Fastest in all three practice sessions, pole positions for both races, and now a second win of the season; Sunako Jukuchou and Takayuki Kinoshita’s dominance continued in Fuji’s opening race today where their BMW Team Studie M4 claimed a comfortable GT4 class victory.
Problems for their main rivals undoubtedly helped, but there was no denying the pair were worthy winners after leading from start to finish. The team’s only downside came in the form of its second entry, which was running second when it served a penalty for jumping the start.
That opened the door for Ringo Chong and Gilles Vannelet to charge through from last to second after their Mercedes-AMG failed its post-qualifying ride height test. Chong’s ability to preserve the car’s tyres over the opening stint offered his French co-driver an opportunity to mount a fantastic recovery that culminated in passing Brian Lee and Tony Fong’s TTR Team SARD Porsche in the closing stages.
The team’s Cayman still finished third – its best result of the season – ahead of Keo Chang and George Chou, as well as Studie’s penalised BMW shared by Ken Urata and Max Chen, but an early puncture limited championship leader Reinhold Renger to sixth.
Takayuki Kinoshita, driver of the #81 BMW Team Studie BMW M4 GT4 had this to say following the race, “Thanks to the efforts of my team-mate we were able to qualify at the front.
And as Jukuchou also started the race very quickly, well, I would have to say everything fell into place perfectly. We’ve done very well all weekend so far in practice and qualifying, and of course now in the race as well. Today was brilliant, and so now we need to concentrate on tomorrow.”