Andrea Amici and Artur Janosz continued their blinding start to the 2018 Lamborghini Super Trofeo Asia season with a second consecutive victory in Round 2 at Malaysia’s Sepang International Circuit. The pair led home the sister car of Britons Jack Bartholomew and James Pull, with the Top Speed Racing Team Pro pair of Armaan Ebrahim and Anindith Reddy of India taking the final podium place.
Takeshi Matsumoto and Toshiyuki Ochiai deftly snatched the Pro-Am win for HoJust Racing from Leipert’s Mikko Eskelinen and Juuso Puhakka who had led the class for most of the 23-lap race. Third were Gama Racing’s Evan Chen and Akihiro Asai who had shown impressive pace throughout.
In the Am category, Thai brothers Sarun and Saravut Sereethoranakul of PSC continued their successful season start with a second win, taking the flag ahead of Andrew Haryanto who had an eventful race. Ken Urata and Daisuke Matsunaga took the final Am podium place for FPC Racing.
Lamborghini Super Trofeo Asia newcomers, 852 Challengers Paul Wong and Clement Li, continued their remarkable debut with a second consecutive Lamborghini Cup win from Gabriele Murroni of GDL Racing Team, but this time the Italian lost out on victory by a mere 73 thousandths of a second.
Amici and Janosz top the Pro leaderboard after two races on 31 points, with Ebrahim and Reddy, and Bartholomew and Pull, tied on 22, just nine points adrift. Having earned 28 points in the Pro-Am title chase, Matsumoto and Ochiai have a three-point advantage over Chen and Asai, with Eskelinen and Puhakka just two points behind them. With two wins apiece out of two races, the Sereethoranakul brothers lead the Am category, while the Hong Kong duo of Wong and Li lead the Lamborghini Cup standings.
The drama began even before the lights went out for the second time this season when the pole-sitting Leipert car of Ben Gersekowski was pushed from the grid, the #2 retiring for the second time in as many days with technical issues.
The retirement put the Pro-Am sister car of Eskelinen and Puhakka on pole but, when the race got underway, Round 1 winner Amici was away like a bullet from fifth on the grid and immediately up alongside Bartholomew and Puhakka. Three abreast into the corner, it was Amici who prevailed, grabbing the lead and setting off ahead of Bartholomew to repeat the FFF Racing Team domination of Round 1.
As the field stormed across the line for the first time, Amici had built a 1.420 second lead from Bartholomew, with Puhakka third overall and leading the Pro-Am class from HoJust Racing’s Ochiai. Puhakka’s challenge to Pro driver Bartholomew in front allowed Amici to continue building his margin, while a big push from Aylezo Motorsport’s Cedric Sbirrazzuoli saw him eyeing Ochiai for fourth, grabbing the position on the following lap.
As the Pro-Am battle between Puhakka, Sbirrazzuoli and Ochiai intensified under the scorching Malaysian sun, the Finn pushed hard, clocking the fastest Pro-Am lap of the race in his attempt to pull clear.
In the Am stakes, things were no less competitive. Top Speed Racing’s Haryanto had again started from the back of the grid having been absent from qualifying, but rapidly ploughed his way up through the order and was challenging Am rival Urata for the class lead by Lap 4. The Indonesian, driving solo, made what proved to be a costly move on Lap 7, passing Urata but then running up the kerb and dropping back 15 seconds. Never beaten, Haryanto immediately began his fight back, eating into the deficit and hunting down Urata.
As the pit window opened, Puhakka and Sbirrazzuoli remained out on track, the Finn taking advantage of clear track to strengthen his Pro-Am lead, but the Monegasque chipped away at his advantage before handing over to Malaysia’s Prabakaran Kumar.
Race leader Amici handed over to Janosz, and the Pole was quick right out of the blocks, immediately setting the fastest lap of the race and ensuring victory was theirs.
Haryanto, meanwhile, had closed up to Urata again and passed him at pit entry. However, carrying too much speed, Haryanto ended his maneuver in the gravel as his FPC Racing rival pitted to hand over to Matsunaga.
