High noon in The Land of the Rising Sun for GT3

Published on October 15th, 2009

A three way battle is on the cards as the GT3 Asia Challenge makes history by heading to Japan for the final two rounds of the 2009 season.

The renowned Autopolis Circuit in the Oita Prefecture will host the penultimate and final rounds of the GT3 Asia Challenge over this weekend that will see Wayne Shen, Tunku Hammam Sulong and Francis Tjia swap paint to down the winner’s sake at the end of the championship.

In one of the closest championship tussles yet, a miniscule four points separate the trio with Shen in the lead after an impressive outing at Sentul in the previous round.

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On the other hand in the GT4 class, the title is all but Christian Chia’s after his closest competitor, David Lai, suffered an engine failure mid-season and hopped onto the GT3 boat. The number boffins still say it’s possible for Francis’s older brother, Marcel, to win but with a 22-point gap in between the family feud it’s as good as over.

The nail-biting finisher was courtesy of the drama at Sentul in August that saw Shen fete a double celebration for taking the over the championship lead with his first win of the season on his birthday.

“The Championship is very interesting with the top four drivers all within a handful of points. Add in the weight ballast situation and new race circuit, it will be quite interesting to see what happens,” said Shen after his celebration in Sentul.

Playing bridesmaid on the podium with Shen was F. Tjia. After driving a great race in the second race, a late braking incident involving Tunku Hammam towards the end left him dicing with the gravel and unable to cross the chequered flag.

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Hammam on the other hand wasn’t dealt a bad hand from the incident and finished fourth to jump up to second in the overall lead, three points short of Shen.

Singaporean Melvin Choo will be on hand in Japan to try and carve a mark in his Mosler MT900R GT3 that he previously campaigned in the Merdeka Millennium Endurance Race. Choo might have an ace up his sleeve over his opponents as he has some lap time at Autopolis having competed there back in 2007 for the Asian Touring Car Series.

The round scheduled for this weekend will coincide with race eight of the Super GT round and will serve as a supporting race.

text: Dinesh Appavu  pix: Afos

 

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