GT4: Victory finally seals Fanatec Japan Cup title for Kano and Orido

GT4: Victory finally seals Fanatec Japan Cup title for Kano and Orido

> YZ Racing with BMW M Team Studie makes amends for Saturday heartbreak
> Result: Race 2

Masaki Kano and Max Orido are the 2023 Fanatec Japan Cup drivers’ champions after claiming their sixth GT4 win of the season in Race 2 at Okayama.

YZ Racing with BMW M Team Studie’s M4 was also on course for victory and the title yesterday until it ran out of fuel within sight of the chequered flag. But there was no late drama this time around, Kano completing the final lap 44 seconds clear of the same combination – Haridarma Manoppo and Seita Nonaka (TGR Indonesia) – that inherited victory so unexpectedly 24 hours earlier.

D’station Racing’s Aston Martin completed the overall podium and also took Am class victory thanks to Tatsuya Hoshino who homed in and passed Akiland Racing’s Masayoshi Oyama on the final lap. The Vantage he shares with Kenji Hama was frequently two seconds per lap faster than the Toyota after the pitstops.

Only Naohiko Otsuka and Sho Kobayashi (Checkshop Caymania Racing) could deny Kano and Orido the Fanatec Japan Cup title. But their fifth place finish, and fourth of the registered points scorers, wasn't enough to overturn the deficit. 

They could still mathematically win GT4’s overall Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia Powered by AWS crown, although that is dependent on the Porsche contesting Sepang’s season finale on September 22-24.

Akiland’s Toyota started on pole in Ryohei Sakaguchi’s hands but was passed by Nonaka on the opening lap. And TGR Indonesia’s Supra remained there until the pitstops when its maximum 15-second Success Penalty dropped Manoppo down the order.

Orido, meanwhile, started an uncharacteristic fifth but moved up two places and was hassling Sakaguchi before stopping after 30 minutes. His heartbreaking near miss on Saturday ensured the BMW, unlike TGR Indonesia or Akiland, didn’t have extra pit time to worry about, which helped his co-driver Kano emerge in the lead.

Behind, Comet’s Mercedes-AMG also initially benefitted from the Supra’s longer stops but was soon passed by Manoppo and Oyama. The latter appeared on course for third until a rapid second stint helped Hoshino seal the final podium place on the last lap.