2012 Pan Delta AFR Series Race
New AFR driver Shaun Thong on top of International Category podium – Wayne Shen takes IFC
The first two rounds of the 2012 AFR Series took place at the Zhuhai International Circuit today, with exciting battles between both AFR veterans and new Formula pilots. This year, there are two categories in the AFR Series, International and IFC.
At the commencement of the first race, Patrice Bonzom of Modena Motorsports got off to a brilliant start and passed pole-sitter ART’s Li Zhi Cong going into Turn One, with Modena’s Wayne Shen following a close 3rd. However, at the end of the first lap, both Li and Wayne managed to get by Patrice. In Lap 3, FRD PTP student Shaun Thong spun shortly after in Turn 4, with Tse Chiu and John Shen taking advantage to move from behine. Meanwhile Samson Chan made a pass attempt on Patrice and lost his front wing; despite fast driving, with the loss of the front down force Samson struggled to stay on the track while John, Chiu and Shaun took advantage of the mishap to get by.
However, John spun into the grass later on in the lap, allowing Chiu to move up to fourth. Meanwhile Shaun had set into a fast pace for his first-ever AFR race, and closed the gap on the Taiwanese star racer. Just a few laps later, Shaun passed Chiu going into Turn 7, while Samson drove off the track and became stuck after a valiant attempt to continue the race with no front wing.
By the end of the race, in the International Category it was Shaun Thong the win, Tse Chiu 2nd, and Li Zhi Cong in 3rd after a 30 second jump start penalty. In the IFC category, it was Wayne Shen with the win, Patrice Bonzom in 2nd, and Kenneth Ma in 3rd. In addition, Taiwanese star Tse Chiu set the 3rd fastest race lap in his very first AFR event, to the delight of the large race day crowd.
Li Zhi Cong wins AFR Series international Category
When the red start lights blinked out for Round Two at 3:45, Patrice Bonzom, who was on second position on the grid, once again got off to a brilliant start. Immediately taking the lead into T1, Patrice was followed closely by Wayne Shen in second and Li Zhi Cong in third, after Li had passed Shaun Tong and Tse Chiu at the start.
By lap three, Li passed Wayne for 2nd, with Wayne passing Patrice to take the lead. From then on, an exciting race-long battle developed between Wayne, Li Zhi Cong following closely behind, and Patrice in 3rd. Also by lap four, Shaun Tong who came out from FRD training course, and Modena motorsports’ Samson Chan had managed to get by Kenneth Ma, with Shaun managing to hold onto 4th for the remainder of his 2nd AFR race.
Meanwhile, to delight of the crowd the exciting battle continued up front as Li Zhi Cong made many pass attempts on Wayne Shen, but never had quite enough speed to get by. Finally during Lap 9, Li completed his pass on Wayne going into T11 and slowly opened the gap on Wayne for the remainder of the race, once again setting the fastest race lap in the process.
Taiwan superstar Tse Chiu, who had moved up to 6th after Kenneth Ma pitted with mechanical issues, slowly closed the gap on 5th place Samson Chan in lap 5. By the last few laps Chiu was less than a second behind Samson, but wasn’t quite able to close up enough for a successful pass attempt. In the end, Asia Racing Team’s Li Zhi Cong took the win in the International Category with Shaun Thong 2nd in only his 2nd AFR race, and Taiwanese star Tse Chiu in 3rd. In the IFC Category it was Modena Motorsport’s Wayne Shen 1st and Patrice Bonzom 2nd, and Samson Chan in 3rd.
The championship is still very much up for grabs, especially in light of the new AFR 2012 rule of a two-race season point’s drop which will increase competitiveness in the series. Rounds 3&4 are sure to bring excitement to AFR fans in June, with AFR off to an exciting and successful start in this weekend’s Pan Delta Racing Festival at Zhuhai International Circuit.