Sean Gelael and Antonio Giovinazzi have taken the win at the third round of the Asian Le Mans Series, in the #9 Jagonya Ayam with Eurasia Oreca 03R Nissan, held at the Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand. Not far behind them over the line was the #25 Algarve Pro Racing Ligier JSP2 who came second. The #8 Race Performance Oreca 03R Judd took third place on the podium.
The teams were lucky with the weather here in Buriram, with the rain starting just as the chequered flag fell. Otherwise, it was quite a clean race, with the safety car only coming out twice to retrieve two stranded cars.
After a great start in the #9 Jagonya Ayam with Eurasia Oreca 03R Nissan, Sean Gelael suffered a puncture in the left rear tyre, forcing him to pit and fall to the back of the field. After 30 minutes, he had managed to climb back and rejoin the LMP2s, which had been led by Nick de Bruijn in the #99 Eurasia Motorsport Oreca 03R Nissan. De Bruijn had himself taken a great start, from 4th into 2nd on the first lap. As the race went on, the leaders shuffled around, between the #9, the #99 and the #8 each leading for a number of laps. In the second hour Gelael reclaimed the lead and his teammate Antonio Giovinazzi kept it there until the end. Second across the line was the #25 Algarve Pro Racing Ligier JSP2, driven by Michael Munemann, Dean Koutsoumidis and Jamie Winslow. Having started 2nd on the grid, but suffering from a stop and go penalty, they managed to claim the second step of the podium by the end of the race. Third went to the #8 Race Performance Oreca 03R Judd, driven by Oliver Webb and Nicolas Leutwiler, giving them valuable points toward the championship.
In LMP3, the DC Racing trio of Ho-Pin Tung, Thomas Laurent and David Cheng took their third consecutive class win in their #1 Ligier JSP3. Despite problems with the gearbox, they had a strong race, spending some time up in 3rd overall, and finishing in a comfortable 5th. This win also gives them the LMP3 title for the 2015-16 edition of the Asian Le Mans Series. This also means that DC Racing is automatically selected for the 24hrs of Le Mans this year in the LMP2 class. 2nd place in LMP3 went to the #89 Team AAI ADESS 03, driven by local Tanart Sathienthirakul, along with Masataka Yanagida and Sakaguchi Ryohei. The 3rdLMP3 entry this weekend, the #88 Team AAI ADESS 03, could not take part following yesterday’s crash during qualifying.
It was hard to tell who would come out on top of the busiest class of the Series, the GT class. In the end, the #27 Nexus Infinity Ferrari 458 GT3 crossed the finishing line first. It’s the first podium for the team, with Joshua Hunt and Dominic Ang sharing the wheel. They crossed the line 7,6 seconds ahead of the #5 Absolute Racing Audi R8 GT3, which was driven by Jeffrey Lee, Alessio Picariello and Adderly Fong. The trio made a good comeback, after falling to 7th at the start. Third place here in Thailand went to the #91 Team AAI BMW Z4 GT3, the second podium of the season for the car, this time driven by Junsan Chen, Nobuteru Tanaguchi and Ollie Millroy.
The GTAm team finished with a good result, ending up 12th overall. The trio proved their consistency and reliability once more, with Paul Ip, Martin Rump and Yuan Bo all performing well around the Buriram circuit. This class win definitely clinches their title for the 2015-2016 season.
It was a tough race for the CN class, with neither of the two entries making it to the end of the race. After two hours of racing, the #21 Avelon Formula Wolf Racing GB08 went off on track at turn 8, bringing out the safety car to recuperate it. For the #69 Atlantic Racing Team Wolf Racing GB08, they had a tough start, stopping on track at turn 7 and bringing out the safety car for a few minutes near the beginning of the race. They re-joined and continued, but suffered many issues throughout, due to a faulty oil pressure sensor and engine problems, before being black-flagged for safety reasons after 2h30 of racing.
It has been a successful weekend for the series, with record attendance and which sees two of the classes with champions already. Here’s to our final round in Sepang in two weeks time!