Tsugio Matsuda topped qualifying to put No. 18 KCMG Morgan-Nissan LM P2 on pole for tomorrow's 3 Hours of Sepang
Free Practice 3:
This morning was an early start for all teams with Free Practice 3 from 8:15-8:45. The half-hour practice gave teams a chance for a final run out before Qualifying at 10:45-11:15. It was No.18 KCMG Morgan-Nissan's turn to finish first in a session as Tsugio Matsuda clocked a 1:58.419 on the dry track. Second was No. 27 Craft Racing Oreca-Nissan, and in third No. 24 OAK Racing Team Total Morgan-Judd. No. 35 AAI-RSTRADA Porsche 997 RSR led GTE from No.70 Team Taisan Ken Endless Ferrari 458 GTE, with No. 35 AAI-RSTRADA's fastest time 2:08.526. Current GTC Team Championship leaders No. 77 AF Corse Ferrari 458 GT3 led GTC with a 2:07.208 their quickest lap-time. The GTC teams were very close with just seven tenths of a second separating AF Corse and the next four teams. No. 36 Gama Racing Lamborghini Gallardo took the top-spot in GTC Am from No. 69 Team Primemantle Aylezo Lamborghini Gallardo with a fastest time of 2:12.228.
No. 18 KCMG were able to claim their first pole of the season in qualifying with Tsugio Matsuda recoding a very impressive 1:57.579, the quickest lap of the weekend so far. In a very close second overall and in LM P2 was Ho-Pin Tung for No. 24 OAK Racing Team Total, who have poled at every race until Sepang, at 1:57.864. Richard Bradley in No. 27 Craft Racing had to settled for third in overall and in LM P2 with a strong 1:57.927, just 0.063 seconds behind OAK Racing Team Total. All three recorded their fastest laps of the weekend. If KCMG finish ahead of OAK Racing Team Total tomorrow they will win the LM P2 Team Championship, and an invitation to the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans. Conversely OAK Racing Team Total have win the race to win the Championship. If they finish second behind No.27 Craft Racing, KCMG can still finish third and take the Team Championship on points. With just 0.348 seconds separating 1st and 3rd the race could be anyone's and is there for the taking.
No. 70 Team Taisan Ken Endless Ferrari 458 GTE finished first in Qualifying in GTE, making it four-out-of-four for the season. Naoki Yokomizo clocked a 2:08.241, improving on their times in FP2 and FP3. No. 35 AAI-RSTRADA Porsche 997 RSR were unable to take part in Qualifying due to technical issues, however after recording a very similar time to Taisan's Qualifying in FP3 this morning, tomorrow's race will be a tough fought battle, as Taisan look to clean sweep the season in GTE.
The GTC teams all turned it up in Qualifying with No. 33 Clearwater Racing's Toni Vilander recording a 2:05.572 to qualify top. Incredibly 0.009 seconds behind Clearwater Racing was No. 009 Craft Racing Aston Martin Vantage as Tomonobu Fujii clocked a 2:05.581, 0.2 seconds ahead of Craft Racing's second GTC entry No.007 Aston Martin Vantage with Stefan Muecke at 2:05.781. No. 007 will be battling with No.91 AAI-RSTRADA BMW Z4 tomorrow for the 2nd 24 Hours of Le Mans invitation, which will be awarded to second place in the GTC Team Championship. No. 91 AAI-RSTRADA qualified 0.657 seconds behind No.007 Craft Racing at 2:06.438. No. 77 AF Corse Ferrari 458 GT3 have already all-but wrapped up the GTC Team Championship and qualified in 5th in GTC behind No. 91 AAI-RSTRADA.
No. 69 Team Primemantle Aylezo Lamborghini Gallardo recaptured the top-spot in the GTC Am class with Giorgio Sanna recording a fastest lap of 2:10.517. Behind Primemantle Aylezo were No. 36 Gama Racing Lamborghini Gallardo, who were the quickest GTC Am team in this morning's FP3, and will be looking to get the upper hand on Team Primemantle Aylezo in tomorrow's race. Third in the class were the Malaysian team No. 96 Mike Racing Lamborghini Gallardo.
Qualifying was an very close affair, setting the stage for a brilliant finale to the season tomorrow. With all the sessions having been relatively dry the teams are still yet to have run in the rain here in Malaysia, however all were confident in the Qualifying press conferences that they were ready for whatever weather tomorrow brings. With the difference between cars so close teams will have to be on top form for the whole three hours in order to take the win.
After the race tomorrow evening at 19:30 there will be a Prize-giving ceremony for the 2013 Asian Le Mans Series LM P2, GTE, GTC Team Champions, and the LM P2, GTE, and GTC Drivers Champions. This will take place in the Le Mans Spirit Club.