PRT Racing drivers Ate de Jong and Charlie Robertson scored two podium finishes during round two of the Asian Le Mans Sprint Cup. After a third place finish in race three on Saturday, that saw the #67 Ginetta LMP3 register the fastest lap of the race, they then took an emphatic race four victory, set fastest lap and take the LMP3 championship lead.
Starting from third place on the grid, Charlie Robertson made a great start and took the lead during the opening lap of the race, a task made easier by not having to battle the pole winning #1 DC Racing Ligier JSP3 of James Winslow, which had cut a tyre on the warm up lap and had to slowly make it’s way back to the pits.
Robertson had to resist an initial attack from Aiden Read driving the #94 WINEURASIA Ligier JSP3 which had started from second on the grid, but the nineteen-year-old Scottish driver was able to pull out a forty-five second lead and set the fastest lap in the process in his Ginetta. Read became embroiled in a great battle for second place in the first half of the race with the Nexus Infinity Racing ADESS 03 LMP3 of Garnet Patterson before a drive shaft broke on the Ligier which forced it to retire from the race.
Patterson held second position for the remainder of his stint, before handing the car over to Adrian D’Silva during the pit stops. It was great to see the #27 Nexus Infinity team having a strong race, after a weekend plagued by shock and gearbox issues that had prevented the car from taking part in Saturday’s race three.
D’Silva brought the ADESS home in second place but was no match for the PRT Racing Ginetta, now being driven by Dutch driver and team owner, Ate de Jong who had emerged with a sixty second lead after the pit stops had been completed.
He continued to increase the gap to D’Silva during the second half of the race and won by a margin of one minute and twenty-two seconds.
After the race Ate de Jong said; “The race weekend was very successful for us with two podiums, a third and a first place. Currently we’re leading the championship with two races to go. If we continue with this performance, we could win the very first Asian Le Mans Sprint Cup. This would be amazing for a team as young as PRT Racing.”
Finishing in a fine third place was PS Racing with their ADESS 03 and drivers Ringo Chong and Alan Yeo. Due to the late arrival of the car in Malaysia on Friday, the team were unable to take part in either of the free practice sessions, so with such limited track time to work with their car, they were delighted to score a podium position.
Ringo Chong; “It’s really surprising to be here. I didn’t think I would even start the race because our car was so late getting here. We only got it on Friday evening. Then we fixed the seat. It’s my first time in an LMP car, I’ve never driven one before, it’s a bit different from the normal GT cars that I drive. The first thing I did was the 15-minute qualifying session. Heading out to the pit lane, I couldn’t find the pit limiter! It was smooth sailing though, just learning the car. It’s the first time for us, jumping from one car to another was difficult, but it’s been lovely watching the others drive and learning from them. I think our heart is with the ‘proper’ racing cars now.”
Saturday race winners, DC Racing had to settle for a fourth place finish with their Ligier JSP3 LMP3. James Winslow, again driving solo spent the entire race trying to recover from the warm up lap puncture, suffered further having received a time penalty for taking a short cut to the pit lane after losing a wheel. He was registering the fastest laps during the second part of the race but had lost too much ground on the three cars ahead to mount a challenge for the podium.
PS Racing’s CN class car, the #68 Ligier JS53 driven to a fifth place finish in race three by Neric Wei and Lori Kimura, had been having another strong race behind the LMP3 cars but finished it’s weekend in the pits with electrical and gearbox issues.
In GT Cup, Team NZ won for the second time in two days as Graeme Dowsett and John Curran took the teams #77 Porsche 997 to victory and closed the gap to just six points in the standings to the #28 Team Lotus HK entry of Dominic Ang and Anthony Chan.
The final round of the 2016 Asian Le Mans Sprint Cup will be held, once again at the Sepang International Circuit on September 2nd-4th.
The Champions of each class will receive free entry into the 2016/2017 Asian Le Mans Series, which begins in under a month’s time on the 28th October in Zhuhai, China.
LMP3 Teams Point standings (unofficial): PRT Racing – 67 pts, DC Racing – 57 pts, Nexus Infinity – 45 pts, Team AAI – 19 pts, WINEURASIA – 18 pts, PS Racing – 15 pts