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GT3 Asia: Pipa Arbee Autopolis preview

Three Way Battle at Historic GT3 Asia Season Ender in Japan GT3 Asia will be making history as it heads to Japan for the first time to race at the Autopolis Circuit on 16-18 October 2009. The Oita Prefecture in the South West island of Kyushu...

Three Way Battle at Historic GT3 Asia Season Ender in Japan

GT3 Asia will be making history as it heads to Japan for the first time to race at the Autopolis Circuit on 16-18 October 2009. The Oita Prefecture in the South West island of Kyushu will play host to the final two rounds of the GT3 Asia Challenge for the 2009 season.

It will be a three way battle in the GT3 category with Wayne Shen, Tunku Hammam Sulong and Francis Tjia in one of the closest season finales in the Championship's history. Only four points separate the trio with W.Shen in the lead after a stunning outing in Sentul. Sam Yau, who currently lies in fourth in the Championship points will not be able to compete in the final two rounds.

Meanwhile in the GT4 category, Christian Chia is almost secured of the Title as his nearest competitor, David Lai from Singapore has already moved on to the GT3 category after an engine change mid season. This leaves Marcel Tjia, the hard task of challenging his younger brother for the championship win. Chia leads M.Tjia by 22 points.

Drivers in the series will head to Japan after a very interesting outing at the Sentul International Circuit in August where Wayne Shen claimed the championship lead from the absent Sam Yau of Team Machine. W.Shen had a double celebration that weekend, celebrating his Birthday alongside his first win of the season.

W.Shen commented after the race in Sentul, "The Championship is very interesting with the top four drivers all within a handful of points. And with the weight ballast situation, it will be quite interesting and we will be on a new circuit so the next race will be a lot of fun".

Shen shared the weekend's podiums with Francis Tjia., who was making great headway in the second race but was made a casualty in a braking incident involving Tunku Hammam in the closing stages of Round 10. This left him in the gravel and unable to finish the race, relegating him to third in the points table.

Meanwhile, Hammam completed Round 10 in fourth place collecting ten vital points, which propelled him up the leaderboard to second, just three points behind W.Shen.

The season finale in Autopolis will be an interesting race to watch with the fifth placed Siu Yuk Lung, ninth placed Siu Tit Lung and the Team SPS Racing drivers making a comeback after missing the Sentul rounds. The Siu brothers return to the series along with their Hong Kong compatriots, Noel Becker and Sasha Chu, who currently lie in 16th and 20th respectively.

Although their points don't reflect it, sixth placed John Shen and seventh placed Eddie Yau were always running up with the leaders. They both would have been higher up the leaderboard had it not been for some unlucky incidents early in the season that caused non-finishers for them both. For E.Yau, he also missed the last two rounds in Indonesia pushing him further down the ranks.

Midway through the leaderboard there is a battle for 12th going on between Samson Chan and Frank Yu. Chan from Team Road & Track will be pitting his 997 GT3 Cup M against his teammate's Ginetta G50 GT3.

Also looking to make his mark in the GT3 Asia Challenge is Singaporean driver, Melvin Choo who will be competing in his Mosler MT900R GT3 which he used for the annual 12-hour Merdeka Millennium Endurance Race held at Sepang International Circuit. Choo has previously raced at the Autopolis circuit in 2007 with the Asian Touring Car Series.

New to the action are three Porsche Carrera Cup Japan drivers, who will be joining the season regulars for the series finale. The trio, Shuogo Amamoto and Akira Mizutani of Direction Racing along with Gen Emoto from Taisan International will all be competing in their 997 GT3 Cup cars.

The trio, along with Adrian Fu, who is making a comeback to the series, will make the battle in the GT4 category an interesting one.

The final two Rounds of the GT3 Asia will be held at the Autopolis International Circuit, Japan on 17- 18 October 2009 during the Super GT weekend.

-credit: pipa@motorsportasia.com

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About this article
Series GT
Drivers Melvin Choo , Akira Mizutani , Samson Chan , Christian Chia , John Shen , Wayne Shen , Francis Tjia , Marcel Tjia