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Sep 26, 2012 - 02:20 PM
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GT Asia PR - 3 Way Marque Fight For Championship In Final 3 Rounds
Posted by: newsla on Sep 26, 2012 - 02:13 PM
Sports Cars
GT Asia PR - 3 Way Marque Fight For Championship In Final 3 Rounds


It is the penultimate weekend for the 2012 GT Asia Series held at the picturesque Autopolis International Circuit, South of Japan. The GT Asia Series Rounds 9 & 10 will be held as part of the 2012 Autobacs Super GT Round 7 in Kyushu 300km where it will be a three way fight for the win with three top marques, Porsche, Ferrari and Audi.

 

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The top three drivers will continue their battles for the Championship with only six points separating the top two with the third just ten points behind. A total of 57 points is still up for the taking making this weekend’s two rounds all important for the trio.

At 18 years old, Chinese National, Peter Li Zhi Cong is the youngest driver in the Series but with training from Philippe Descombes of Asia Racing Team, the driver remains unfazed by his more experienced competitors and has maintained his lead in the Championship points. He has taken his Porsche 997 GT3 R to the podium six out of eight races, including winning two along the way collecting 116 points so far.

But the margin is small between him and his toughest competitor, Mok Weng Sun and with the 2012 ‘dropped score’ regulations, which will remove the two lowest points collected, the current standing will mean that Mok is in the lead with two points.

The Malaysian driving for Singaporean team, Clearwater Racing is looking to retain the title that he won last year. He and his team manager Arjunan Kulasegaram joked last month that Mok will need another Championship trophy as the one he won last year is safely kept by the team.

Third in the points is Jeffrey Lee, the product of Audi Customer Development Program who partners with his coaches over race weekends. Throughout the season he has learnt from top Hong Kong driver, Marchy Lee and while in Suzuka last month was partnered with up and coming GT driver, Alexandre Imperatori. With the coaching from the duo, Jeffrey has been on the podium four times so far and looks set to gain his first win this weekend in the Audi R8 LMS Ultra, with Marchy.

In GTM, It will be a battle between Ferrari, Lamborghini and Porsche when Francis Hideki Onda takes his F430 GT to defend his marginal lead from the Gallardo of good friend and fierce on track rival, Jacky Yeung.

Both drivers have had a mixed season so far, while Yeung started the season better than Onda, both drivers have had their fair share of car troubles and podium finishes. The duo have climbed on the podium seven times each, with Onda taking three class wins while Yeung is left chasing for his elusive first placed trophy.

Only three points separate the two very determined friends and this weekend they will once again have the added pressure of having to defend their title chase from Shigeru Terashima in the powerful 997 GT3 3.8 Cup. Terashima joined the Series later in the Season and have already caught up to the battling duo, winning one GTM battle during the Suzuka outing and aiming for more this weekend.

It will be an exciting race weekend which can already determine the Championships before heading to Macau for the Season finale with all drivers determined to do their best. Championship leaders will have to defend from other previous podium finishers, including Hisao Shigeta, Frank Yu and Dilantha Malagamuwa.

Shigeta recovered from the Round 7 incident, which left him unable to finish his race, with great determination and fought to finish a well deserving fourth in Round 8. Having already won the race once in Sepang in front of the Super GT crowd, the bubbly Japanese is sure to want to repeat that feat bringing Direction Racing’s Porsche GT3 R for the win at home turf.

Meanwhile, Yu has been spending time with his family while a hard weekend awaits him in Autopolis. Once again the Hong Kong driver will be competing in both the GT Asia Series in the Ford GT3 and in an Audi R8 LMS in the Super GT event. He will have to switch and adjust quickly to the different characteristics of the two cars and will need to concentrate to avoid the mistake he made in Sepang.

After two disappointing rounds in Suzuka, Malagamuwa commented on his Facebook page to his supporters, “I will do my best to bring Pride for Mother Lanka. Sorry for my mistake in the last race. All your kind comments gives me so much strength and courage to compete with the least I have. Thank you”. Having only climbed on the podium once this season in third, the 2009 Champion can only hope for a better end to his season as the Championship is too far to catch.

The Autopolis International Circuit was built in 1989 near a village in the Oita Prefecture located on Kyushu Island. The circuit’s 4.673km track is built on an undulating ground providing a 50 meter change of elevation between the first and the last sector of the circuit.

The prefecture surrounding the circuit is part of four regions in Kyushu. Oita is formed from the combined districts from Bungo and Buzen Provinces, which was once known as Toyo-no-kuni, which meant “Land of Abundance”. The region is surrounded by forests, plains, valleys, rivers and surrounded by a 759km coastline.

Drivers enjoy the circuit for the beautiful scenery surrounding it and the elevation of the circuit poses a different challenge to the drivers and their machinery.

So far the 2012 GT Asia Series season has seen drivers from nine countries bringing with them an array of supercar brands, Porsche, Ferrari, Audi, Ford, Lamborghini, BMW and Lotus.


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