CarGuy’s Tire Gamble Pays Off
A successful strategy gamble from CarGuy Racing enabled Kei Cozzolino to charge through the field and win the first race of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia powered by AWS round at Suzuka, which kicked off a four-round Japanese leg for the series.
Cozzolino and Takeshi Kimura took victory after their CarGuy team elected to put the former on slick tires in damp conditions while those in front remained on wets.
That proved to be a decisive call, as Cozzolino made up 12 positions in the closing 30 minutes to come out on top in the inaugural race for GTWC Asia’s Japan Cup class.
There was drama at the start for the CarGuy Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020, which was demoted from fourth to 12th by contact that caused Kimura to spin around.
The incident came at the restart for an early safety car, caused by the pole-sitting Yogibo Racing Ferrari rotated into the barriers on the opening lap in tricky conditions.
Kantadhee Kusiri led through to the pit window in the EBM Giga Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R, before handing over to Tanart Sathienthirakul who was reeled in and passed by Porsche Center Okazazki’s Yuta Kamimura and Triple Eight JMR’s Nick Foster.
Behind, Cozzolino was on a charge in his slick-shod Ferrari that was lapping significantly quicker than the front-runners. He dispatched Kamimura at the chicane on the penultimate lap and ended up eight seconds clear at the finish.
The second race was marked by several incidents that produced the first overall-winning Am class crew in GTWC Asia history.
Comet Racing’s Yusuke Yamasaki and Yorikatsu Tsujiko prevailed in their Honda NSX GT3 Evo22 after benefiting from four interruptions including one at the end.
Cozzolino’s early lead was restricted by two safety cars, the latter occurring as the pit window opened on 25 minutes.
When that happened the majority of the front-runners had already passed pit entry, but some further back including the Honda gained an advantage by pitting straight away.
Yamasaki remained ahead through two more safety cars: the first for Prince Abu Bakar Ibrahim touching Kusiri and sending both off the road at Spoon, and the second for Satoshi Hoshino spinning his Aston Martin Vantage GT3 into a bystanding GT4 Mercedes.
The final intervention left no time for a restart, handing victory to Comet while Prince Abdul Rahman Ibrahim and Foster took second in their Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo.
Other Racing & News
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On this weekend: Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS (Virginia), Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia powered by AWS (Fuji), Intelligent Money British GT Championship (Spa-Francorchamps)