1000km China 2011 - 12.11.2011

The 1000km race at Zhuhai marked the end of both the ILMC and Roger’s own season.


The weekend actually started on the Thursday with two testing sessions. The circuit was wet for the first session and the CRS Racing 430 Ferrari was quickest GT car overall in the hands of Tim Mullen ahead of the works BMW’s and other “Pro” entries. Roger was 2nd quickest driver overall in the session and when the rain was coming down at the end of the session the 62 car was quickest overall in Roger’s hands!


The second session was damp but drying. Again the car was on the pace but struggling more on the Michelin tyres in the greasy conditions. The team ended up 2nd in GTEAM behind the Corvette driven by Oliver Gavin.


After the Free practice sessions Roger commented:


“Its very encouraging how quick we are in the wet. The car feels great and I found that my simulator experience prior to coming helped massively. It was quite amusing to see my name above a certain Mr Hakkinen when looking at the individual driver lap times.”


The following day, the official running started with free practice. The team ended up 3rd in GTEAM with a time set by Tim of a 1:36,1. Roger was hot on Tim’s heels with a  1:36,5 and Pierre Ehret less than a second behind that. Overall the combined pace of the drivers was very promising for the rest of the weekend.


With qualifying only 20 minutes, the honours were handed to Tim who duly got the job done and set class pole, mixing it with many of the “quicker” Pro cars. The team were very positive for a strong end to the season.


Unfortunately in the race a puncture essentially robbed the 62 car of a class podium. Pierre Ehret at the wheel lost over a lap when a rear tyre let go coming onto the start finish straight. The team finished 15th overall and 4th in class.


Roger reflected: “A slightly disappointing end to the season. We had a cracking start with Tim in the car and he lead the class right up to the end of his stint. Pierre did a good job until around 45 mins into his stint when he suffered a puncture. This meant an excruciatingly slow lap to return to the pits to avoid damage or an off. We ran 3rd for much of the last couple of hours but the Krohn 57 car had 1 stop less than us and we ultimately lost 3rd place in the last driver change. I matched the Krohn car's pro driver for the last stint in terms of lap times but we were around 60 second behind for my stint and there was no way I could make that up. I had a very scary moment near the end when the Audi was pushing hard against the Peugeot and spun right in front of me on the main straight. I had to make a split second decision which way to go to avoid him and thankfully got it right!”


The 4th position in class leaves the CRS Racing car 4th in the GTE-AM Championship for the inagural Intercontinental Le Mans Championship.

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© Roger Wills Racing 2011