Jamie Winslow, driving the #1 DC Racing Ligier JS P3, has taken the win for Saturday’s race at the 2nd round of the Asian Le Mans Sprint Cup at the Sepang International Circuit. He finished ahead of the crew of the #94 WINEURASIA Ligier JS P3 who claimed second, and the #67 PRT Racing Ginetta LMP3 which came third. The CN #68 PS Racing Ligier JS 53 finished 4th overall, and the #77 Team NZ Porsche GT3 Cup won the GTCup class.
This morning’s qualifying sessions saw the drivers break the 2-minute barrier for the first time this weekend. Jamie Winslow in the #1 DC Racing Ligier JS P3 managed to secure pole for both of the races, setting impressive times and improving right until the end. His best times in Q1 and Q2 were 1:59.335 and 1:59.141 respectively. The WINEURASIA boys secured the second place positions for both races, with Tanart Sathienthirakul setting a best time of 1:59.602 in Q1, and Aidan Read 1:59.214 in Q2, which places the #94 WINEURASIA Ligier JSP3 on the first row for both races. PRT Racing also performed consistently well, with Ate de Jong’s 2:03.336 placing him third on the grid for Race 3, a notable improvement from last time, and team mate Charlie Robertson’s lap of 1:59.309 giving him third place on the grid for Race 4 in the #67 Ginetta LMP3.
The CN car performed well, with Neric Wei setting a time of 2:05.824, letting him start from 4th overall in Race 3, and team mate Iori Kimura 2:02:485, placing him 5th for Sunday’s grid.
In GTCup, Team Lotus HK secured pole for the first race, with Dominic Ang in the #28 Lotus Evora GTC setting a time of 2:10.981. Team NZ claimed pole for the 2nd race, with John Curran’s best time of 2:13.122 in the #77 Porsche GT3 Cup, his best time ever around the Sepang circuit. Unfortunately, following a decision from the stewards, the #77 Team NZ crew lost all their qualifying times, and will start from the back of the grid for both races.
After this morning’s relatively cool qualifying session, the heat really hit for the race in the afternoon, testing the cars’ reliability and the drivers’ stamina under the Malaysian sun.
It didn’t seem to be much of an issue for Jamie Winslow in the #1 DC Racing Ligier JS P3, who managed to keep in the lead for most of the race, holding off attacks from Tanart Sathienthirakul in the #94 WINEURASIA Ligier JS P3 for the first half of the race. The #94 lost a bit of time during the pit stops, meaning that when Aiden Read headed out for the second stint, it was quite a bit harder to challenge the #1 DC Racing Ligier JS P3 that was back in the lead, but he managed to cross the line in a strong second place. Ate de Jong started the race for the #67 PRT Racing Ginetta LMP3, and after a clean start, set a good pace for the first stint, before handing over to Charlie Robertson, whose main goal was to set the fastest lap of the race, which he did, clocking in at 2:01.210, before bringing the car home in a comfortable third place.
In CN, Neric Wei and Iori Kimura had a good race in the #68 PS Racing Ligier JS 53, with Wei trying to keep up with the LMP3 cars at the start, before handing over to Kimura for the second stint, who crossed the line 4th overall, which is a great result for his first ever race outside of karting.
The race in the GTCup class was quite eventful, with only half of the class making it to the end of the race. The #77 Team NZ Porsche GT3 Cup came first in the category, driven by Graeme Dowsett and John Curran. Having started from the back of the grid, they had quite a few close fights with the Team Lotus HK Lotuses on their way up the field, and came out victorious. Dominic Ang and Anthony Chan came second in the GTCup class in the #28 Team Lotus HK Lotus Evora GTC. Unfortunately, the other cars of Team Lotus HK did not fare so well, with the #98 Lotus Exige Cup R, driven by Eric Wong, ending up in the tyre barriers halfway through the race due to a puncture, and the #11 Lotus Evora GTC, driven by Robert Webb and Julio Acosta, finishing in the pits with an engine fire. The team has a lot of work ahead of them before tomorrow’s second race of Round 2.
#1 DC Racing Ligier JS P3 – Jamie Winslow: “It was good. I got a good start. Tanart was quicker at the beginning of the race, we had a good dice. He came past me, then I passed him, three or four times, I lost count. I tried to save on the tyres a bit, because I knew that when Aiden would jump in, he’d be fresh and quick. So I saved on the brakes and the tyres, and in the end the car was pretty good. The team did a fantastic job, DC Racing and Eurasia. We weren’t very quick yesterday and they turned it all around for today. All credit to them. It’s a shame that Dean Koutsoumidis my co-driver couldn’t be here, I’m sure he would have loved to be on the top step of the podium, so a big thank you to him and thank you to the team.”
#94 WINEURASIA Ligier JSP3 – Aidan Read: “It was quite a tricky race, but good nonetheless. Tanart did a great job in the first stint, with the speed he had and fought with James for the lead. In the pitstops, we lost a bit of time to James, so when I drove out of the pits, I had a bit of a gap and from there it was quite difficult to manage the car through the traffic, and after the oil went down, had some slight car issues, so it was about bringing the car to the finish. We know from practice and qualifying that we have a good pace in the car, and I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s race.”
Tanart Sathienthirakul: “I didn’t get a great start, nearly managed to pass James, but I had quite a few goes at him, but couldn’t make any of them stick until the last one. Maybe if I’d pitted a few laps before, it could have been different. Still, second is still better than nothing.”
#67 PRT Racing Ginetta LMP3 – Ate De Jong: “I’m improving at every race. Every month I’m improving. If we keep up the progress, I think we’ll soon win our first race, maybe next season. I have a great co-driver in Charlie, I think he set the best lap time of the race. I want to thank PRT Racing for having a great car and for the team as a whole who have a great organisation. And thanks to ACO of course.”
Charlie Robertson: “It was great. I think we have a really fast race car, which is encouraging. Ate did a good job in the first stint, handed over to me, and I just needed to be consistent and get good lap times. My goal really was to get fastest lap, and we did that, by I think about half a second, so proving that the car is working well in hot conditions, and hopefully with Ate’s progress, we’ll soon be challenging for the second place and then hopefully first.”
#68 PS Racing Ligier JS 53 CN – Neric Wei: “I did the first stint. My goal was to improve my pace and catch up to the LMP3 guys, but they got away. Next time, I will try much harder, bringing the race home from Iori.”
Iori Kimura: “This is my debut race and debut win, and I’m really happy. I’m also happy to bring the car back to the pits. Thanks to the mechanics and the PS Racing boss. I’m very happy.”
GTCup: #77 Team NZ Porsche GT3 Cup – Graeme Dowsett: “We got a good start. Unfortunately, the Lotuses had some problems, so it wasn’t that hard, but it was certainly hot out there. I’m happy, a win’s a win.”
John Curran: “I did the second stint. Brought the car home. Had a bit of a scary moment in T14, giving everyone in the team a bit of a heart attack. I’m delighted with the win. Looking forward to tomorrow, and best of luck to the Lotus team to get the cars back on track for tomorrow.