Craft Eurasia AMR finish fifth in drama filled Sepang MME 12 Hours
Date posted on September 4, 2012 · Published by Mark Goddard
The team’s new Aston Martin Vantage GT3 ran faultlessly during the race but for an hour lost to repair the car after it was assaulted by another competitor. The accident happened in the third hour and the team fought its way back to fifth place, Tomonobu Fujii posting the fastest lap of the race in the process.
Practice times had seen the car quickest and the team was hopeful of gaining fastest time in qualifying. However a gearbox malfunction intervened and saw the car line up in fourth place for the 12 noon start in blazingly hot conditions. Fujii started and whilst the lead Ferrari sprinted away he was happy to sit on the tail of the two Mercedes cars. The latter had an all-pro driver line-up whilst for this race the team was running only one professional driver therefore outright victory could only be obtained if the Mercedes hit problems.
Fujii handed over to Alain Li for the second stint and he drove well to keep the pro-driver in the now fourth placed LKM Porsche in sight. Frank Yu took over for the third stint and did well to catch and pass the LKM Racing Porsche, now driven by their sole amateur. However in what seemed like a moment of brain fade the driver of the Porsche braked far too late for turn one, slid over the apex grass and harpooned the Aston Martin ‘wheel to wheel’. The impact broke the front suspension sub-frame on the car whilst the Porsche survived to continue.
The car was pushed back into the garage and the team did a fantastic job to replace the front sub-frame in 65 minutes. “Amazing” was the opinion of the AMR representative, it’s a job that normally requires a whole day and requires the engine to be removed. To applause from the team’s supporters the car rejoined the race with Fujii at the wheel. All three drivers then ran faultlessly to the flag, finally taking fifth place with a few minutes to go with Fujii behind the wheel.
“The two Mercedes finished one-two and ironically the Porsche which inflicted the damage on us was third. Fastest lap demonstrated the car has the speed to win and the fact that, accident apart, the car ran faultlessly gives us great confidence for the future” reported Team Principal Mark Goddard. “Fujii demonstrated he is one of the fastest drivers in GT racing and Frank and Alain both demonstrated they are amongst the best amateur drivers in the region. Frank was obviously disappointed after the accident but he was a completely innocent victim and the other driver came to apologize later.”