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GT3 Asia: ABSOLUTE joy for Rump and Tan at Fuji Speedway

GT3 Asia: ABSOLUTE joy for Rump and Tan at Fuji Speedway

07.07.2019: BLANCPAIN GT WORLD CHALLENGE ASIA Fuji Speedway, Japan Sunday, July 7th 2019 Victory, by 0.742s, was long overdue for Weiron Tan and Martin Rump whose bad luck has been a factor of the season so far. A podium in yesterdayís race suggested th


BLANCPAIN GT WORLD CHALLENGE ASIA
Fuji Speedway, Japan
Sunday, July 7th 2019





Victory, by 0.742s, was long overdue for Weiron Tan and Martin Rump whose bad luck has been a factor of the season so far. A podium in yesterday’s race suggested the tide was turning, and Absolute’s duo proved it by overcoming a 10s Pitstop Success Penalty in today’s 60-minute contest to announce themselves as championship outsiders.



The opening stint belonged to Mercedes-AMG whose entries filled the top-four positions before the pit window opened. Alessio Picariello led away from pole in the best of Craft-Bamboo’s entries while, behind, Naoki Yokomizo moved up to second after bumping Triple Eight’s Jazeman Jaafar out the way.



Picariello’s pace meant he was 11s up the road once the pitstops began after 25 minutes, although some of that advantage was due to Jaafar remaining bottled up behind Anstone’s Mercedes-AMG. That also allowed Melvin Moh to remain a close fourth, while Rump’s Audi lurked in fifth.



Absolute were the first frontrunners to pit and naturally slipped down the order as a result of their longer mandated pitstop. However, the Audi had also been the leading Silver Cup entry before the stops, offering hope that Tan could exploit his natural speed advantage against amateurs Jeffrey Lee, Jefri Ibrahim, Xu Wei and Daniel Au who ran first-to-fourth once the window closed.



At first their advantage seemed insurmountable. Picariello’s co-driver Lee was almost 10s clear of Triple Eight’s Ibrahim, while Vutthikorn Inthraphuvasak – whose co-driver Alex Imperatori pitted from sixth after starting ninth – was closing in on both of them after passing Wei and Au soon after the stops.



Then, with 15 minutes remaining, a Safety Car was called while marshals dealt with T2 Motorsports’ stranded Ferrari. When racing resumed, Tan was at the tail of a five-car train covered by just a handful of seconds.



Within two laps he was up to second and chasing down Inthraphuvasak, who passed Lee soon after the restart. The Porsche and Audi then spent the next five minutes nose-to-tail as Tan waited for his moment. It came at the start of the final tour when the Malaysian darted to his right and down the inside into the heavy braking zone for Turn 1. Inthraphuvasak cut back on the exit and ran side-by-side with the R8 through Turn 2 before Tan finally completed the race-winning move.



Behind, the late Safety Car had brought more Silver Cup entries into play, and it was one of those – Craft-Bamboo’s Darryl O’Young and Christina Nielsen – who ultimately finished third. The latter first avoided the contact between Anstone’s Wei and HubAuto Corsa’s Marco Seefried that accounted for both the Mercedes-AMG and Ferrari before passing Ibrahim and taking advantage of Lee’s drive-through penalty for multiple track limits infringements.



Likewise TSRT’s David Chen who finished fourth after the Audi he shares with Rahel Frey started 17th and pitted 14th. Ibrahim held on to finish second of the Pro/Am runners and fifth overall after outpacing Alex Au’s VSR Lamborghini over the closing laps.



Behind, the overall championship’s top-two underlined the unpredictability of today’s race by somehow finishing seventh and eighth despite serving unscheduled pitstops and time penalties. Both were involved in the same lap one incident that resulted in Manuel Metzger being spun to the back and Philip Hamprecht picking up a puncture.



While the latter and his Absolute co-driver Tanart Sathienthirakul fought back to finish seventh without further issues, the Solite Indigo Racing Mercedes-AMG had to overcome a 15s Pitstop Success Penalty for winning yesterday’s race and another stop/go penalty incurred for a short pitstop. Somehow, Metzger and MG Choi finished eighth.



Both ARN Racing and ABSSA Motorsport will also wonder what might have been without their delays. Hiroaki Nagai and Yuta Kamimura came home ninth despite a drive-through penalty, while a late puncture forced the McLaren Piti Bhirombhakdi shares with Keita Sawa to pit under the Safety Car. They completed the top-10.



The Vattana Motorsport Lamborghini of Chonsawat Asavahame and Akihiro Asai won the Am Cup class by 2.5s from Kei Nakanishi and Shigekazu Wakisaka’s LM Corsa Porsche after a race-long battle that also featured Ben Porter and Andrew Macpherson, who completed the podium.



Just six points now separate championship leaders Sathienthirakul and Hamprecht from Choi, while Sakamoto – who failed to score today as a result of Seefried’s puncture – is another eight behind. Inthraphuvasak and Rump/Tan are fourth and fifth, 17 and 26 points adrift of top spot, respectively.





Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia continues with its first-ever visit to Korea’s former F1 circuit on August 3/4.





- Paul Yao, Benjamin Franassovici, photo SRO


Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/gt3-asia-absolute-rump-tan-fuji-speedway---193693.html

07.07.2019 / MaP

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