Super GT driver Narain Karthikeyan claimed victory in Sunday’s ‘Dream Race’ at Fuji while Loic Duval and Marco Witttmann finished on the podium in their DTM cars.
Former F1 racer Karthikeyan, who had never won a Super GT race before this weekend, beat 2013 FIA World Endurance champion Duval to the line by a gap of 0.935 seconds.
The Indian driver started from second in his Honda behind Duval who inherited pole from Daisuke Nakajima, who was penalized for a chassis change earlier in the weekend.
But Duval couldn’t hold his pole advantage for long and was running fourth behind Rast, Karthikeyan and Yamamoto when he picked up a puncture which left enough debris to trigger the first of three Safety Car periods.
Audi’s drama was then compounded when Rast picked up a puncture of his own to enable Karthikeyan to take a net lead that he would ultimately convert into victory.
The debris from Rast’s tire delamination on the main straight resulted in another Safety Car, which in part helped Duval to recover because of the field bunching up.
The Frenchman was then forced to thread the needle through a multi-car accident that caused the third and final Safety Car to set up a single-lap dash to the checkered flag.
Karthikeyan led the field to green while Wittmann slotted into second and Duval ran in third having got past Kamui Kobayashi’s BMW M4 DTM.
A determined Duval latched onto Wittmann’s tail and made a brilliant move down the inside into the penultimate left-hander before the pair ran side-by-side through the last corner.
Wittmann forced Duval out wide but the Audi had a greater drive coming off the final bend and powered past the BMW to reach the line first.
However, Duval received a one-second penalty for his aggressive final move which reversed the two DTM aces in the final classification.
Behind the battling pair in fourth was 2018 Super GT champion Yamamoto for Honda, while Kobayashi finished fifth ahead of Nakajima.
Audi’s Mike Rockenfeller took the checkered flag in sixth, ahead of Ryo Hirakawa (Lexus), Rene Rast (Audi), Benoit Treluyer (Audi) and Tsugio Matsuda (Nissan).
RESULTS: Dream Race 2