It will be an interesting battle at the front for GT Asia Series Round 7 with the Lamborghini LP600 leading a great mix of Supercars at the Suzuka Circuit later this afternoon.
Billy Fung’s partner for the weekend, Akihiro Asai managed a blistering pace of 2:06.003 during a scorching 40 degree qualifying session to claim the pole position. He will start the Round 7 race ahead of Alexandre Imperatori, who is filling in for Marchy Lee in the Audi R8 LMS Ultra and partnering Jeffrey Lee.
Row two will be filled by Direction Racing’s Hisamori Hayashi in the Porsche 997 GT3R and the Ferrari 458 of Clearwater Racing with Mok Weng Sun. Two 997 GT3R’s will line behind them with Direction Racing’s Hisao Shigeta and Asia Racing Team’s Li Zhi Cong in sixth.
Mok will then start at the front of the grid in pole for Round 8 after clocking 2:06.395 in Qualifying 2. He head the race from Shigeta, Dilantha Malagamuwa in the Lamborghini LP560 for Dilango Racing, Hayashi, Li and Frank Yu in the Ford GT3.
“The car was running good. I had a bit of problems running in the third lap but the car is running good and I know this track very well. It’s been a while since I ran here the last time but hopefully we will do good” said Asai after the Qualifying sessions.
“At the moment he did slower than yesterday but again the car had a little problem so we will have to go and have a look at the data and fix the car” said Asai of his driver partner, Fung.
Fung was happy with the result and with his experienced teammate, learning from him over the weekend. “This is very exciting, I have wanted Aki to be my partner for a while,” he explained.
“The car was not in normal condition, there must be some mechanical problems over there. During the stint, I hit the brake and the car spun. Today’s performance would be a hurdle for my partner so hopefully in the race the car will be back to normal and I can perform to my potential.”
He added, “I have learnt a lot from Aki and especially this track, it’s one of the most difficult tracks for me. For an amateur I am grateful that he is so helpful and giving me all the tips and techniques of how to do it for tomorrow.”
For Mok, the sessions ended giving him mixed feelings as he was unhappy about the mistake he made in Qualifying 1 even when talking about his pole for Round 8. “I’m happy with that but disappointed with the position for Round 7. Q1 I did a big mistake on my flyer lap and almost crashed at the esses. I took on some grass, the engine overheated so I had to come in to park the car.”
“I think I’m P4 for race one but a pole for race 2 but I’ll take it. It’s going to be hard to overtake here during the race, its not an easy circuit to overtake on so I’ve got to keep up with the Pro’s who are running up front and hopefully try to get them during the pitstop or after the driver change.”
He then added, “The fight we had in Fuji is carried over here and I’m really looking forward to this afternoon” referring to the starting lineup for Round 7.
Direction Racing has a strong presence this weekend, with You Yokomaku setting the fastest time in the GT Master Class for both races this weekend. He will lead his teammate Tsukasa Fujita, Tomei Sports’ Shigeru Terashima and Hong Kong’s Jacky Yeung in the Lamborghini Gallardo GT for Round 7.
In Round 8, Yeung of Arrows Racing picked up his pace and found almost one second to be the second fastest of the GTM drivers. It will be a very close race with the pack as they are closely matched in Qualifying times and are sure to put on a good show.
The GT Asia Series Round 7 will be held later today, Saturday 18 August 2012, at 4.05pm (local time) and Round 8 is scheduled for Sunday 19 August 2012 at 9.00am.
The Suzuka Circuit is operated by Mobilityland Corporation, a subsidiary of Honda Motor Company. The 5.8km circuit is one of the most exciting to race in Japan with beautiful scenery surrounding every corner including the skyline dominating giant wheel at the circuit’s theme park. The circuit is located on the Southern coast of Japan, 400km from Tokyo and 80km from Kyoto – a place famous for its Japanese gardens and shrines.
The GT Asia Series will continue to Autopolis International Circuit on 28-30 September before heading to be a part of the Macau GP at the Guia International Circuit for the Series’ Season Finale on 16-18 November.
The 2012 GT Asia Series is supported by, Yokohama ADVAN, Graham Timekeepers, KW Automotive, AutoArt, Stand21, Endless, Cody Enterprises and RaceRoom.
The GT Asia Series is jointly organised by Motorsport Asia and Supercar Club Hong Kong.
words & pix: Motorsport Asia