Blancpain GT Asia GT3  - GruppeM hit back wit one-two in Fuji race 2

Blancpain GT Asia GT3 - GruppeM hit back wit one-two in Fuji race 2

22.07.2018: BLANCPAIN GT ASIA SERIES Mont Fuji, Japan Sunday, July 22nd 2018 GruppeM had looked strangely out of sorts for much of the weekend but rebounded brilliantly in a race that came alive after the pitstops.

BLANCPAIN GT ASIA SERIES
Mont Fuji, Japan
Sunday, July 22nd 2018




 
GruppeM had looked strangely out of sorts for much of the weekend but rebounded brilliantly in a race that came alive after the pitstops.




Pole-sitter Alex Imperatori led Davide Rigon’s HubAuto Corsa Ferrari by six seconds before the driver changes where a 15s success penalty for winning yesterday’s race effectively ended his and KCMG co-driver Yuke Taniguchi’s victory chances.




Instead it was Alexander Mattschull who emerged with the lead after Raffaele Marciello handed over in third. But the German had company in the form of Hiroshi Hamaguchi whose co-driver Marco Mapelli recovered to fourth after losing out in lap one’s first corner shuffle.



The two amateurs were also being caught by Silver-graded Nico Bastian after GruppeM’s decision to swap drivers early helped the #999 Mercedes-AMG take advantage of the pitstop success penalties served by three cars ahead.



Hamaguchi was the first to pass Mattschull, but when Bastian followed him through second quickly became first – and subsequently victory by 10.3s – thanks to the Japanese driver’s spin. The Lamborghini quickly recovered and was alongside GruppeM’s #888 Mercedes-AMG as they took the chequered flag, albeit just one-hundredth-of-a-second behind.



Further back, Taniguchi quickly passed Morris Chen’s HubAuto Corsa Ferrari after the pitstops but ran out of laps to catch his fellow amateurs ahead.



 KCMG’s Nissan therefore added a fourth place to its Race 1 victory after falling 0.4s shy of the overall podium, while the team’s second GT-R NISMO GT3 shared by Edoardo Liberati and Florian Strauss came home another six seconds behind after also recovering from a success penalty.



Hiroaki Nagai and Kota Sasaki’s ARN Racing Ferrari looked like a top-six contender all day, and so it proved after the pair led home Jono Lester and Nick Foster’s HubAuto Corsa-run 488 and the Craft-Bamboo Porsche shared by Sandy Stuvik and Shae Davies.



Chen and Rigon’s Ferrari ultimately slipped to ninth, one place ahead of Shaun Thong and Alex Yoong’s Phoenix Racing Asia Audi.



Once again it was KCMG’s Takuya Shirasaka and Naoto Takeda who claimed the Am Cup honours after their Audi beat Arrows Racing’s Philip Ma- and Shinji Takei-driven Honda NSX. Andrew Macpherson and William Ben Porter’s AMAC Motorsport Lamborghini completed the podium.



But there was disappointment for erstwhile overall championship leaders Martin Kodric and Dennis Lind whose FFF Racing Lamborghini picked up a puncture shortly after the pitstops. They therefore failed to score points for the first time this season, helping to hand Niederhauser – who occupied second before today’s race – the advantage with four rounds remaining.



DRIVER QUOTES


Patric Niederhauser, #999 GruppeM Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3:
“We were optimistic about striking back after Suzuka but it hasn’t been the easiest weekend. After our worst qualifying of the season I was expecting a tough race, especially as our car isn’t the fastest in a straight line.



 I felt like we’d maximised the result yesterday after serving the success penalty from Suzuka but today really came together for us. This time it was other teams’ turn to have those success penalties, which made things easier.”




Blancpain GT Series Asia now takes a two-month break before reconvening for its penultimate rounds at Shanghai on September 22/23.






-Benjamin Franassovici, photo SRO

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/blancpain-gt-asia-gt3-fuji-gruppe-m-one-two---179043.html

22.07.2018 / MaP

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