshield.

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Despite the limited field of vision, Hammam still managed to finish on the final podium spot as he had already lapped the back markers before the unfortunate incident with Tjia.

Completing the podium to make it a brotherly birthday bash was W.Shen’s brother, John, in second, although he wasn’t sharing in the ageing procedures for the day.

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“The Championship is very interesting with the top four drivers all within a handful of points. And with the weight ballast situation, it will be quite interesting and we will be on a new circuit so the next race will be a lot of fun,” ended W.Shen, that takes over the reigns of the championship following his victory.

“Tunku was just trying to make a pass and it was just a braking incident. I was just an innocent bystander but that’s racing, so be it. I just hope I can come back to Autopolis, Japan in the final two races of the season and do really well. I am definitely looking forward to it,” reflected Tjia on the race and the upcoming round in The Land of the Rising Sun.

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“I managed to catch up with Francis with about four to five laps to go and we were very close. On the second to last lap as we were approaching turn 3, I could not stop in time and hit him right in the back. I am really sorry for that, it was not done intentionally. We both ended up in the gravel but I managed to rejoin the race. My bonnet came up and I could not see anything, I was trying to see through a corner of the screen,” narrated Hammam on the incident that ended Tjia’s race.

In comparison, things over at the GT4 arena were as dramatic as celery dipped in marmite with an incident-free race replication of the previous day’s race with Christian Chia taking the win followed by Marcel Tjia in second and Shim Ching in third.

The upcoming round in Japan will definitely be a scorcher, especially for the GT3 Asia class with the top four well within grasp of each other.

text: Dinesh Appavu  pix: AFOS

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