FFF Racing’s Lamborghini duo Kodric and Lind extend championship lead with Race 2 victory at Suzuka
3rd July 2018
Martin Kodric and Dennis Lind extended their Blancpain GT Series Asia championship lead by claiming a first victory aboard their FFF Racing Team Lamborghini in Suzuka’s second race earlier this morning.
The duo took advantage of a bizarre incident involving HubAuto’s Leo Ye Hongli who pitted from the lead by mistake at the third and final Safety Car restart. Edoardo Liberati and Florian Strauss came through from 15th to second in their KCMG Nissan, which finished ahead of Markus Pommer and Patric Niederhauser’s GruppeM Mercedes-AMG.
The final Safety Car period also impacted on GT4, which was won by GruppeM Racing’s #666 Mercedes-AMG shared by Reinhold Renger and Ryuichirou Ohtsuka after the final caution negated their 10s pitstop success penalty. Ringo Chong and Gilles Vannelet’s Team iRace.Win Mercedes-AMG finished second, with Craft-Bamboo’s Frank Yu and Jean Marc Merlin completing the podium.
GT3: TOP STEP AT LAST FOR LIND AND KODRIC
The consistency of three podiums had helped Lind and Kodric top the GT3 standings prior to round six, but the duo finally broke their victory duck in today’s 60-minute race to extend their overall advantage at 2018’s halfway mark.
However, their win also owed much to the woes of HubAuto Corsa whose two Ferraris controlled the opening stint. Nick Foster was particularly impressive out front after leading away from pole, managing an early Safety Car period and then establishing a small but comfortable advantage over team-mate Tim Slade.
That was until the #28 Ferrari collided with Daniel Au’s GT4 McLaren at the final chicane, which put both entries out on the spot and necessitated a second Safety Car period that coincided with the pit window opening.
At that point Foster led GruppeM’s Raffaele Marciello, FFF Racing’s two Lamborghinis of Marco Mapelli and Kodric, plus Niederhauser in the second Mercedes-AMG. Foster’s co-driver Ye Hongli duly emerged in the lead, while Lind’s 5s pitstop success penalty was sufficient to drop the Huracan behind Pommer, who moved up to fourth.
The new top-five also featured two Am drivers – Alexander Mattschull and Hiroshi Hamaguchi – who played their part in the final outcome. Pommer’s desperate attempts to overtake the Japanese opened the door for Lind to pass both drivers on the same lap before also relieving Mattschull of second and setting off after Ye Hongli.
2.4s separated the top-two when the day’s final Safety Car period – the result of Martin Rump beaching his Audi when Juwon Seo made contact – had the biggest impact of all. When the race went green Ye Hongli’s Ferrari was nowhere to be seen after the Chinese driver followed the Safety Car into the pits. Instead, it was Lind who exited the final corner with clear track ahead of him before going on to claim victory by 2s.
Behind, KCMG’s Liberati and Strauss fought through from 15th on the grid to take their second podium in three races. Strauss drove a clean opening stint amongst the hustle and bustle of the midfield and made up a couple of places before pitting. Liberati then emerged in seventh and used the remaining 30 minutes to move further forwards by passing Pommer, Hamaguchi, Mattschull and Seo.
Pommer finally found a way past FFF Racing’s Hamaguchi who drove brilliantly on home soil against the professionals to claim Pro/Am honours and fourth overall with Mapelli. Shae Davies and Sandy Stuvik made up five places between them en route to fifth aboard their Craft-Bamboo Porsche, which finished ahead of Mattschull/Marciello, Mitch Gilbert/Aditya Patel’s OD Racing Team WRT Audi (which started 20th), and Shaun Thong/Alex Yoong who served an early drive-through penalty for jumping the start. Their eighth place came at the expense of Absolute Racing’s #37 Audi, which was penalised 30s post-race for contact with Indigo Racing’s #97 Mercedes-AMG.
Am Cup honours went to ARN Racing’s Hideki Nagai and Shinji Takei who became the first crew to beat KCMG’s Naoto Takeda and Takuya Shirasaka this season.
GT4: SAFETY CAR HELPS GRUPPEM OVERCOME SUCCESS PENALTY
Victory could have gone to any one of three crews during a fraught final 10 minutes. However, it was GruppeM who celebrated hardest after the third Safety Car period brought Reinhold Renger and Ryuichirou Ohtsuka back into play.
BMW Team Studie’s Sunako Jukuchou led the opening stint from pole but was unable to break clear of Reinhold Renger and Gilles Vannelet’s pursuing Mercedes-AMGs.