By the end of Lap 15, Janosz had once again pulled out an impressive lead from Pull, who had taken over from Bartholomew. Eskelinen held the Pro-Am lead from Matsumoto, but the Japanese ace was on a charge, two seconds a lap quicker than his rival.
Meanwhile, Sarun Sereethoranakul had climbed to the front of the Am order after taking the wheel from brother Saravut, but the determined Haryanto was also on the move again having passed Urata’s team mate Matsunaga. Haryanto eventually had to settle for second, but it was a hard-fought, well-deserved podium finish.
As the minutes clicked down towards the flag, Matsumoto continued to reel in Eskelinen, reducing the gap to just four seconds by the end of Lap 17, and making a decisive move three laps from the finish. Braking as late as he dared and diving up the inside of the Finn, Matsumoto seized the lead and the Pro-Am victory.
The Lamborghini Super Trofeo Asia continues next month when it heads to Thailand’s Buriram International Circuit for Rounds 3 and 4 on May 12-13. There, the battle for points and silverware will intensify further as the driver pairings continue to strengthen across all four championship classes.
Lamborghini Super Trofeo: Round 2 Results
- #63/PRO/FFF Racing Team/Andrea AMICI(ITA)/Artur JANOSZ(POL)/50.03.325
- #19/PRO/FFF Racing Team/Jack BARTHOLOMEW(GBR)/James PULL(GBR)/+7.210
- #38/PRO-AM/HoJust Racing/Takeshi MATSUMOTO(JPN)/Toshiyuki OCHIAI(JPN)/+25.879
- #33/PRO-AM/Leipert/Mikko ESKELINEN(FIN)/Juuso PUHAKKA(FIN)/+28.605
- #27/PRO/Top Speed Racing Team/Armaan EBRAHIM(IND)/Anindith REDDY(IND)/+37.877
- #68/PRO-AM/Gama Racing/Evan CHEN(TPE)/Akihiro ASAI(JPN)/+38.333
- #57/AM/PSC/Sarun SEREETHORANAKUL(THA)/Saravut SEREETHORANAKUL(THA)/+1:20.410
- #98/PRO-AM/Aylezo Motorsport/Prabakaran KUMAR(MAS)/Cedric SBIRRAZZUOLI(MCO)/+2:02.572
- #18/AM/Top Speed Racing Team/Andrew HARYANTO(INA)/+2:05.360
10: #55/AM/FPC Racing/Ken URATA (JPN)/Daisuke MATSUNAGA(JPN)/+1 Lap
- #44/LC/852 Challengers/Paul WONG Po Wah(HKG)/Clement LI(HKG)/+1 Lap
- #88/LC/GDL Racing Team/Gabriele Murroni(ITA)/+1 Lap
- #69/AM/Top Speed Racing Team/BIAN(CHN)/Huilin HAN(CHIN)/+1 Lap
DNF: #2/PRO/Leipert/Ben GERSEKOWSKI(AUS)/Richard MUSCAT(AUS)
PRO/#63/FFF Racing Team/Andrea AMICI/Artur JANOSZ/2:05.584
PRO-AM/#33/Leipert/Mikko Eskelinen/Juuso Puhakka/2:05.777
AM/#57/PSC/Sarun & Saravut SEREETHORANAKUL/2:07.680
LC/#44/852 Challengers/Paul WONG/Clement LI/2:09.044
- Andrea Amici 31
- Artur Janosz 31
- Armaan Ebrahim 22
- Anindith Reddy 22
- Jack Bartholomew 22
- James Pull 22
- Ben Gersekowski 1
- Richard Muscat 1
- Takeshi Matsumoto 28
- Toshiyuki Ochiai 28
- Evan Chen 25
- Akihiro Asai 25
- Mikko Eskelinen 23
- Juuso Puhakka 23
- Prabakaran Kumar 16
- Cedric Sbirrazzuoli 16
- Sarun Sereethoranakul 31
- Saravut Sereethoranakul 31
2.Andrew Haryanto 24
- Ken Urata 21
- Daisuke Matsunaga 21
- Bian 16
- Han Huilin 16
- Paul Wong 31
- Clement Li 31
- Gabriele Murroni 25