Date posted on September 1, 2014 · Published by Mark Goddard
In a drama filled race the Eurasia Oreca Nissan LMP2 swapped the lead with Oak Racing several times before a pit speeding penalty prevented the team from taking a win. Richard Bradley recorded the fastest lap of the race a full 1.1 seconds quicker than that of the OAK. Pole position and fastest lap proved Eurasia, Oreca and Nissan will be a winning combination.
The race did not start well as the car failed to start on the grid and Bradley was pushed into the pit lane where the Asian Le Mans rules dictate the car cannot join the race until the last car has completed a full racing lap. He was then held for a further 30 seconds putting the car a full lap and a half down. To add insult to injury he was given a drive through penalty for receiving outside assistance which put the car two laps down. Bradley then drove brilliantly in his chase of the leading Oak which had Keiko Ihara behind the wheel. The latter spun and clipped the wall resulting in an unscheduled pit stop. After the scheduled stops had cycled through Eurasia was two laps up with Pu Jun Jin hehind the wheel whilst David Cheng was now in the Oak with new tyres fitted. Despite Pu Jun Jin being on Bradley’s tyres he was able to match or better Cheng’s times as the two circulated together, albeit the latter a lap down. Two laps from pitting Cheng finally got by to put the Oak one lap down, albeit almost double that in reality. Pu Jun Jin handed over to John Hartshorne whilst Ho Pin Tung was now in the Oak.
It was shaping up to be a nail biting finish (with Bradley due to take over for a final stint) when Hartshorne was given a 40 second stop go penalty for speeding in the pit lane. The speed limiter had been knocked off during the driver change causing the offence. Hartshorne bettered his best practice lap time by over three seconds and without the penalty it would have been a close run race.
Bradley took over for the final 35 minutes and was just over a lap down at the finish after putting in a stunning stint in which every lap bar one (traffic) was quicker than Oak’s best lap time. “The car just brilliant, the team had done a great job over the week to develop the set up and give me car which could produce those times consistently” reported Bradley after the race.
“We leave Fuji with a lot of positives” remarked Team Principal Mark Goddard. “We know we have a quick car which bodes well for the future. Pu Jun Jin was fantastic, very consistent and the quickest bronze driver despite this being only the second time he has driven an LMP2. He will get quicker with every race which should concern our competitors! John Hartshorne improved a lot from the first event at Inje which was pleasing.”
Next round is at Shanghai on October 11th.