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Lamborghini Super Trofeo Asia Race 5 victory in Fuji for Gama Racing duo van der Drift and Chen

Lamborghini Super Trofeo Asia Race 5 victory in Fuji for Gama Racing duo van der Drift and Chen

06.07.2019: Gama Racing’s Chris van der Drift and Evan Chen took the overall and Pro wins from pole in the opening race for Round 3 of the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Asia at Japan’s 4.563km

Gama Racing’s Chris van der Drift and Evan Chen took the overall and Pro wins from pole in the opening race for Round 3 of the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Asia at Japan’s 4.563km Fuji Speedway today, narrowing the gap on the Pro leaderboard to title rivals Juuso Puhakka and Takashi Kasai of FFF Racing Team to just a single point.



As the clouds rolled dramatically over Japan’s majestic Mount Fuji, Hojust Racing’s Afiq Yazid and Toshiyuki Ochiai crossed the line second overall ahead of Puhakka and Kasai, taking their first Pro-Am victory of the season in the process after a strong outing which saw the pair push every inch of the 29-lap race.



Second in the hotly-contested class were Alex Au and Yuki Nemoto of Vincenzo Sospiri Racing, their points haul ensuring Au remains at the top of the class leaderboard, albeit with a margin of – once again - just a single point. Taking the final Pro-Am podium place were the D1 Racing Team pairing of 2019 season debutants Henry Kwong and Max Wiser.



FFF Racing Team’s Steven Lin, driving solo, crossed the line first of the Am runners after snatching the lead in the closing moments of the 50-minute race from Promotion Racing’s Satoshi Furuta and Jun Tashiro. However, Lin was later handed a 30-second penalty for a late-race contact with his rivals. That gave the Promotion Racing pair a well-deserved Am victory from the PSC Motorsports Thai brothers Sarun and Saravut Sereethoranakul, with fellow Thai Bobby Buncharoen of True Visions Motorsport in third.



The 852 Challengers duo of Paul Wong and Clement Li claimed their fourth Lamborghini Cup victory in five races, strengthening their position at the top of the leaderboard. Second were yh Racing Team’s Takamichi Matsuda and Daijiro Yoshihara, with GDL Racing’s Gabriele Murroni in third.






Race 5



Van der Drift led the field of 19 Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo Evo racing thoroughbreds away from pole, with Leipert Motorsport’s Lamborghini Squadra Corse Young Driver Program member Brendon Leitch alongside, making it an all-New Zealand front row.



However, after the field was released, the younger Kiwi was dropped to the back of the pack after early-race contact with fourth-row starter Richard Muscat of GDL Racing, before embarking upon an epic comeback. Fellow countryman van der Drift, meanwhile, made a wheel-perfect getaway to pull clear of his rivals, chased by Nemoto, Yazid and Pro rival Puhakka, with a flying Tashiro in fifth overall and leading the Am field.



In the Lamborghini Cup, Wong quickly snatched the lead from pole-sitter Murroni at the start. While the 852 Challengers were to maintain the lead to the flag, an unlucky Murroni was passed by Yoshihara in the closing minutes of the race.



As van der Drift masterfully controlled the race, the leading trio were covered by just a single second, all three maintaining an incredible pace.



Further down the order, Aylezo Motorsports’ Zen Low came under fire from Am rival, T Squared Racing’s Huilin Han. The pair made contact, with Low slowing to a halt on track as a result, and Han retiring into the pits.



As the minutes ticked away towards the driver changeover, Yazid finally reeled in Nemoto, passing him on lap 11 just before the pit window opened. Van der Drift continued to push as hard as he dared in order to hand Chen the maximum breathing space at the changeover, but it was Yazid who stayed out an extra lap before handing the wheel to Ochiai.



Leitch, meanwhile, had pulled off an epic comeback to plough back up through the order and up to seventh by the time he handed over to Massimo Vignali.



A crucial moment in the race came when Ochiai emerged from the pits to find himself two abreast with Chen. Chen held his nerve – and the race lead – managing to pull an impressive gap of more than a second from the Japanese driver by the end of the lap. As Chen roared away in the lead pursued by Ochiai, Kasai closed up and passed Au to go third overall.



There was frustration for Danny Stutterd, who had taken over the GDL Racing car from Muscat, who was forced to pit with a puncture, rejoining the race and crossing the line in 16th.



As the final minutes counted down, the intensity of battle only increased.



With just over a minute remaining, contact at Turn 1 between Lin and Futura tipped the #77 car into a spin. As Chen increased his margin at the front of the field, Ochiai began dropping back, falling into the clutches of Kasai. The Hojust Racing ace held on though, claiming the Pro-Am victory and finishing second overall, less than a second clear of the FFF Racing Team Pro duo.



The Lamborghini Super Trofeo Asia continues on Sunday, July 7, with Race 6 getting underway at 10:10 local time (GMT+9). D1 Racing Team’s Pro-Am pair Kwong and Wiser will start from pole position, with Nemoto and Au joining them on the front row of the grid. Van der Drift and Chen start from the fourth row with Pro rivals Puhakka and Kasai alongside.






- Nikki Kemp, photos Lamborghini Squadra Corse

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/lamborghini-trofeo-asia-fuji-victory-gama-racing-duo-van-der-drift-chen---193636.html

06.07.2019 / MaP

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