Treluyer hangs on for another podium!
Team Motul-Autech and its star driver Benoit Treluyer once again shone at Autopolis this weekend. After a podium finish at Fuji last month, Treluyer climbed to the second step of the rostrum once more to strengthen the team's position at the head of the championship standings.
For the Frenchman and his team-mate Satoshi Motoyama, the weekend didn't start too well as they struggled to define their car's optimum steup.
"We went in a different direction and it proved to be the wrong way to go, so we had to revert to our base setup," explained Benoit. "That meant a lot of extra work for the team's mechanics."
Those mechanics did an excellent job, allowing Benoit to produce a super lap in qualifying, as the car regained its maximum performance.
"They did really well and I was able to set the third best time, just one tenth of a second off pole position, despite carrying 63kg of success ballast," said the Frenchman.
Having qualified the team's Nissan GT-R, Benoit had the honour of starting the race, a task he hasn't performed much this season to avoid any chance of picking up any more penalty points.
"Rolling starts take quite a bit of practice and because my team-mate has done most of them this season I messed it up a little bit!"
Benoit lost a place and reached the first corner in fourth position. He matched the pace of the leaders early on until he began to lose some grip at the rear of the car.
"The tyres had started to blister," he explained. "The ambient temperature was much higher than the previous day and, coupled with the 63kg of ballast we were carrying, the tyres began to suffer."
As the leaders began to catch the slower GT300 class cars, the team opted to call Treluyer into the pits for his pit stop, which included refuelling, earlier than planned. That quick decision proved to be a stroke of tactical genius.
"After the top three came in for fuel, Motoyama, who had taken over from me, leapt up to second place. That is excellent news for the championship because he now leads with 78 points."
Having missed one race due to suspension, Benoit has 73 points and sits joint second in the standings along with the pairing of Lotterer and Wakisaka.
"If they win the final round, then we have to finish second. We therefore have a good chance to keep both the drivers' and constructors' titles with the team," concluded Benoit who, after two consecutive second places, is targeting the top step of the podium for the season finale at Motegi on 07/08 November.