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OAK Scores Comeback Victory at Fuji

OAK Racing Team TOTAL scores come-from-behind victory in 3H Fuji…

Photo: Paul Khoo/Rewind Images

Photo: Paul Khoo/Rewind Images

OAK Racing Team TOTAL claimed top honors in Sunday’s Three Hours of Fuji, following a come-from-behind victory for Ho-Pin Tung, David Cheng and Keiko Ihara.

The second round of the Asian Le Mans Series had its share of drama, with a crash by Ihara — who had built up a two-lap lead over the stalled Eurasia Motorsport Oreca 03 Nissan — sending OAK’s Morgan-Judd to the garage for repairs.

While rejoining two laps behind the pole-sitting Eurasia entry, which had taken the lead, the French squad mounted a remarkable recovery drive, with Cheng regaining one of the lost laps, through a move around Ju Jun Jin in the second hour.

Tung, meanwhile, made up the remaining time in his closing stint, which saw the Chinese driver turn laps nearly 10 seconds per lap quicker than the John Hartshorne-driven Eurasia entry, which he overtook for the lead with less than 45 minute to go.

Eurasia’s fortunes went from bad to worse as Hartshorne was forced to serve a stop-and-hold plus 40-second penalty, with OAK, which ended up triple-stinting its Michelin tires, cruising to a one-lap victory over the Eurasia entry of Richard Bradley.

“Because of Keiko’s trouble with the car, we had to change our strategy because the tires were damaged as well in that crash,” Tung explained.

“For me, it was basically to try and bring the car home at a consistent pace, which I managed to do I think.

“The car wasn’t in a perfect state to drive due to the accident and having to manage on one set of tires, but I think the team made a good turnaround and shows that you should never give up.”

Cheng added: “I think it goes to show what endurance racing is and goes to show how well this OAK Racing Team TOTAL functions. We got the wing changed really fast and didn’t lose too much action time.”

The No. 91 Team AAI BMW Z4 GT3 of Jun San Chen, Tatsuya Tanigawa and Carlo van Dam picked up GT class honors and a third place overall finish, one lap ahead of the sister Nissan GT-R GT3 NISMO, which came home second in class.

The Mathias Beche, Kevin Tse and Samson Chan-driven No. 77 Craft-Bamboo Racing Ligier JS 53 Evo, meanwhile, claimed back-to-back victories in CN, five laps ahead of the Avelon Formula Wolf GB08, which finished 6th overall.

Seven of the eight total entries took the checkered flag, with the GT pole-sitting No. 90 Team AAI Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 retiring late in the running.

Only one of the Emperor Racing Lamborghini Gallardo FL2s took part in the race, as two of the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Asia cars participated in qualifying. Both were late additions to the grid.

RESULTS: Three Hours of Fuji

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Chopper T

    August 31, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    3 hours. Nine cars…. what a shame…. Did anyone show up to watch? Fuji has such history. James Hunt won his Championship here…

  2. If

    August 31, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    Everyone gets a trophy, as long as you keep the engine running.

    Too bad there isn’t coverage of the better, higher attended and participated-in race series in Asia instead of this exhibition/demonstration “series”

  3. Tarek R.

    August 31, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    The official press release (race report) is a kind of joke IMO. The series is really strugling and made an unbelievable mistake racing same time with Suzuka 1000Km and Sepang 12 Hours and they talk about a “success”! How?!

  4. Jan

    August 31, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    In addition to the low car count, the quality of some of the drivers is equally troublesome. There are a few fast guys like Tung and Bradley, and Beche as guest (?) starter, but most of the others are mediocre at best. Some drivers are ten seconds a lap too slow… Makes it hard to take this series seriously, frankly. Let’s hope it will improve soon.

    • Jefferson

      September 1, 2014 at 12:55 pm

      At least Eurasia was right to bring Pu Jun Jin to the lineup. He has some considerable pace, what can help Bradley in the other rounds(if he stays with the team).

  5. Jimmy!!!

    September 1, 2014 at 6:10 am

    Put in a few Delta Wings and the series would be complete.

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