With 16 cars at the start, and 16 cars crossing the chequered flag, this round has been a great success for all concerned.
Shinji Nakano and Thomas Leutwiler have won the second round of the Asian Le Mans Series, at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia. They brought home the #8 Race Performance Oreca 03 R Judd, ahead of the #25 Algarve Pro Racing Ligier JS P2 of Michael Munemann, Dean Koutsomidis, and Jamie Winslow. Third on the podium in LM P2 were the trio of William Lok, Tack Sung Kim and Richard Bradley in the #99 Eurasia Motorsport Oreca 03R Nissan.
With rain threatening the start of the race, it was a relief to see the track already drying when the formation lap got underway. The hot and humid conditions made it an extra challenge for the drivers, who had to suffer through the heat for the three-hour endurance race.
LM P2 class
It’s two in a row for the #8 Race Performance Oreca 03 R Judd. After a tricky start, the duo of Shinji Nakano and Nicolas Leutwiler had a good and consistent race. The crew of the #25 Algarve Pro Racing Ligier JSP2, having started on pole, and led for a good part of the race, came second across the line. It’s a nice podium for the trio of Michael Munemann, Dean Koutsomidis and Jamie Winslow for their first participation in the Series. The third step of the overall and LMP2 podium went to the #99 Eurasia Motosport Oreca 03R Nissan of William Lok, Tack Sung Kim and Richard Bradley. The fastest lap of the race also went to Bradley with his time of 1:59.961 in lap 2.
LM P3 class
The #1 DC Racing Ligier JS P3, of David Cheng, Thomas Laurent and Ho-Pin Tung won the LM P3 class. Having spent nearly 30 minutes in the pits to repair a problem with the half shaft, they managed to rejoin still three laps ahead of their rivals in class, the #89 Team AAI ADESS 03. They kept position and managed to keep a good pace to cross the line first in LM P3. The #89 Team AAI ADESS made it to the end of the race, having also spent a long stint in the pits, looking to fix a problem with the starter engine. They discovered the issue during the handover between Ollie Hankcock and Alex Kapadia, and once that was sorted, they managed to bring the car home at a good pace, along with Masataka Yanagida behind the wheel.
In CN, with two new cars joining us for the 2015/16 Asian Le Mans Series, it was the #21 Avelon Formula Wolf Racing GB08 of Denis Lian and Giorgio Maggi who came out on top, finishing 12th overall. The #69 Atlantic Racing Team Wolf Racing GB08, driven by the trio of Zen Low, John Bryant Meisner and Toshiyuki Ochiai also had a good race and finished 2nd in class, 13th overall.
In GT, the win was claimed by the #3 Clearwater Racing McLaren. Mok Weng Sun, Rob Bell and Keita Sawa were very pleased with their second consecutive win after Fuji in these tough, hot conditions. Second on the GT podium was the #91 Team AAI BMW Z4 GT3, driven by Dirk Müller, Junsan Chen and Ollie Millroy. Having started at the rear of the grid due to a penalty from qualifying, Müller made a great start, jumping from the rear of the grid up to 6th in the first 15 minutes of the race. From there, the team continued to flight their way up. Third place on the podium went to their teammates in the #90 Team AAI Mercedes AMG SLS GT3, Lam Yu and Tatsuya Tanigawa. The duo also performed very well.
The GTAm crew of the #51 KCMG Porsche GT3 Cup were very happy to make it past the finishing line. After the first stints for Christian Reid and Paul Ip, Dan Wells had to work hard to keep the car going as the tyres were finding it hard to cope with the rough track and the heat, and spent the last 10 minutes going rather slowly around the track, to ensure that he would cross the finish line.
With 16 cars at the start, and 16 cars crossing the chequered flag, this round has been a great success for all concerned. We look forward to seeing you all again in January in Buriram for the next round of the Asian Le Mans.
LMP2 - 1st Place - Race Performance
Shinji Nakano: “I made a bad start. I had a bit of oversteer in the beginning. But the car was easy to drive. Niki also did a really good job without making any mistakes. It’s always nice to be back on the podium. I’m very happy.”
Nicolas Leutwiler: “It went better than expected. The car was really great in my first stint, so I could attack a bit. I found a really good rhythm. In the second stint, I had to manage the tyres more, which was a bit tricky, but I just had to work through it and bring it safely home.”
2nd Place – Algarve Pro Racing
Michael Munemann: “I tried to keep it neat and clean at the start. I was competing against professionals and I wanted to give the car over to my teammates in one piece, and it went well. I know the track, it’s a lot of fun and I’m glad we came. It’s a bit warm in the coupé, but it’s a wonderful track and the whole event’s a lot of fun.”
Dean Koutsoumidis: “I was a bit careful, because it’s my first ever LM P2 race. I wanted to make sure I didn’t do anything silly or make and mistakes and deliver the car back to the team in one piece. The car was a delight. It was fantastic. All the other drivers were fantastic as well.”
Jamie Winslow: “I really struggled with the heat for the last half an hour. The radio pulled out of my ear in the driver change, so I had no radio and no idea how many laps I had to go. I just cruised it around and tried to look after the tyres, and take it to the end of the race.”
