The final round of Asian Le Mans Series 2016 / 2017 season had 25 cars on the starting grid and it went off dramatically right from the start. At the very first turn Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca 03R Nissan driven by Ho-Pin Tung, who was second on the grid was hit on his right rear by 3rd position, Race Performance Oreca 03R Judd driven by Giorgio Maggi. Safety car was deployed after oil spill was suspected around the circuit. Some LMP2 & 3 including GT class cars took this opportunity to pit and change strategy while Jackie Chan DC Oreca limped back into the pit with a puncture. Their crew worked furiously trying to repair the damage and put the car back into the race. The championship leader did manage to get back into the track but with 8 laps behind the lead. However luck was not on their side as after a couple of laps, the Oreca 03R Nissan suffer from cooling system failure and had to retire. Ho-Pin Tung later gave an interview expressing his disappointment with Giorgio Maggi and the way he ended their race and subsequently not only the championship but also the opportunity to automatically qualify into the prestigious 24 hours Le Mans in June this year.
2 of Algarve Pro Racing cars drove a consistent race holding on first and second spot for most of the in this LMP2 class race, fending off Race Performance Team driven by Giorgio Maggi, Struan Moore and Fabien Schiller. The trio of Andrea Pizzitola, Andrea Roda and Aidan Read of Algarve Pro Racing driving a Ligier JSP2 Nissan finally took the chequered flag in this 4-hour race, with Race Performance taking 2nd spot from Algarve Pro team mate of Micheal Munemann, Tacksung Kim and Mark Patterson after a long and hard battle with positions changing throughout the race.
In the LMP3 class, Tockwith Motorsports’s Ligier JSP3 took off from pole with Nigel Moore behind the wheel. The team second driver, Phil Hanson and him fought off some tough challenges from G-Print by Triple 1 Racing team of Hanss Lin and Shaun Thong. Team Jackie Chan DC Racing sister team of James Winslow, David Cheng and Hiroki Yoshida join in the fight for the top spot. These 3 teams were changing positions throughout the race and it was a close fight right till the end. With Tockwith Motorsports who was pushed into third after more than half way through the race, clawed back to second and eventually took the top spot. 2nd place went to G-Print and Third, Jackie Chan DC Racing Team. Team Aylezo Eco Tint Racing of Zen Low, Weiron Tan and Riki Christodoulou were the top Ginetta car coming in 4th ahead of Wineurasia Ligier JSP3 in 5th.
In the GT Class, Team Audi Korea who qualify 3rd yesterday had a rocket start, straight into first in its class in lap one with ex-F1 driver Alex Yoong behind the wheel. The team which consists of Kyong Ouk and Marchy Lee had a comfortable lead until some mistakes along the race and pit stops that pushed them back to third. DH Racing with Alex Riberas, Rino Mastronardi and Olivier Beretta fought off a tough challenge from Team BBT of Anthony Liu, Davide Rizzo and Alessandro Pier Guidi. Focus and consistency paid off for Team Audi Korea in their Audi R8 LMS GT3 when they managed to fight off the 488 GT3 Ferraris of DH and BBT teams to come back top. Results: 1st Team Audi Korea (Audi R8 LMS GT3), 2nd DH Racing (Ferrari 488 GT3), 3rd Team BBT (Ferrari 488 GT3), 4th Clearwater Racing (Ferrari 488 GT3), 5th DH sister team (Ferrari 488 GT3), 6th & 7th goes to FIST-Team AAI BMW M6 GT3.
The GT Cup Porsches 911 GT3 cup of Team TKS and Team NZ, the only 2 entrant of the GT cup class fought a good fight with no clear advantage between them. It was not until the end of the race where spectators will only know the eventual winner, which goes to Team TKS of Shinyo Sano, Takuma Aoki and Tatsuya Tanigawa. Team NZ drivers are Graeme Dowsett, John Curran and Will Bamber.
Credits : Photos courtesy of Scapemedia
and content: Justin Hong