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Racing Roundup

Weekly Racing Roundup (7.1.19)

Reports from Super GT, Blancpain GT Sports Club and GT4 European Series plus news…

Photo: Super GT

LeMans Wako’s Leads Second Consecutive Lexus Podium Sweep in Super GT

Lexus LC500s swept the podium for the second consecutive race in Super GT on Sunday, with Team LeMans Wako’s taking the overall victory.

Kazuya Oshima and Kenta Yamashita combined in the No. 6 Lexus to win the 300 km race at Buriram, Thailand, and move into the points lead in the process.

Oshima and Yamashita led most of the race after starting from pole, only losing the lead once to Kazuki Nakajima until positions were reversed during pit stops.

Toyota LMP1 driver Nakajima and Yuhi Sekiguchi later dropped back, finishing ninth in their Team au Tom’s Lexus.

Nick Cassidy soon became Yamashita’s main challenger for the lead but he was unable to make a move stick, having to settle for second along with Team KeePer Tom’s co-driver Ryo Hirakawa.

The final podium position went the way of Yuji Kunimoto and Sho Tsuboi’s Team WedsSport Bandoh Lexus.

The best-placed Nissan GT-R NISMO was the Kondo Racing car of Jann Mardenborough and Mitsunori Takaboshi in fourth, while Tadasuke Makino and Narain Karthikeyan had the top-scoring Honda NSX-GT in tenth.

A last-lap battle decided the GT300 race, with Keishi Ishikawa making his way past Kazuki Hiramine, securing the win for Ishikawa and Kazuki Hoshino’s GAINER Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3.

RESULTS: Buriram

Photo: SRO

Moller Extends Blancpain GT Sports Club Points Lead With Third NSX GT3 Win

Jens Reno Moller increased his lead at the head of the Blancpain GT Sports Club standings on Sunday, taking his third win of the season in his Honda NSX GT3 Evo.

He duelled with Saturday’s winner Christian Hook throughout most of Race 2, although a spin for Hook, caused by contact with Murad Sultanov, dropped the Rinaldi Racing driver out of contention.

Hook held on to second when Sulatnov was given a penalty, but ended up 20 seconds down on Moller, who picked up another 25 points with his third win of the year.

It came after taking both wins in the opening round at Monza as well as a second-place result last time out at Circuit Paul Ricard.

Moller hadn’t been able to register a strong finish in the weekend’s opening race, however, with Hook taking victory on Saturday evening.

Hook led from start to finish in his Rinaldi Ferrari 488 GT3, ultimately finishing 1.2 seconds ahead of Lee Mowle in the ERC Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3.

Mowle ended the race early after spinning into the pit wall, bringing out the red flag. He was cleared of injury in the medical center and held onto his second-place finish due to the one-lap countback.

Moller’s race was hampered by a spin on the exit of the final corner, initially dropping him out of the top ten until he recovered to finish eighth and 50 seconds off the lead.

RESULTS: Race 1; Race 2

Photo: SRO

Bullitt, Leipert Mercedes Claim GT4 European Series Wins at Misano

Bullitt Racing and Leipert Motorsport each took their Mercedes-AMG GT4s to victory in the GT4 European Series rounds at Misano. 

In Race 1, Romain Monti and Alex Lambertz won on their debut with Spanish outfit Bullitt after Monti inherited the lead from Stephane Lemeret when the Belgian picked up a puncture shortly before the mandatory pit stops.

Monti stayed on track in the lead until the end of the pit window, handing over to Lambertz, who came back out with a nine-second lead over Equipe Verschuur’s Daniel McKay.

McKay dropped back, allowing Alec Udell to initially take second for MDM Motorsport until he was passed by Gabriele Piana, who eventually came home ten seconds behind Lambertz in his RN Vision STS BMW M4 GT4, with Udell third.

Another puncture for Lemeret’s CMR-run Alpine A110 GT4 decided Race 2, dropping him out of the lead with less than two minutes left.

A few laps earlier, he had passed Max Koebolt, whose Leipert Mercedes had led half of the race. Koebolt re-took the lead when the Alpine dropped out, securing the win for himself and co-driver Jan Kisiel.

Ekris Motorsport’s Ricardo van der Ende and Euan McKay finished runner-up, six seconds down, ahead of Race 1 winners Lambertz and Monti.

RESULTS: Race 1; Race 2

Photo: Toyota

News & Notes

***Toyota Gazoo Racing’s new test and reserve driver Thomas Laurent visited the team’s base in Cologne last week for a seat-fitting and simulator session, taking the TS050 Hybrid around Circuit de la Sarthe.

***Toyota’s Le Mans-winning car will make its first public appearance since the race at the Goodwood Festival of Speed later this week as part of a sizeable display for the brand that also includes race, road, concept and drift versions of its new Supra and its Dakar Rally and WRC winners.

***This weekend’s Goodwood bill also includes several famous names from the world of sports car racing, including Jacky Ickx, Dindo Capello, Frank Biela, Benoit Treluyer, Richard Attwood and Gijs van Lennep who will all be driving up the Sussex hillclimb.

***Mercedes-AMG GT3s won both of the weekend’s China GT Championship races at Shanghai. Adam Christodoulou and Eric Zang combined in Race 1 to claim victory for Toro Racing, while EWS Craft-Bamboo Racing’s Alessio Picariello and Jeffrey Lee won Race 2.

***Vincent Capillaire, Matthias Kaiser and Lukas Dunner were victorious in the four-hour Ultimate Cup race at Mugello. The Wimmer Werk Motorsport trio’s Ligier JS P3 Nissan beat the second-placed Realteam Norma M30 Nissan of Sebastien Page and Esteban Garcia by a lap, while Johnny Mowlem and Bonamy Grimes were classified third in their Red River Sport Norma.

***Nielsen Racing has pledged to return to the Asian Le Mans Series next season with at least one Norma in the LMP3 category. The British squad ran two Ligiers in the 2018-19 campaign.

***BMW has revealed that the M2 Competition will replace the M240i Racing as its entry-level GT cup car next year. First deliveries will take place in the second quarter of 2020, while a maiden test will take place next month, in VLN 5 on Aug. 3.

***A plethora of sports car stars took to the wheel of road-going machinery to be part of last weekend’s Formula 1 Austrian Grand Prix ‘Legends Parade’. Nine-time Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen drove an Audi R8 V10, while 2015 WEC champion Mark Webber got behind the wheel of a Porsche 911 GT2 RS. Other big names included Patrick Dempsey (Porsche 918 Spyder Hybrid), Hans-Joachim Stuck (Bugatti Chiron) and Emanuele Pirro (Lamborghini Aventador SVJ).

***Robin Shute won the Pikes Peak International Hillclimb in his Honda-powered Wolf TSC unlimited car, while Raphael Astier finished second in a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Turbo to pace the sports car contingent. RealTime Racing’s Peter Cunningham completed the overall top three in an Acura TLX GT3.

Daniel Lloyd contributed to this report.

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist. He is a graduate of Politics and International Relations.

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