> Brief rain shower prevents faster times
> Chong puts HubAuto on top of GT4
> Result: FP3
Maxi Buhk set the fastest time of Blancpain GT Series Asia’s weekend thus far during final practice at Fuji Speedway early this morning despite more wet weather arriving just prior to the 30-minute session. Elsewhere, Ringo Chong also recorded a new GT4 benchmark aboard his HubAuto Porsche.
A dry morning gave way to a brief rain shower just before the session began, which prevented drivers from immediately improving on the fastest times set in yesterday afternoon’s drying conditions.
Alex Yoong was the first to make a significant impact courtesy of his 1m41.552s, which was more than a second under Alessio Picariello’s FP2 benchmark. The Malaysian’s Audi R8 LMS Cup entry thus led at the halfway mark before Buhk circulated 0.466s faster with 10 minutes remaining. The GruppeM Racing Mercedes-AMG’s time would remain unbeaten thereafter.
Indeed, a further light sprinkling of rain in the closing stages prevented any further improvements, leaving Devon Modell and Nick Foster’s Craft-Bamboo Racing Porsche and the Spirit of Race Ferrari driven by Rino Mastronardi and Rui Aguas to complete a top-four featuring as many different manufactures.
Seiji Ara’s D’station Racing Porsche was first of the Japanese race-by-race entries in fifth ahead of the KCMG by Champion Racing Audi driven by Martin Rump who clung on to sixth despite setting his fastest time earlier in the session. Max Wiser and yesterday’s pace-setter Alessio Picariello completed a very competitive top-eight which, Buhk’s time aside, was covered by less than three tenths.
Local drivers and Am Cup points leaders Takuya Shirasaka and Naoto Takeda once again topped the class times in 18th overall. The KCMG pair’s 1m43.372s was just 1.5s faster than FFF Racing Team’s #2 Lamborghini.
Meanwhile, a flurry of faster times during the final 10 minutes helped shake up the GT4 order. HubAuto’s Ringo Chong ultimately emerged on top with his 1m52.765s, which was 0.385s faster than Frank Yu’s Craft-Bamboo Racing Porsche and another three tenths clear of championship leader Eric Lo.
Qualifying takes place at 11:35 ahead of the weekend’s first hour-long race at 15:35.