Hong Kong’s WIN Motorsport took its third Asian Le Mans Sprint Cup overall victory at the Sepang International Circuit after a wheel-perfect Race 2 saw team principal and driver William Lok cross the line with a massive advantage of more than a lap.
Lok made it win number three for the team he formed just six months ago, strengthening their grasp on their Asian Le Mans Sprint Cup title bid and showing once again the new LMP3 outfit is a true force to be reckoned with. WIN Motorsport now has a strong advantage at the top of the championship leaderboard with just two races to go of the 2017 Sprint Cup season.
While Lok, Rizzo and the entire WIN Motorsport squad put in faultless performances in Race 2 to claim the win, it was an eventful weekend which required maximum attack.
Speaking about the win, William lok: “With three Asian Le Mans Series wins and a podium in four races, WIN Motorsport is right on track in our debut season. We’re learning fast and have already proved we are strong championship contenders. When faced with setbacks, we react with more pace, tighter cohesion, greater commitment. Adversity just makes us stronger as we’ve demonstrated this weekend. My thanks to the whole WIN Motorsport team.”
Saturday’s Race 1 brought a number of challenges which the team pulled together to overcome, returning for Race 2 with a vengeance that resulted in a dominant win.
Race 1 saw WIN Motorsport claim second place after an outstanding fightback. The team was leading the race overall until the closing minutes when a late-race drive through penalty dealt a cruel blow. However, such was the margin of their advantage that even a trip to pit lane only saw them drop one place.
“I’m very happy with the weekend. We were by far the quickest car on track,” said Davide Rizzo. We had the consistently good pace needed for endurance racing. The car was great, and the WIN Motorsport team did a fantastic job.”
After a strong qualifying session, Lok took the first stint in the #1 Ligier JS P3 LMP3 from the front row of the grid. However, the chaotic start saw him pushed down the order and then frustrated by his two slower rivals in front. Determined to find a way past, on Lap 5 Lok made a dive on the inside to pass the pair and claim the lead, but he was clipped into a spin.
Lok managed to get the car going again and into the pits. After a rapid damage assessment by the team, the WIN Motorsport LMP3 was back out on track, albeit at the back of the pack and a lap down. As Lok began the fightback, the Safety Car was called out after another car hit the barriers. That closed up the field but, more importantly, allowed Lok to pit and hand the car to Rizzo, who rejoined the field at the back but – crucially – now on the same lap.
As the Safety Car pulled off, Rizzo was flying at the restart. In a charge that was nothing short of heroic, the masterful Italian rocketed into the race lead, building up an impressive advantage.
However, WIN Motorsport’s aspirations for a third consecutive win were dealt another blow when, with just minutes remaining on the clock, the team was handed a drive through penalty for the earlier incident involving Lok. Rizzo continued to push to the max though, and held on to second and a healthy championship points haul for the team.
With their determination undiminished despite the frustrations of Race 1, WIN Motorsport returned to the Malaysian F1 track the next day on fighting form. This time it was Rizzo who took the first stint, blasting away from the rolling start to pull out a healthy lead and handing the car to Lok mid-way with an impressive margin. Lok once again put in a masterful performance to bring the car home and claim the team’s third win in four races.
The six-race, three-round Asia Le Mans Sprint Cup resumes next month for the season finale from August 18-20, once again at the Sepang International Circuit. As championship leaders going in to the final double-header, WIN Motorsport will be determined to secure the Sprint title in preparation for its entry in the 2017-2018 Asian Le Man Series, set to begin in October.