Asian LMS - Race Performance win the 4 Hours of Fuji
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Asian LMS - Race Performance win the 4 Hours of Fuji

The #8 Race Performance Oreca 03R Judd has won the 4 Hours of Fuji, the second round of the Asian Le Mans Series. The #35 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca 03R Nissan came second, with pole sitters #25 Algarve Pro Racing Ligier JSP2 Nissan third.

The #26 Tockwith Motorsports Ligier JS P3 won the LMP3 class and the #5 DH Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 won the GT Class, the first ever wins for both teams. The #96 TKS Porsche 911 GT3Cup, the sole GTCup entry, finshed 22nd overall and were very happy with their performance.

The weather was perfect for the race on Sunday, with Mount Fuji’s white top shining above the circuit. The cars lined up on the grid, and at 12:15 took the green flag, only to then be stuck behind a safety car for 20 minutes after the #48 PS Racing ADESS 03 hit the wall hard at T6 which needed to be cleaned up. When the race got going again, the #35 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca kept the lead it claimed at the start and started to draw a gap away from the rest of the pack. The race was shortly interrupted once more, after the #38 Spirit of Race Ferrari 488 GT3, GT class winners back in Zhuhai, stopped on track and brought out the safety car to pull them to safety. The rest of the race went by smoothly, with a lot of action seen in the LM P3 and GT classes, who were racing at a similar pace here at Fuji. It was very hard to tell who would come out on top in each class.

In LM P2, after Ho-Pin Tung’s strong start in the #35 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca 03R Nissan, Giorgio Maggi in the #8 Race Performance Oreca 03R Judd kept a close pace, and once the drivers had changed over to Thomas Laurent in the #35 and Fabian Schiller in the #8, the fight for the lead heated up, with newcomer Schiller overtaking Laurent and managing to keep the position for most of the race. Struan Moore brought the #8 home and took the win for the team, with Gustavo Menezes in the #35 keeping the car going despite electrical issues and taking the 2nd place on the podium.

Pole sitters, the #25 Algarve Pro Racing Ligier JS P2 Nissan with Michael Munemann, Andrea Roda and Andrea Pizzitola, had a slow start, losing a few places on the first lap and then getting held up in the safety car periods. They still managed to finish 3rd overall, even after receiving a few penalties for pit stop infringements. The #24 Algarve Pro Racing Ligier JS P2 Judd, shared between Tacksung Kim, Jonathan Hirschi, and Mark Patterson, also fell back a few places at the start, but managed a consistent race and finished 4th.

The LMP3 teams fought hard for the class podium. Both the Ginetta LMP3 and Ligier JSP3 led the class by moments, but it was the pole sitting #26 Tockwith Motorsports Ligier JS P3 of Nigel Moore and Phil Hanson who took the win at the end of the four-hour race. ARC Bratislava put in a strong performance as well to come in 2nd place with the #4 Ginetta LM P3 of Miro Konopka, Darren Burke, Mike Simpson, having started 12 on the grid, 7th in class. Third place went to the #1 Jackie Chan DC Racing Ligier JS P3 of James Winslow, David Cheng, and Hiroki Yoshida.

The 2nd ARC Bratislava car, the #7 ARC Bratislava Ginetta LMP3, driven by Neale Muston, and Konstantins Calko was 4th, and the #67 PRT Racing Ginetta LMP3 got off to a very strong start with Charlie Robertson at the wheel, going up into 3rd overall on the first lap, which he held for the first hour, but didn’t manage to get back the lead after the pit stops, though they fought hard, and came 5th in class.

Despite having not done many laps throughout the weekend and having to start from the back of the grid, the #85 G-Print by Triple 1 Racing Ligier JSP3 also had a strong performance in the category, leading the LMP3 class for a time. Unfortunately, they finished the race in the pits after losing a wheel on track in the final hour.

For our third LMP3 manufacturer, it was a sad end to a tough weekend for the crew of the #48 PS Racing ADESS 03, who ended their race in the wall at T6.

The GT class saw a lot of action in the fight for the class lead as well, with the #5 DH Racing Ferrari 488 GT3, driven by Stephane Lemeret, Michele Rugolo and Matthieu Vaxiviere, coming out on top at the end and finishing 5th overall. Team BBT with the #37 Ferrari 488 GT3, driven by Anthony Liu, Davide Rizzo, Alessandro Pier Guidi came 2nd, with the #91 Team AAI BMW M6 GT3 of Jun San Chen, Ollie Millroy, and Philipp Eng chasing them down to take 3rd place, overtaking the #6 VS Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 of Kei Cozzolino, Yuhi Sekiguchi, and Corey Lewis in the last few laps of the race.  

The fight for the GT class win was fought between #61, #6, #5 and #37 who were all very close to each other for most of the race. For a moment, it looked like the #61 Clearwater Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 might take the win, but they suffered a small collision with the #3 DH Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 which cost both of them places, meaning that the #3 DH Racing team finished 5th and the Clearwater crew finished 7th in class, with Asian Le Mans Series newcomers Team Audi Korea with the #31 Audi R8 LMS GT3 between them in 6th.

The #90 Team AAI BMW M6 GT3 did not take the start of the race after discovering a hole in the fuel tank just before heading to the grid.

Our GTCup entry, the #96 TKS Porsche 911 GT3Cup with drivers Shinyo Sano, Shigeto Nagashima and Takuma Aoki - the Asian Le Mans Series’ first handicapped driver -  had a good steady race, without any issues, and finished 23rd overall. The crew were very happy with their performance and it was a great moment that clearly meant a lot to all three drivers.

Our next race is coming up quickly already – round three, the 4 Hours of Thailand, will be held at Buriram on the 6-8th of January. See you after the winter holidays!

- Asian LMS press release -

Results

Photo (copyright: Timothy TAN / Rewind Images - AsianLMS): Race Performance #8 Oreca 03R at Fuji.