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Jonathan Venter Dominates in Shanghai with a Flawless Victory

  • Aug 22, 2016

Jonathan Venter Dominates in Shanghai with a Flawless Victory
Jonathan Venter took another flawless GT Asia Series victory at the Shanghai International Circuit in China, dominating race two with a lead of 11.5 seconds over second place in his #8 Absolute Racing Bentley. Venter started race one from P9 and fought a strong stint with front end damage before handing over to his teammate Keita Sawa, who was able to steer the big Bentley to the finish in P10 and score a crucial five points for their championship campaign. It was in race two though where the #8 pair would truly shine.  Sawa started from P4 and kept pace with the leaders until the driver change, staying out for as long as possible to maximize their track position. Venter was then able carve his way up into P1 shortly after the pit stop and charge his way to the finish with an impeccable display of speed and finesse to take his third win of the season.

The Australian was up first in the #8 Bentley to determine his start position for race one later that afternoon. It was the young GT driver’s first visit to the Chinese circuit and the team were still configuring the car’s setup, but Venter managed to set a time of 2:06.813s, only 0.9s behind P1, proving just how competitive this year’s GT Asia Series field truly is.
Sawa was the man responsible for Q2 and he delivered with a time 2:06.803s, just besting his teammate and securing them a vital P4 starting position for race two on Sunday.
Race One
Venter was able to get a clean start into the first right hand corner to hold onto his P9 start position for the first few laps. Unfortunately, after some contact with the Ferrari 488 GTB, the #8 Bentley suffered damage to the front spoiler, which forced the car to lose pace over the coming laps. Despite Venter’s pure determination to defend his position, he was unable to hold off the advances of the competition with the resulting aerodynamic damage. The Bentley driver knuckled down and pushed the car to its limits before changing over to his teammate during the compulsory pit window. The Bentley Team Absolute crew executed a precision pit stop to get Venter’s teammate out on track and up to speed, but the pair still had to contend with a 25 second success penalty from the previous round in Fuji. Sawa was able to make the most of his stint and managed to move up three positions by flag fall to take a solid P10 finish.
Race One Quotes
Jonathan Venter, #8 Bentley Continental GT3
“Start of race one wasn’t too bad, I managed to maintain my position but on lap three made some contact with the BBT Ferrari, which gave us some front aerodynamic damage. From there, we were struggling to keep up with the pace and then lost a few more positions during my stint. Sawa-san got into the car and was still struggling with some of the damage but managed to get it back up to P10. Not the result we wanted but that meant no success penalty for the race the next day.”
Race Two
With Sawa starting the race in P4, there were high hopes that the #8 Bentley could make a strong charge against the front row starters and pull off a win at the Bentley Team Absolute home base of operations in Shanghai. Sawa made an immaculate start to not only retain his P4 position but to defend it from the rabid competition behind. Sawa kept his pace on full boil throughout his entire stint, remaining out on track until the closing minutes of the compulsory pit stop window, managing to enter the pits in first place. Another faultless pit stop by the Absolute crew got Venter out millimeters ahead of the #55 Lamborghini Huracan in P2. Keeping absolutely ice cold under the impending pressure from the #55, Venter performed one of the most stunning out laps of his GT career to immediately edge away from the pursuing Lamborghini in what was possibly a victory defining moment. From here, Venter gave chase to the Gruppe M Porsche in P1, closing in and striking with pin point accuracy to take the lead. The young gun then delivered a master class to the GT Asia Series field in outright pace and precision driving, which was an even greater feat considering it was his first competitive outing in Shanghai. The rising star was untouchable during his stint, lapping with such speed and consistency that he finished the race an incredible 11.5 seconds ahead of second place. His third win and fourth podium of the season was also vital in ensuring that Bentley Team Absolute retained their extensive lead in the Teams’ championship.


Race Two Quotes
Jonathan Venter, #8 Bentley Continental GT3
“It was a really good race for us, especially for us to walk away with such a margin over the rest of the field. We are absolutely over the moon, Sawa-san had a great start and managed to gain a position or two before he handed over to me. I knew it was absolutely crucial coming out of the pits to keep the Lamborghini behind me as I warmed up my tyres before I was then able to catch the Porsche in P1 and pass him quickly. I am very happy with the pace of the car and I want to say thank you to the team and Sawa-san, this really helps us to get back in the fight and we are going to take all this momentum into the final round of the championship.”
Ingo Matter, Team Principal of Bentley Team Absolute

"Jonathan had another new track to learn, free practices and qualifying went well and we felt prepared for the weekend. An unfortunate incident in race one made it impossible to show the true pace of the car. In race two Sawa was battling for the lead and once he handed the car to Jonathan he was on the pace straight away. It was the convincing manner and maturity with which Jonathan pulled away from the field of pros which impressed the whole team!"

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