In Class B it was another Chinese Porsche dealer team which set the fastest lap, with Singapore’s Ringo Chong of Team Kangshun clocking 2:10.316. Newcomer Anthony Liu put in an impressive performance on his racing debut to set the second-fastest time in the category, ahead of Mainland China’s Wang Jian Wei of Team BetterLife.
Two-time champion and Sawa’s LKM Racing team mate Darryl O’Young didn’t record a time after locking up under braking on his first lap out. The FIA World Touring Car Championship regular hit the Armco and was unable to rejoin the session. O’Young and Marcel Tjia of OpenRoad Racing, who also spun out early on, will start Round 1 from the back of the grid.
Sawa was pleased to get his season off to a good start: “I was checking my data all night as we weren’t 100% happy with the setting after yesterday’s practice. I’m still not 100% confident, so will work with our engineer on the setup, but I will do my best in the race for my team, sponsors, and for the people of Japan.”
Imperatori, who is making his GT debut this weekend, is still finding the limits and missed out on practice yesterday with a technical problem: “I’m still getting used to the car and I wasn’t able to extract the best from the tyres. But I could still feel we had a chance. This is my first time in Shanghai in a GT, so I need to find my markers, and the challenge today is to find the balance.”
Ringo Chong, who was runner up in the Class B championship last year, was already enjoying being part of this year’s bumper field: “It’s great this year. A lot of the drivers, especially the young ones, are quite fast which is a good thing. It’s life that as you get older you realize that the young drivers get faster, so I’m going to have to work harder!”
After his first ever qualifying session, Anthony Liu was still left wanting more: “I still wanted to find another two tenths. I think I can do it in the race. This is my first race – does PlayStation count?”