Weiron Tan produced a last-lap overtake on Vutthikorn Inthraphuvasak to score Audi’s first victory in Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia this season at Fuji Speedway.
The Audi Sport Asia Team Absolute Racing driver climbed from fifth to second after a safety car intervention brought the field together with 15 minutes to go, before dispatching the leading Porsche 911 GT3 R to seal the win with co-driver Martin Rump.
Mercedes-AMG GT3 dominated the opening half of Sunday’s 60-minute race, with Alessio Picariello and Jeffrey Lee opening up a 10-second lead in the pole-sitting Craft-Bamboo machine.
Rump was running in fifth behind four Pro-Am Mercedes entries before the pit window and handed over to fellow silver-rated driver Tan without the Audi losing a position.
This set up Tan, who raced in the FIA World Endurance Championship LMP2 category last year, for a charge to the front with only amateur drivers lying ahead of the Malaysian in the second stint.
The safety car period near the end of the race shook up the field and enabled Tan to make up three positions on the restart, while race leader Lee was overtaken by Inthraphuvasak in the No. 918 Panther/AAS Motorsport Porsche started by Alex Imperatori.
Tan then drew alongside Inthraphuvasak down the pit straight at the start of the final lap before jinking to the right and executing the move despite a cut-back attempt from the Thai driver.
The leading pair were separated by 0.742 seconds at the finish, while Christina Nielsen and Darryl O’Young came through to complete the podium in their Craft-Bamboo Mercedes.
Nielsen and O’Young, who scored a victory at Buriram earlier in the year, made up several positions in the wake of the safety car.
Their run was also aided by a drive-through penalty for the pole-sitting Picariello/Lee Mercedes-AMG following repeated track limits warnings.
Rahel Frey and Weian Chen finished fourth for Audi Sport Asia Team TSRT, while HH Prince Abdul Rahman Ibrahim and Jazeman Jaafar were fifth in their Triple Eight-run Mercedes.
In the GT4 class, BMW Team Studie drivers Sunako Jukuchou and Takayuki Kinoshita claimed their fifth win of the season to extend their championship lead.
The pair benefited from an issue during a pit stop for the Jean-Marc Merlin/David Pun Craft-Bamboo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 that won Saturday’s race.
The Mercedes’ failure to restart after its driver swap subsequently promoted the two Team i.Race.Win AMG entries up the second and third spots on the class podium.
RESULTS: Race 2