Thunderhead Carlin Racing won a dramatic 4 Hours of Sepang after a late penalty for Eurasia Motorsport’s No. 36 Ligier JS P217 Gibson toppled the order in the penultimate round of the 2019-20 Asian Le Mans Series.
Eurasia’s car crossed the line first but was later handed a 36-second penalty for ignoring race control’s instruction to repair its tail lights in the final five minutes of the race.
This gave the victory to the No. 45 Thunderhead Carlin Racing Dallara P217 Gibson of Jack Manchester, Harry Tincknell and Ben Barnicoat.
The Eurasia machine of Aidan Read, Nick Foster and Roberto Merhi held on to second, one spot ahead of points leaders Roman Rusinov, Leonard Hoogenboom and James French in the No. 26 G Drive Racing By Algarve Aurus-badged Oreca 07 Gibson.
The race started behind the safety car after an almost two-hour delay as torrential rain lashed the circuit and lightening storms made for dangerous conditions.
When the race did get underway, the pole-sitting No. 1 Eurasia Motorsport Racing New Zealand Ligier led for merely four laps before suddenly retiring to the pits with a broken front-left wheel hub.
This put the No. 96 K2 Uchino Racing Oreca 07 Gibson in the lead before it too yielded the top spot with its own issues in the opening hour.
The overall lead changed hands twice more before a charging Carlin driver Barnicoat passed Merhi in the remaining Eurasia Ligier in the third hour.
Barnicoat stretched out his lead and then made way behind the wheel for Tinknell, however a perfectly timed pit stop for the Eurasia car under the third Full Course Yellow in the third hour saw Read rejoin 39 seconds ahead.
Tincknell and co-driver Manchester then managed to close the margin down to 25 seconds by the checkered flag, with Carlin confirmed as the winner after the penalty was applied to the Eurasia car.
G-Drive’s search for a third consecutive Asian LMS race victory was thwarted in the second hour when Hoogenboom lost time as a result of a clash with two other cars.
The No. 52 Rick Ware Racing Ligier JS P2 of Cody Ware and Gustas Grinbergas came out on top in the LMP2 Am Trophy class.
LMP3 honors comfortably went the way of the No. 9 Graff Norma M30 Nissan of Eric Trouilllet, Sebastien Page and David Droux.
It came after the No. 65 Viper Niza Racing Ligier JS P3 Nissan gave up the lead in the second hour with a string of problems in the pits and on track which led to it falling to last in class.
In GT, JLOC’s No. 88 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo inherited the win after the No. 27 HubAuto Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 was handed a 60-second stop-and-go penalty in the closing stages for speeding under an FCY.
The No. 77 D’station Racing Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3 led the class early on but was hampered by numerous dramas and did not make the finish.
Carlin’s overall victory marked its first with the Dallara LMP2 car after its on-the-road win at Shanghai was taken away by a post-race penalty.
The British squad is now one point ahead of Eurasia in the championship standings heading into the Buriram season finale next weekend, while G-Drive’s lead has been cut to nine points.