GT3 Asia

Published on June 23rd, 2009

The eighth round of the GT3 Asia racing series that was held during the Malaysian leg of the Super GT at Sepang turned out to be a hotly contested battle right from the get-go, ending with Sam Yau claiming his second consecutive win of the season.

The Team Machine driver gave it his everything as he beat an equally impressive Tunku Hammam Sulong and Francis Tjia of Modena Motorsports to the finishing line to further strengthen his lead on the championship points table.

The track conditions were slippery and even after the 12 laps of the Formula V6 Asia race that was held just before, a few of the drivers had to endure the misfortune of spinning their respective race machines during the first few laps of the race.

Tunku Hammam started the race splendidly as he pushed Yau right from the very beginning for the lead. But Tunku Hammam’s Porsche just could not overtake Yau’s Lamborghini as his Porsche could not brake as late as the Lamborghini, and this drawback gave the Hong Kong driver the advantage and the lead into turn 1.

Yau capitalized on the Porsche’s weakness and sped on to open up a gap between himself and Tunku Hammam.

Yau commented, “The first corner was quite tough. Tunku as always had a good start off the line. He was right next to me all the way down to the 100 meter mark but fortunately for me he had to brake a little early, so I was able to get in front of him and hold my lead. But it was a tough start nonetheless.”

From there, Yau’s focused driving and ability in keeping a consistent laptime enabled him to maintain a gap from the second placed Tunku Hammam.

“I was just focusing on one corner at a time. The track was very slippery today and at turn 9 a couple of times I almost spun. The race was good and I was watching behind me for a good five to six laps and I saw Tunku, Francis and Siu having some kind of a battle,” said a more than happy Yau at the Post Race Press Conference.

The fight for second place was a close, eagerly-contested one between the trio of Tunku Hammam, Siu Yuk Lung and Francis Tjia, which started from the first lap itself when at turn four, Hammam was outbraked by Siu, leaving him down in third place, just ahead of Tjia. Siu however was not able to hang on to second place for too long, as he made a mistake on the next lap when he took the final turn wider than he should have, presenting Tunku Hammam with the perfect chance to reclaim second.

“I was second but coming into turn four I made a little bit of a mistake and one of the Siu brothers passed me. I chased him and on the second lap I got him on turn nine when he made a mistake.”

“By then Sam was quite far in front. I pushed very hard and although the track felt slippery, I still pushed hoping that Sam would make a mistake, but he didn’t. He drove really well in today’s race,” said Tunku Hammam.

All the drivers were constantly fighting for traction on the rather slippery track. Once Tunku Hammam made his way past Siu, the Team SPS Racing driver made a mistake on the next lap, on turn 9, running wide on to the grass and getting caught in a spin, leaving Tjia to take third.

“It was a great race. I was a bit worried about starting in fifth and I was definitely aiming for a podium. At the first turn after the start, Wayne Shen was in front of me and he went a bit wide which allowed me to sneak in to finish the first lap behind Tunku and Siu Yuk Lung.”

“Then the battle between the three of us was on and it went for about three laps or so and it was exciting. Tunku Hammam made a really good pass on Siu right in front of me. I was very happy driving where I was because it was very entertaining, the guys were side by side for a good half a lap, then it was my turn to pass Siu,” Tjia commented happily.

In the GT4 category, Dilantha Malagamuwa drove like a winner, battling his way from the tail end of the grid all the way to up to seventh overall, thus claiming and earning a hard fought victory in the GT4 category. The Sri Lankan driver grittily took his Porsche 997 GT3 Cup M up the grid in the ten lap race, overtaking the rest of the pack calculatingly one by one.

“I had to start from the back and I didn’t know the setup of the car because we didn’t get any time during the week. We just took a gamble and it was a fantastic race,” said an elated Malagamuwa after the podium ceremony.

Canadian driver Christian Chia took second place for Team Road & Track in the category, while Australian Paul Tresidder of VRD Motorsports finished third.

An ecstatic Chia said, “The race was fantastic, and it was a tough battle throughout. Dilantha was too quick and I had a problem with too much oversteer, but I still finished second in class and I can’t complain.”

Tresidder echoed Chia’s happiness as he too was well pleased with the outcome of the race.

He commented, “The first part was good but I got boxed in by a couple of Lamborghinis which wasn’t a lot of fun, so trying to chase down Christian was difficult.”

“Overall it was good fun, everyone gave plenty of racing room so it was a very good race and I’m very happy.”

words: Azdee Simon


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