3rd Place - Eurasia Motorsport
Richard Bradley: “The start was perfect. We couldn’t have done much better with it. We pulled out a big lead. It got very difficult on lap 7 as we had a gearbox temperature warning come on. Then the gearbox was rejecting downshifts and wouldn’t click at some points, so it became quite tricky. But made it through. The second stint was a lot more difficult, as unfortunately as we came out of the pitstop, one of the belts unbuckled itself and we had to stop to do it up again. It’s just one of those things. Apart from that it was really good. The car was really good and handled well, and it’s been a really fun event and I’m looking forward to coming back.
William Lok: “Richard handed me a car with a really nice gap, but on my outlap, my car hit some traffic and lost some time there. But I managed to pick up the pace gradually. I might’ve made a few mistakes, but generally I’m happy. We had no issues with the car. Looking forward to Thailand.”
Tack Sung Kim: “At the beginning, I had some problem with the steering wire which was wrapped the wrong way. I cleared that up. After that, it was ok, so I gradually pushed more and came away third.”
LM P3 - 1st Place - DC Racing
David Cheng: “I took the first stint. For me it was a bit tricky. I overdrove a bit on turn 12, and blew a couple of places there. I ended up fighting and passing cars to get everything back. I think that this race was quite a challenge for all of us. As a team, I think shortly after my stint, we had a half shaft problem, and I really want to thank the whole team, everyone from Eurasia motorsports and Onroak. They did a really good job to get the car back together and got us out just in time.”
Thomas Laurent: “It was a really good race. Thanks to my teammates, my team and family. We did a great second part of the race. We had a little problem, but it was ok.”
Ho Pin Tung: “It was a very exiting race. Endurance racing at its best I’d say. A big step for all of us as drivers and also for the team. Dealing with the issues at this race, where it was very hot, not only for the drivers but also for the car and mechanics. They fixed it very quickly, it was a great effort. When I got in, because of David’s and Thomas’ minimum driving time, I only had about 35 minutes left to drive, so it was pretty easy for me. It was a pretty clean race. Two races, two poles, two wins. If we continue like this, we’ll be champions again.
CN - 1st Place - Avelon Formula
Denis Lian: “It was hot. It was pretty hot and a pretty challenging race for us. We had a good start, we went from 2nd in class to 1st immediately within the first lap. The tyres help up very well, but I think from about the 45 minute marker, that’s when the tyres and the suspension got a bit worked up. The driving got interesting, to put it lightly. It was a struggle, but we did a good job. Especially Giorgio. When I handed the car to him, it was tough to drive. I think it was a much-awaited victory, considering we’ve been trying very hard in the last year to take that win. It means a lot to us.“
Giorgio Maggi: “I’m still hot. At the beginning it was ok, towards the end I was really struggling with the temperature, and the car had started drifting slightly in the right corners.”
GT - 1st Place - Clearwater Racing
Keito Sawa: “I did the starting part. I managed to keep a good pace until the end of my stint. It was hard to push, in the heat. I’m so happy to win twice in a row after Fuji. We have two rounds to go, Thailand and back to Sepang, and we’ll be pushing for those rounds as well.”
Mok Weng Sun: “It was ok. I made one mistake where I lost two seconds and ran a bit wide. Our whole strategy was based around the fact that tyre degradation would be a big issue. The key was not to kill the tyres in the first few laps and drive at a decent pace for the whole stint, which was tough because it was really hot out there and the track was a bit slippery. Sawa gave me the car in the lead and there was no way I was going to lose that lead. So I focused on the gap to p2 and p3 and tried to edge away a bit and to hand the car over to Rob in the lead. I’m happy with the result.”
Rob Bell: “The heat wasn’t too bad actually. It was a good battle with the 91. If you look, as they had a pit infringement in qualifying and had to start last. Without that, I think they would’ve been like for like. If they’d kept their second place, we would have been fighting for three hours. That would’ve been good, but it was good as it was too. Tyre management was important. The car came home beautifully. The team did a great job.”
GTAm - 1st Place - KCMG
Christian Reid: I took the start. In the Porsche it was really hot. We had a good race, and managed to push to the end. The car was quite good, the tyres were quite good. Our guys did a good job in the team. I’m quite happy.”
Paul Ip: “It feels very good to win again. I guess I was the only one with the air-conditioned suit. The heat wasn’t really a problem. When I got out of the car, I didn’t have a single sweat. It is actually my first time at Sepang, and I’m very lucky to have Christian who has a lot of experience and Dan who knows the circuit very well.”
Dan Wells: “Firstly, I’d like to thank KCMG for having me here for my first GT debut in the Asian Le Mans Series. Paul gave me the car in quite a good condition. It’s very difficult to look after the tyres around here. The track is very abrasive and the temperature is high. But we drove consistently. And about 40 minutes into my stint, I started getting a few flat spots, it was wondering all over the place. I spoke to my team manager about pitting, but we wanted to save the tyres, so it was just a case of bringing the car home. So for the last ten minutes, because of the loss of adrenaline, and with less air coming into the car, it felt really hot; those 10 minutes felt like an hour. I’m very happy to make my debut here.”
Asian Le Mans Series