> Title contenders lead home Porsche 1-2
> Two GT4 wins from two for Kano and Orido
> Result: Motegi Race 2
Lu Wei and Dennis Olsen bounced back from Saturday’s early exit to claim theirs and R&B Racing’s maiden Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia Powered by AWS wins in Race 2 at Motegi.
The #4 Porsche’s title aspirations were dealt a blow on lap one yesterday when Lu was the innocent party in a multi-car collision, which forced him into retirement. The team then worked through the night to fix a car that would go on to start second and claim the lead after the pitstops.
Lu took the chequered flag 7.8s clear of Bao Jinlong whose co-driver Matteo Cairoli had earlier converted pole position into a 3.7s lead over Olsen. Absolute Racing’s Porsche spent the final 15 minutes fending off Prince Abu Bakar Ibrahim who nevertheless extended his and Triple Eight JMR co-driver Luca Stolz’s championship lead by finishing third.
Fanatec Japan Cup honours once again went to Porsche Center Okazaki’s Hiroaki Nagai and Yuta Kamimura who overturned a 10-second Success Penalty to add fourth place to yesterday’s overall podium.
Further back, Yuan Bo and Leo Ye Hongli gave R&B something else to celebrate by taking the Silver class and Fanatec China Cup spoils, while Am winners Hiroshi Hamaguchi and Mineki Okura (The Spirit of FFF Racing) finished an excellent 10th overall.
And Masaki Kano and Max Orido completed YZ Racing with BMW M Team Studie’s perfect weekend by adding a second GT4 victory.
R&B’s LATE NIGHT PAYS OFF
Lap one aside, Motegi’s second race was a reasonably quiet affair.
#911’s 10-place grid drop for incurring four Behavioural Warning Points meant Olsen inherited Alessio Picariello’s front row slot alongside Cairoli who duly converted pole into the lead.
Stolz jumped Kamimura early on the opening lap, but behind Mikkel Mac’s progress came undone when he turned in on Alvaro Parente’s Porsche at Turn 5. Both cars went around, allowing the top-four to escape, before Phantom Pro’s Audi was penalised for the contact.
Things remained stable out front where Cairoli edged clear of Olsen who in turn built a small gap back to Stolz. Kamimura couldn’t stick with them and came under a little pressure from the charging Edoardo Liberati (KCMG) who jumped from ninth to fifth on the opening lap.
The gap between them and the rest grew as a result of Fabian Schiller – who was battling a damaged Mercedes-AMG – holding up a train of cars throughout the opening stint. And it was that space Nagai subsequently slotted into despite serving 10 seconds extra during Porsche Center Okazaki’s pitstop.
Back at the front, Jinlong emerged from the driver changes in front of Lu. Absolute’s Porsche actually gained a little time in the pits but it was soon eroded by R&B’s chasing 911 and Ibrahim’s Mercedes-AMG, which benefitted from the top-two holding each other up.
The trio then circulated as one until Lu undercut Bao through turns three and four with 15 minutes remaining. Ibrahim tried to follow him but couldn’t work an opening over the remaining quarter hour. However, third place was still sufficient to extend his and Stolz’s championship lead.
They will now face a renewed challenge from Lu who powered clear to a convincing victory following Saturday’s DNF that had threatened to derail the Chinese driver’s title aspirations.
Nagai came home a relatively lonely fourth to complete an impressive weekend in which Porsche Center Okazaki took control of the Fanatec Japan Cup. Just two races remain at Okayama next month.
Behind, Anthony Liu overcame a five-second Success Penalty and his damaged Craft-Bamboo Mercedes-AMG to finish one place ahead of championship rival Vutthikorn Inthraphuvasak. The pair swapped places late on to compound a difficult weekend for AAS Motorsport by Absolute Racing.
Craft-Bamboo’s second entry finished seventh after Maximilian Goetz spent the opening stint tucked up behind his team-mate Schiller before Jeffrey Lee held off a charging Yuan late on. D’station Racing’s Aston Martin and FFF’s Lamborghini completed the top-10.
Next up it’s Okayama, which stages the Fanatec Japan Cup finale, Fanatec GT Asia’s penultimate event, and SRO’s first-ever standalone GT4 Japan races on August 18-20.