Pole position but no luck for Treluyer
It should have been so much better. Having qualified on pole, Benoit Treluyer and Satoshi Motoyama's hopes of victory in Malaysia were high. That's until second gear broke on their Motul-Autech Nissan GT-R during the installation lap. Determined to make amends after starting from the pit lane, the pair would battle back through the field to eventually finish eighth.
Benoit arrived back in Asia just a few days after suffering his terrible accident at Le Mans. "I arrived in Sepang on Thursday night. After the accident at Le Mans, the doctors advised me to relax as much as possible before flying. I delayed my flight and I arrived on Thursday night. It was a bit hard on Friday, but all went well from Saturday onwards. I put what happened behind me--"
Free practice went well and when qualifying arrived, Motoyama had his sights firmly set on pole position.
"He did an excellent lap," said Benoit. "As we had chosen a softer compound for the tyres, we should have been third or fourth but Satoshi managed to do a crazy lap!"
Unfortunately, their hard work would ultimately count for nothing. The next day, a broken second gear sustained during the installation lap saw the mechanics called into action earlier than planned as the car was pushed back into the garage.
"They did an extraordinary job," continued the Frenchman. "They worked so fast to change the ratio that we were ready well before the lights went out."
Despite the speed of their work, Motoyama, taking the first stint, would have to start from the pit lane and behind the GT300 field.
"It meant that Motoyama started 50 seconds behind the first GT500 runners," continued Benoit. "He climbed back up the order step by step and had already overtaken two of the 16 GT500s by the time I got in."
Once behind the wheel, Benoit pushed like hell, continuing his team mate's impressive work to maintain their recovery back through the field and eventually cross the finish line eighth.
"During my stint, I was the quickest out there by more than a second per lap," he said. "It is a shame we could not start from pole position as we could have won easily. OK, when you see the circumstances, it is not too bad. We finished eighth, practically in the gearbox of the seventh placed car and two seconds shy of sixth. Five more laps and I could have crossed the line in 6th place."
Now completely reassured physically after having to drive in the stifling heat and humidity of the taxing Malaysian weather, Benoit turns his attentions to round four of the Formula Nippon championship at Fuji, Japan, this coming weekend.