Kyoto Fujinami withstood a sustained push from Kei Casolin to take victory for him and the first team Yogibo Racing in the Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia Powered by AWS alongside Naoki Yokamizu at Sportsland SUGO this afternoon.
The bright blue Ferrari jumped from second to first at the start and remained the de facto leader thereafter, despite being under close scrutiny from the CarGuy Racing 488, which finished the opening period in second thanks to Takeshi Kimura. D’station Racing’s Aston Martin, shared by Satoshi Hoshino and Tomanobu Fuji, took the overall podium.
The Mercedes-AMG of the GTO Racing Team of Brian Lee and Hideto Yasuoka went on to claim their first win of the season, beating Akiland Racing’s Toyota after the pit stops. The pole-winning GR Supra, shared by Masayoshi Oyama and Masayuki Ueda, then gave up another spot to Team GMB’s Hiroaki Hatano and Shinya Hosakawe.
FERRARI VS FERRARI TO THE FINISH
A combination of Yokomizo’s demonic start and Fujinami’s tough defense set up Yogibo Racing’s first win of the series in a race that started on a slightly wet track after the rain in qualifying.
However, slick Pirellis were the only realistic option for the entire field heading into Turn 1 with Yokamizu starting second, well clear of Pole Tanart Satienthirakula. The Thai driver’s slow reaction at the lights also allowed Kimura to pass before the three cars – AAS Motorsport’s Porsche, D’station’s Aston Martin and the Uematsu McLaren team – took third at the top.
But the three-on-one definitely didn’t work and it was Satyenthirakul in the middle who was squeezed and spun around before being T-boned by the elusive Prince Abu Ibrahim. Both were able to continue until JMR’s damaged Mercedes-AMG Triple Eight went straight into the barrier, necessitating a Safety Car period.
A fantastic restart saw Yokamizu immediately restore some of his lead over Kimura, who was closely followed by Honda Comet Racing’s Yusuke Yamasaki, while Hoshino’s Aston Martin dropped to fourth in corner one drama.
Yokamizu’s lead was back to five seconds by the time the pit window opened after 25 minutes, which – along with CarGuy’s five-second success penalty and the passing of the Honda Comet – gave Fujinami some breathing room after the driver change.
But everything changed as soon as Casolino got up to speed and took second. It took just three more laps for the Ferraris to run together at the front, where the lead looked set to change at any moment.
But despite rarely running more than 0.5 seconds apart, there was nothing Casolino could do to dislodge or distract Fujinami, despite showing the nose and used different lines several times. And although apparently faster, CarGuy’s 488 never really had a clear chance of overtaking former Super GT300 champion Yogibo, who ran a superb defensive race. At the checkered flag, they were covered by only 0.4 seconds.
Fujii and D’station made the most of the Comet penalty that was issued for crossing the pit lane boundary line to come home in solitary third. He was 10 seconds behind the winner, but 33 seconds ahead of Seiji Ara, whose plus with BMW Team Studie co-driver Tomohide Yamaguchi ended the opening stretch in fifth.
X Works fought off a spin in qualifying, which saw David Poon start ninth and finish fifth after a strong performance by the latter. His co-driver Shaun Tong chased Ara to the finish, but eventually took the checkered flag less than 0.3s behind.
Keita Sawa got the better of Kantadi Kusiri, who continued his impressive AAS recovery, to come home sixth in an ABSSA McLaren that also featured Kaizumi Hiroshi, while the Uematsu Team 720S, shared by Tadao Uematsu and Yudai Uchida, won the Am class overall eighth.
Prince Geoffrey Ibrahim and Nick Foster lost some of their Kimura/Katzalin championship lead to finish ninth. So the #99 Mercedes-AMG of Triple Eight JMR can no longer mathematically win the title tomorrow.
The source. SRO Motorsports Group