|Porsche overpowers Audi for the win in GT Asia Series Round 3|
It was the best start for the Porsche 997 GT3R of Hisao Shigeta in Round 3 of the GT Asia Series when he overpowered the pole sitter at the start of the race to claim the lead that he held all the way to the chequered flag.
Shigeta started the race from third and as the lights turned green during the rolling start, the Direction Racing driver took both Li Zhi Cong in the Asia Racing Team’s Porsche 997 GT3 R and the Audi R8 LMS Ultra of Marchy Lee to claim the lead.
Despite using used tyres, Shigeta managed to keep his pace and lead all the way to the chequered flag.
“It was a tough race for me. I was on old tyres while everyone else was on new tyres. I’m keeping the new ones for the next race.
“My tyres were working for the first three laps and the car ran very smoothly, so I just took it easy”. He praised his team for a great job on the car and the for a well timed pit-stop session.
“The pit in was great and it was the reason I won.
“The track conditions were really hot but the car was in great condition, but the tyres not so, but the car was really nice so I could control and keep my pace and stay in first” he said gratefully.
Shigeta will start the nest race from pole after setting the best time during Qualifying 2 yesterday. “The next race I will have 70 kilos added but I will have new tyres so it will be fun for us” he ended.
Ferrari F458 GT3 driver, Mok Weng Sun claimed second in a last minute overtaking manoeuvre on Li’s Porsche at turn four of the last lap. The duo was battling throughout the second half of the race after the pit-stop sessions.
Mok finished the race drenched in sweat but smiling at the outcome. “I’ve got to say, that is my best race ever! It is the most fun I have ever had.
“I started in fourth and in the first six to seven laps I was keeping pace with the front group, then I started fighting with Marchy in the Audi and managed to overtake him into P3”.
Mok and his team decided to test a new strategy, starting the race with used tyres and during the pit-stop changed into another set of scrubbed tyres, which made a difference for them. “We went quicker in the second stint with the lighter fuel load and started closing the gap up to Li”.
“He drove really well. I could tell he was struggling with tyre degradation and was sliding everywhere but he didn’t overdrive it and I was waiting for him to run wide in the corner.
“I was hunting him down for a good eight to nine laps, then I said to myself ‘last lap, I have got to really go for it’. I’ve got good tyres and I took a gamble braking into turn four. He was very fair, gave me room to some in and I managed to get second. Best race ever and I am shattered” ended Mok with a laugh.
Li mirrored his enthusiasm and was also all smiles after the race “It was really exciting being chased by Mok for about nine to ten laps. Its good.
“I may have made some mistakes in the pit, at the stop, which made me lose about three to four seconds allowing the guys in the back to catch up”.
On what he thinks the race tomorrow will be like, Li says “I think the track will be better and the track cooler a little bit, so it should be better for the car”.
In the end, the Audi duo, Marchy Lee and Jeffrey Lee, finished the race in fourth with the Ford GT3 of Frank Yu closing in behind him. Yu’s Craft Eurasia Racing’s teammate, Samson Chan crossed the finish line in sixth followed by two F458’s, Team Clearwater Racing’s David Lai and newcomer Bob Irawan in eighth. The Indonesian driver was happy with his first race despite making a mistake that caused him to overshoot into the gravel on the third lap.
Eric Lo made a spectacular return to the Series claiming his first win in the GTM class in his Ferrari F430, when he crossed the line in ninth, ahead of Hideki Onda. The Hong Kong native immediately credited the win to his mechanics “we spent a lot of time setting up the car and the car is great so I was able to do quick laptimes during the race”.
Lo and the other F430 of Onda were battling throughout the forty minute race and the duo were happy with the great fight. Onda was not able to start his car at the warm-up lap and had to be pushed in to start from the pit-lane. “I had a little bit of trouble starting the car in the beginning as usual” he laughed.
“I had a good race, Eric and I raced together all the time so I really enjoyed trying to follow him”.
Jacky Yeung in the Lamborghini Gallardo GT made a good finish, overtaking Philip Ma’s Porsche 997 Cup 3.8 right at the end of the race. Ma, who lost his radio communication thought Yeung was one lap down, and left a big gap for him to pass. Ma laughed to himself after the race with the result.
Siu Yuk Lung in the Porsche 997 Cup 3.8 and Arrows Racing’s Billy Fung in the Lamborghini LP600 completed the finishers for Round 3.
Sri Lankan Dilantha Malagamuwa is still plagued with car troubles, backing out of the race early on with a fuel leak while Shim Ching had engine woes that ended his race on lap 15.
The GT Asia Series continues at Sepang International Circuit with Round 4 at 11.00am (local time) on Sunday, 10 June 2012.