Craft-Bamboo Racing and Spirit of Race claimed a pole position apiece for this weekend’s two Blancpain GT Series Asia races at Fuji Speedway after Nick Foster and Max Wiser topped each of the 15-minute qualifying sessions held earlier today.
Meanwhile, Clearwater Racing’s Richard Wee and Mok Weng Sun helped McLaren make the perfect start to their maiden Blancpain GT Series Asia weekend in GT4 by taking both class pole positions.
Q1: FOSTER LEAVES IT LATE
A red flag, caused by TTR Team SARD’s crashed Porsche, gave drivers just six minutes to improve on their early times once the first session resumed. Marchy Lee had claimed provisional pole before the Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR’s accident and looked set to stay there until Foster’s last gasp effort lowered Q1’s benchmark to 1m41.157s.
That was 0.110s faster than Lee’s Audi Hong Kong R8 LMS and the CarGuy Racing Lamborghini driven by Kei Cozzolino who also spent time at the top before the session was briefly halted.
Rino Mastronardi, Naoya Yamano and Martin Kodric completed the top-six, while GruppeM Racing’s championship leader Hunter Abbott starts seventh. Andrew Haryanto (X-One Racing Lamborghini) was fastest Am Cup driver in 19th overall.
In GT4, Richard Wee began an excellent morning for Clearwater Racing by claiming McLaren’s first series GT4 pole position by 1.4s over Taiwan Top Speed’s Keo Chang and Craft-Bamboo’s Frank Yu.
Q2: WISER TRIUMPHS IN TIGHT SECOND SESSION
Spirit of Race’s Max Wiser sealed his maiden Blancpain GT Series Asia pole position after emerging from an incredibly competitive second qualifying session on top at Fuji.
Alex Yoong made the early running by posting consecutive fastest times, but he was soon beaten by ARN Racing’s Kota Sasaki who then lost provisional pole to Wiser, whose 1m40.585s would go unbeaten over the remaining 10 minutes.
Maxi Buhk came closest to toppling the Ferrari after twice setting faster sector times before traffic thwarted his attempts to claim pole. The GruppeM Mercedes-AMG he shares with Abbott eventually ended up just 0.096s behind Wiser’s 488, while Yoong improved again to lap another 0.064s shy.
Indeed, so competitive was the second session that less than a second covered the top-14. Sasaki sealed fourth ahead of Shaun Thong and Alessio Picariello, whose 100% pole position record came to an end, while Jules Szymkowiak and Rui Aguas completed the top-eight.
KCMG’s Am Cup points leader Takuya Shirasaka starts first of the non-professional drivers in 19th overall and Mok Weng Sun made it two GT4 poles from two attempts for Clearwater’s McLaren 570S.
Race 1 starts at 15:35 this afternoon, while Race 2 gets underway at 14:25 tomorrow.
FUJI PITSTOP SUCCESS PENALTIES (RACE 1)
10s – Abbott/Buhk – #999 GruppeM Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3
07s – Stuvik/Kodric – #66 Vincenzo Sospiri Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3
05s – Lee/Picariello – #7 J-Fly by Absolute Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3
10s – Wang/Chang – #17 Taiwan Top Speed Racing Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR
07s – Lo/Tong – #10 EKS Motorsports Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR
05s – Tse/Fong – #11 TTR Team SARD Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR