Craft-Bamboo Racing were able to claim a third place podium in the inaugural Sepang Three Hour for round seven of the GT Asia Series after a dramatic end to the rain soaked event. It was the #99 VLT Aston Martin of, Darryl O’Young and Daniel Lloyd, who took P3 after they started the afternoon from pole position after two blistering qualifying performances. The #88 Interush sister car of, Richard Lyons and Frank Yu , proved to be quick as well, starting from P3 on the grid for the three hour spectacle.
They unfortunately suffered some setbacks but fought back towards the end of the race to take P10. The #99’s efforts today, see Darryl O’ Young only three points away from first place in the drivers’ championship heading into the next round in Shanghai.
It was, Richard Lyons, who would take to the circuit first and as with the other circuits featured in the GT Asia Series, Lyons was certainly no stranger. Having raced at Sepang since 2004, expectations were high and Lyons did not disappoint, setting a 2:03.871.
It would be the combined time of the pair that would be responsible for the starting order at the Sepang Three Hour, so, Frank Yu, would need to set another quick lap to help the #88 car stay towards the head of the field. Frank was showing good pace right from the start and the Hong Kong driver set a 2:06.237, which would see the #88 car starting from P3.
Darryl O’Young was the first of the #99 pair to hit the Malaysian track and it wasn’t long before the seasoned race driver showed his skill, setting a time of 2:04.841. This was up there with some of the fastest times of the session, boding well for their chances in the afternoon.
New teammate, Daniel Lloyd, had not driven the circuit before and was focused on doing all he could to give the #99 car a strong start. With prior experience in the Aston Martin, the young British driver set out to do his best and after getting into a rhythm set a 2:04.436. This was good enough to see them claim pole position for the three hour race later that day.
Richard Lyons, Driver
“Qualifying went really well this morning, we were able to extract the best from the car after the setup last night to get us P3. We were hoping for closer to P1 but I feel Frank and I did a good job to get a solid starting position.”
Frank Yu, Driver
“I knew Richard set a really good time so I was motivated to push really hard and I was happy with my qualifying run. I knew the circuit and tried to take the car to the limit and we were rewarded with P3 which is a good starting position to be in for the three hour race.”
Darryl O’Young, Driver
“It was combined qualifying this weekend, Daniel did a great job and I am really happy that our times were good enough for pole position so it is great to be starting first for the endurance race.”
“Qualifying was great, Craft-Bamboo Racing made me feel really comfortable getting to grips with the team. Obviously, new track, new car and new country but they did a great job of getting me up to speed nice and quick. I learnt a lot through testing and managed to improve enough for qualifying this weekend. Darryl was quick, so together we got combined pole which was great.”
It was, Frank Yu, who began the three hour event for the #88 Interush car and he made a clean get away from the rolling start, keeping the car out of trouble into the first few turns. Frank battled in the intense heat to drive a fantastic stint, keeping at bay many seasoned international GT drivers and at the end was able to hand over the car in P8.
Richard, showed his great pace from the get go and started to move up the field but after 20 minutes the weather had taken a harsh turn and brought out the safety car. Making the most of the situation, Lyons pushed as hard as he could and used his knowledge of the circuit to combat the weather and he was able to finish his stint in P6.
With the weather causing havoc for the team’s strategies as the track switched between wet and dry, Frank was putting in a solid second stint in P7 when the car spun and became buried, unable to make it out under its own power. After being towed back onto the circuit the #88 car was now in P13 and Frank put his foot down to claw back as much of the lost time as possible, displaying some great pace in the changing conditions.
Lyons was back in the car for the final stint and as the weather settled, he was able to put in some stellar lap times but was unable to make back the time lost in the previous incident. As the flag fell after a gruelling three hours, the #88 Aston Martin crossed the line in P10 to take home some more championship points.
Darryl O’Young started the race from pole position and remained in the lead after the first corner fray, managing to create a gap between him and his rivals as his first stint progressed. It wasn’t until his tyres began to degrade that the competition was able to catch up and he handed over to his new teammate, Daniel Lloyd, just behind the lead in P2.
