Phantom Pro’s Ling and Absolute’s Cairoli start up front at Motegi

Phantom Pro’s Ling and Absolute’s Cairoli start up front at Motegi

> YZ Racing with BMW M Team Studie and Checkshop Caymania share GT4 poles
> Results: Motegi Qualifying

Ling Kang and Matteo Cairoli have taken a pole position apiece for this weekend’s two Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia Powered by AWS races at Motegi.

It was no surprise to see Phantom Pro’s Silver class Audi beat the predominantly Am contingent in Q1, although Hiroshi Hamaguchi was particularly impressive en route to second place in FFF Racing’s Lamborghini. However, the car’s 15-place grid penalty means Absolute Racing’s Bao Jinlong lines up alongside Ling.

Q2 belonged to Porsche and specifically Absolute whose 911s spent most of the 15 minutes contesting pole between themselves. Alessio Picariello set a PB on his final flying lap but that was still 0.156s down on Cairoli’s 1m52.260s benchmark. R&B Racing’s Dennis Olsen starts third, while just one second covered the top-17.

Only two GT4 cars have made the trip to Motegi. And, given previous results, YZ Racing with BMW M Team Studie was expected to take both pole positions. Masaki Kano delivered by beating Naohiko Otsuka, but the Checkshop Caymania Porsche gained revenge in Q2 when Am driver Sho Kobayashi sensationally claimed pole by a tenth from Max Orido.


A track limits infringement denied Phantom Pro’s #29 Audi pole at Suzuka. But there was no such misdemeanour at Motegi where Ling set two quick laps in succession to seal top spot.

CREF’s stranded McLaren then brought out the red flags halfway through the session. A 0.6s advantage gave Phantom Pro the confidence not to run again, and it proved a shrewd decision despite small improvements elsewhere.

The most impressive of them came from Hamaguchi who pushed Bao down to third and missed out on theoretical pole by half-a-second. The Japanese driver knew his efforts would be in vain, though, thanks to a penalty incurred during his previous appearance at Suzuka.

Bao therefore starts alongside Ling and ahead of Andrew Haryanto’s Audi Sport Asia Team Absolute Audi that remained a contender throughout the session.

Suzuka winner Anthony Liu will serve the maximum 15-second Success Penalty in Race 1, but he limited some of that damage by jumping Craft-Bamboo’s Mercedes-AMG up to fifth in the order – and fourth on the grid after Hamaguchi’s penalty was applied – on his final flying lap.

BMW M Team Studie’s Tomohide Yamaguchi briefly appeared in second but ultimately wound up fifth ahead of R&B Racing’s Yuan Bo and championship leader Vutthikorn Inthraphuvasak.

His co-driver, Picariello, initially set the Q2 pace before Cairoli – whose first flying lap was two tenths slower – got up to speed. The Belgian and Italian both went quicker next time around but it was #992 rather than #911 that now had provisional pole by four tenths.

Olsen then briefly deposed Picariello, but the AAS Motorsport entry responded twice more to ultimately finish 0.156s behind Cairoli.

Yuta Kamimura’s Porsche Center Okazaki 911 finished fastest of the Fanatec Japan Cup entries in fourth, while a late Luca Stolz flyer helped Triple Eight JMR’s championship chasing Mercedes-AMG complete the top-five ahead of Alvaro Parente (HUBAUTO RACING) who also made late progress up the order.

Race 1 gets underway at 15:20 JST. Watch it live on SRO’s GT World YouTube channel and across Japan on J Sports.