November 21, 2016

Kurzbuch wins in China following epic battle with Davis


The 2016 Guan Kou Sunpadow GP in Xiamen, China is in the books and with Nicholas Lee dominating the Modified Touring class and wrapping up the title on Saturday it was up to the 1/8th scale class to provide some excitement for the spectators on Sunday and it didn’t disappoint. With light rain overnight and a sprinkling or two during the day it was enough to cause some issues but this all added to the excitement.


In the first of the 2 semi finals it was to be a clear win by Infinity driver Jesse Davis, who after a bad qualifying in which luck wasn’t on his side had to bump up through the lower finals to take his place at the back of the grid in the semi. A masterful drive, helped by engine problems for World Championship runner up Takaaki Shimo which eventually led to his retirement, the Australian would take a clear win ahead of ARC driver Toni Gruber, Hong Kong star Lai Canxi and Thai driver Trin. All four drivers guaranteed their spot in the main with the next fastest from both mains to make up the 10 drivers for the 45 minute a-main.


In the second a-main there was some dramas as Hachler struggled with his engine and Jilles Groskamp having a problem on the first lap that required attention from his pit crew. But the 30 minute race settled down until the 10 minute mark when it would rain just as Serpent driver Merlin Depta took over the lead. The race would be stopped and a delay taken as the track dried. It was decided then to run the final 20 minutes and combine the results and because of this it would be impossible to get the fastest 5th place driver from this final so it was decided that the top 5 from each semi would join pole man Kurzbuch in the final to make it an 11 car final.


When the race restarted it was chaos as a number of top drivers had problems. Depta who had been leading prior to the stoppage, lost steering on his car and completely destroyed his 977 in a high speed crash. Andy Moore would be another to break on track, while his team mate Groskamp would start to have engine issues, flaming out a number of times but still managing to stay in contention. In the end Shinnosuke Yokoyama would take the victory in front of Silvio Hachler with Liu Zhian, Cristiano Sartor and Jilles Groskamp joining the 5th place finisher in the first main Xu Qiliang in the final.


Straight from the start it was to be a battle as Simon Kurzbuch missed the tone and got dropped by the field into the first corner with Davis getting into the lead. Helped by a crash between Gruber and Yokoyama in the 2nd corner the World Champion could get back up into 2nd with Hachler getting into 3rd. For the next 10 minutes it was to be an intense battle between Davis and Kurzbuch as the Swiss driver put enormous pressure on the Australian but the Infinity driver kept his cool and with a very mature drive kept his lead as Kurzbuch stopped for his first of two tire changes.


Davis would lead for the next 5 minutes until he took his first of two tire stops relinquishing his lead to the Shepherd driver and so began a reverse of the battle seen at the start of the race. At some points Kurzbuch seemed faster but nearing the end and after their final tire stop had been made Davis seemed to catch up to the first place and following the final fuel stop had closed right onto the back of Simon’s car. In the last minute of the race Davis tried a pass but couldn’t make it stick but it wasn’t to be the big finale it had been building up to be as his OS engine ran dry on the last lap which left Simon off the hook and on to take a hard fought win while Davis was secure in 2nd, 2 laps up on Silvio Hachler who had had a great battle with Toni Gruber for the final podium position.


View our complete event coverage (in Chinese) here and view our event gallery here.


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