The #99 pair were given an extra nine second penalty for their P2 finish in Fuji which hampered their brilliant start but, Lloyd, exited the pits and was instantly on the pace, charging towards the leader in P4 after only a few minutes on track. Unfortunately, the weather turned and brought with it a downpour of rain causing an accident which required the safety car, the team made the perfect call to change to wet tyres and the early decision helped to give them the one up on the other teams. Unfortunately, coming out the pits, Lloyd, found himself behind a back marker who was unable to catch the safety car on its slicks, which lost the #99 pair roughly 45 seconds. This single incident would see the pair of drivers trying to regain that time for the rest of the race and ultimately prevented them challenging for the victory.
Despite this, Lloyd, never gave up and kept a positive spirit which he used to make an intense comeback, driving a fantastic stint in the treacherous conditions to bring the car into the top three before changing over to his teammate. O’Young became locked in a battle with championship rival, Keita Sawa, during his stint and after an excellent battle eventually overtook the Bentley with a late breaking manoeuvre to move up to P3, before handing over to his young teammate for the final push.
Lloyd exited the pit lane and began his charge to the flag, with the aim of making it onto the podium. He hustled the Aston Martin around the Malaysian circuit and demonstrated incredible talent as he began to close in on P3. His determination and focus were unwavering and he was able to take P3 away from the Ferrari ahead of him, while the possibility of taking P2 was becoming a reality. Unfortunately, even though the #99 car was closing down the Bentley in rapid fashion, the clock ran out and they crossed the line in P3 just 0.3 seconds behind.
The top five positions in the drivers’ championship are now separated by only three points, with Darryl O’Young now fifth and they will be doing everything possible to reclaim the lead when the series hits Shanghai later this month.
The pursuit of the GT Asia Championship Title would not be possible without the support of INTERUSH, VLT, POAD, Phytter, Gravity, Tunewear and FreeM.
Richard Lyons, Driver
“Frank started the race and we got off to a good start and we seemed to have good pace, it was a little frantic and we were looking quote confident. I jumped in for the second stint and began to rain, so we took a gamble and stayed on the dry tyres which didn’t seem too bad as we were able to make it up to P6 but Frank had a little mishap and we dropped back a bit. So unfortunately we were only able to get P10 but it was a great job by the team and we look forward to Shanghai.”
Frank Yu, Driver
“It was another really tough weekend for us, I started the first stint and got into a pretty good position. I was just following the leaders, with some pros and amateurs in the mix, I was in P5 and then all of a sudden I felt really dehydrated, the last nine laps of my first stint was physically, really difficult for me. The team asked me to let some cars go and I handed the car over to Richard in P8.”
“I rested and rehydrated before my second stint, the team and ourselves made a decision to put me on slicks, at the time it was a good call but it started raining as soon as I Ieft the pits. I then had a spin on the straight and put us three minutes back so the race was over.”
Darryl O’Young, Driver
“It was a tough race today, unfortunately got caught up with the incident and lost a lot of time but I’m still proud of the team, we didn’t make any mistakes and they did an excellent job. Sometimes these incidents follow you away and sometimes they don’t and this weekend they didn’t. To score this many points in the double points race means it keeps us in contention and we are really close to the championship still. Overall a good weekend and big thanks to CBR for their excellent job.”
Daniel Lloyd, Driver
“So starting from pole we had high hopes for the race and Darryl had a great stint keeping the lead almost for the entire run until he handed over to me. I went out on slicks and we had good pace but then it started to rain heavy so I came in to pit to put on wets under safety car which was the right call. When I went back out under safety car, I got stuck behind a GTM car which was on slicks with an AM driver, unfortunately lost 45 seconds which in the end cost us the race. Both of us did a great job in some really tough conditions and we brought the gap down to about 8 seconds. Everyone did a great job, we were just a bit unlucky today but we have a great car and great pairing to go along with the rest of the season.”
Richard Coleman, CEO of Craft-Bamboo Racing
“It was fantastic to witness the first ever GT Asia Series endurance event and the team did another excellent job this weekend. Both cars fought incredibly hard and #99 was able to come away with a podium to keep them firmly in contention for the drivers’ championship. Everyone is looking forward to the next round in Shanghai where we will be aiming to take some more top results.”