However, success penalties for Team Studie and GruppeM – whose cars pitted together – allowed Team iRace.Win’s Ringo Chong to lead Craft-Bamboo’s Frank Yu, Taiwan Top Speed’s George Chou and TTR Team SARD’s Brian Lee. While the top-two broke clear, Ohtsuka found a way past both Porsches before setting his sights on second. The gap appeared too large without assistance, which arrived when the final late Safety Car bunched the pack.
Ohtsuka duly completed the job by passing Chong and Yu, who came home second and third respectively. The erstwhile leading BMW shared by yesterday’s winners Jukuchou and Takayuki Kinoshita battled back from its maximum success penalty to finish fourth ahead of Taiwan Top Speed and Team Studie’s second BMW, which benefitted from
TTR’s 30s post-race penalty.
Next up it’s Fuji Speedway, which hosts rounds seven and eight on July 21/22.
Martin Kodric, #19 FFF Racing Team Lamborghini Huracan GT3: “We knew it would be a tough race starting from P5. I did everything I could: I made a really good start and was alongside my team-mate Marco [Mapelli], but obviously we didn’t want to do anything silly so I backed off and focused on maintaining the pace. We were well positioned at the pitstops but knew the penalty would cost us time, so Dennis [Lind] did a great job to move up the order. Then, when the Ferrari pitted again, I couldn’t believe it! Dennis was catching him anyway but it’s tough to overtake here. We’ve come close to winning a few times so we’ll definitely take it!”
Ryuichirou Otsuka, #666 GruppeM Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4: “Yesterday, we started from pole and after some contacts and accidents I dropped to fifth and climbed back up. Today we started from fifth and after serving a success penalty during our pitstop we won the race. It was not an easy weekend, but all the drivers were being fair and we had a good fight. Personally, I am very happy to have taken pole position yesterday and win the race today. So yes, it was a great weekend for me!”
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Since 1735, Blancpain has been contributing to the development of mechanical watchmaking, while conserving the traditional skills of its founder
From the creation of components through to watch design, Blancpain is distinguished by its ability to develop exceptional movements. Through its various models, Blancpain preserves its heritage of precision and elegance, while also displaying an innovative and occasionally provocative spirit. Its range encompasses the sportive Levolution line, the legendary Fifty Fathoms diver’s watch, as well as the classic Villeret collection, the high complication from Le Brassus collection and the Women models.
Over the past nine years, Blancpain has emerged as a pre-eminent force in the field of motorsport and established a leading profile among automobile manufacturers, drivers, and spectators. The Manufacture has become an international benchmark in GT racing through its partnerships such as the Blancpain GT Series Europe (including the Blancpain Endurance Series and the Blancpain Sprint Series), the Blancpain GT Series Asia, the Blancpain Sports Club and the British GT Championship. Watchmaking and automotive mechanics meet and mingle, as Blancpain thrives on being in the heat of the action by serving as official timekeeper.
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Pirelli has a long and illustrious history in endurance racing, and has also claimed a huge variety of class wins in GT racing all over the world. The design of the new Pirelli GT tyres meets the needs of GT racing while maintaining the performance characteristics that endurance drivers have appreciated in the past.The slick tyres used for GT racing are branded Zero: just like the slicks that have become a central feature of Formula One. The name P Zero is used in the highest categories of motorsport such as GT racing.
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Over the past 25 years SRO has specialised in the promotion and organisation of motorsport series around the world.
Inextricably linked with GT racing’s revival in the early 1990s, currently SRO predominantly promotes series that adhere to the successful GT3 and GT4 regulations. Indeed, these rules – a common framework allowing manufacturers, teams and drivers to compete equally with one another – have helped to establish SRO as the global leader in customer GT racing.
Today, SRO’s influence and organisation can be seen around the world. Its flagship continues to be the European-based Blancpain GT Series, which features both the Sprint and Endurance Cups. Its annual highlight remains the iconic Total 24 Hours of Spa.
The same Pirelli tyres and Balance of Performance parameters governing the Blancpain GT Series have also been adopted in the United States by the Pirelli World Challenge (of which SRO is a shareholder), while SRO expanded its successful platform East in 2017 by establishing Blancpain GT Series Asia.
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SRO is also strong domestically. The multi-class British GT Championship, over which it has presided since 2005, pairs GT3 with GT4 machinery. The FFSA French GT Championship, for many years run by SRO, returned to the fold in 2017, and was added to the existing GT4 European Series. GT4’s incredibly successful first season in France provided SRO with the blueprint and confidence to expand the class’ European footprint further. Three new regional series to support the flourishing GT4 class are added in 2018: GT4 Nordic European Cup, GT4 Central European Cup and GT4 Belgium Cup.
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