A flawless win for ART’s Porsche 997 GT3 R at GT Asia Round 5 in Fuji

Published on July 18th, 2011

It was a day of firsts today for the GT Asia Series when it ran for the first time at the Fuji Speedway Circuit where the Porsche 997 GT3 R, Asia Racing Team and Eddie Yau took their first win in Round 5.

Yau in his Porsche has had a superb weekend so far, setting an impressive pace throughout the practice sessions and Qualifying on his way to claiming his first win of the season. The win also propelled him up the GT Asia Series Championship points to take the lead before Round 6 tomorrow.

Yau crossed the finish line with a total of 22 laps completed in the 40-minute race. He beat the firm favourite Ferrari F458 and the Lamborghini LP560 to the podium whilst pit-stop mistakes caused the Ford GT GT3 and the Audi R8 to drop down the ranks and off of the podium in fourth and fifth.

“I had a really good start off the grid and I really like Fuji” said the beaming Yau during the post race press conference. “From the very first practice all the way through I was doing a really good pace”.

Of the race, he said “I had a good start and I was following Weng and Tunku into turn 1. They fought for a couple of laps and were very close. I was about one and a half to two seconds behind, waiting for my chance, which came sooner than I thought.

By this time, Mok had passed Tunku Hammam who was struggling with the Lamborghini LP560’s gearbox and was fighting with his car, leaving an opening for Yau to overtake. Yau then quickly picked up his pace playing catch up to race leader Mok.

“I was getting quicker and quicker and caught up a bit and when Weng went into the pits, I managed a flying lap. I had a good pit stop and came out ahead of him, a 3 seconds lead and I just kept on driving” he ended.

Although the 120kg added to the Ferrari F458 of Team Clearwater Racing made the car harder to handle, Mok drove a superb race to claim second. “I definitely had a lot of fun in this race. I had a brilliant start and by turn 1 I was in P1 for a little bit. Then Hammam got me back by turn 3 and we fought for maybe three to four laps before I managed to get the lead, which I held on to until the pitstop”.

The pitstop proved to be his undoing when he was just two to three seconds too slow and as he went out, Yau managed to do a faster stop and claimed the lead. “By the time I came around I saw Eddie with a three second gap and he drove absolutely flawlessly and didn’t make a single mistake” ended Mok.

The pit-stop session left many confused and almost half of the grid were penalised for taking less than the mandatory 85 secs. As a result numerous stop-go penalties were issued, whilst Nigel Farmer, in the Ginetta G50, was disqualified from the race for failing to serve his penalty.

Malagamuwa in the meantime benefitted from a precisely timed stop and a consistent drive. Although Malagamuwa said the LP560 did not perform to its best, it is only because the engine is a year old, has been used for a 24-hour race and is carrying 100kg of success ballast.

“I’m carrying so much weight and so its difficult to keep up with the guys on the long straight and they all drove very well. But it was a great race and it’s so nice to come back to Fuji”. The circuit was the first one that he competed at when he switched from bikes to cars in 1990. “There is a lot of memories here and it’s so good to be on the podium”

In the GTM class, Christian Chia claimed the win ahead of Wayne Shen in a battle fraught mid pack. Chia was caught up in a battle with Sasha Chu and the duo changed positions several times throughout the race. Chia made the right choice to come in for an early pit stop and managed some quick uninterrupted laps to give him the class win.

“The race went very well, the start was hectic but clean. I was behind Sasha and had a difficult time passing him so I came in to pit” a decision that proved to be right.

“After that I had some clean laps and the pit board showed I was third in class then second in class and then first in class. I had a big smile on my face” said an elated Chia. He finished ahead of brothers Wayne Shen and John Shen in their Ferrari F430’s.

Meanwhile in the GT4 Asia, it was another perfect finish for the Concord Absolute Racing team when Mark Williamson and Ryan Marsden claimed another double podium for the team.

“It was great. The Concord Energy car was flawless once again and the laptimes were very consistent throughout. It was a very interesting start and the race went as planned for us” said Williamson after the race.

The GT Asia Series is supported by Michelin tyres, Graham London and Auto Art. The Series is organised by Motorsport Asia and Supercar Club Hong Kong.

words & pix: Motorsport Asia

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