GT3 Asia: Series Sepang race one report

Sam Yau Claims his First Win and the Championship Lead Sam Yau claimed a spectacular win and the championship lead in a race filled with battles up and down the field in Round 7 of the GT3 Asia at Sepang International Circuit today. The Team ...

Sam Yau Claims his First Win and the Championship Lead

Sam Yau claimed a spectacular win and the championship lead in a race filled with battles up and down the field in Round 7 of the GT3 Asia at Sepang International Circuit today. The Team Machine driver claimed his first win of the season after climbing on the podium three times so far to collect second.

S.Yau started in pole position but lost his lead at the start to Tunku Hammam who had a blistering pace off the line. Hammam, who started the race in fifth on the grid set off brilliantly and manoeuvred in between S.Yau and front line starter, Wayne Shen, and took the lead into turn 1.

But the slippery track conditions from a late morning downpour coupled with brakes that were not in perfect working condition, left Hammam to lock up at turn 9 of the opening lap and leaving a gap which allowed S.Yau and W.Shen to reclaim their positions.

"Nothing bad happened to me at the start, it was just that Tunku was super fast off the standing start as always. I was fortunate that Tunku locked a bit on the hairpin so I was able to gain my spot back. I was watching my rear view mirror for Wayne and Tunku very closely.

"I was just trying to keep my distance and lead. It was not an easy race and the track conditions were not as good as qualifying. It was a little bit slippery, maybe because of the rain this morning, so I was watching Wayne all the time" said S.Yau.

W.Shen of Modena Motorsports also commended Hammam on his brilliant start and was unable to push further towards the end of the race due to the rising temperature of his car. "My start was reasonably good but as Sam said, Hammam is way too fast at the start. I could see him coming and I know there is no way I can defend, so I basically moved over and let him through to try and keep it clean and he took the lead.

"Lucky for us, Tunku locked up a little bit so we managed to pass. After that I was basically trying to keep up with Sam but it was obvious he was much faster and he was keeping a safe margin.

"My car in Sepang has always been a bit difficult, the water was overheating and after really pushing for 3-4 laps the temperature was already 115 degrees. So I had to start short-shifting and at that point in time, I just wanted to nurse my car to the finish and fortunately for me, I did that" said a happy W.Shen after the race.

It was slightly disappointing for Hammam after the fantastic start he had but starting from fifth and finishing on the podium was still a great accomplishment, considering the close racing that the GT3 Asia drivers are capable of.

"As the lights went out, I put on the gas and found myself in the lead. But unfortunately, in the heat and the haze, I braked a little too late into turn nine and locked up and I went wide. I was almost in the grass. That was when Sam and Wayne took me and another car as well, but I managed to squeeze myself back into third.

"The whole of today I had some brake problems and I was worried because throughout the race I couldn't brake properly going into corners and at times I just stepped and the pedals went in right through. So that's why I had to ease off and make sure that I finish. If not I may just go into the gravel or something" he concluded.

For the current Championship leader, when asked if he will be able to claim a second win in the race tomorrow, S.Yau said "Its hard to say if I can stay ahead because as I said, these guys are fast and anybody can win the race. But I will try my best and keep it consistent especially with my laptimes and hope the rolling start will be a bit better for the Lamborghini".

Christian Chia from Team Road & Track claimed the win in the GT4 category ahead of VRD Motorsports, Paul Tresidder and Team Road & Track teammate, Nicholas Thomas. "It's a great feeling to win in my class. The challenge was pretty big and we had Dilantha Malagamuwa in our class, who is a fantastic driver.

"The team has been very strong and has supported me and the car was great. The start was very hectic and I was quite lucky because a couple of the Ginettas and some of the Lamborghinis had a difficult start and I had a very very good start, so I was able to gain about 3 positions from the start" said an elated Chia after the podium ceremony.

Round 7 also saw some of the most heated dog fights seen in the series this season where another group battled it out for position. A trio comprising of a Lamborghini Gallardo GT3, a Ferrari 430-GT3 and a Porsche 997 GT3 Cup S kept it nose to tail with one another throughout the race. In the end the Lamborghini of Siu Yuk Lung crossed the line in fourth ahead of Francis Tjia's Ferrari and David Lai's Porsche.

Round 8 of the GT3 Asia will be held Sunday, 21 June at 2.20pm local time at Sepang International Circuit in support of the Super GT.

-credit: gt3 asia

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About this article
Series GT
Drivers Dilantha Malagamuwa , Christian Chia , Wayne Shen , Francis Tjia