Eurasia take class victory as Asian Le Mans Series gets underway in Zhuhai
Date posted on October 29, 2017 · Published by eurasiapr
It proved to be the prefect start for Eurasia Motorsport in the 2017/18 Asian Le Mans Series as Alex Au and Keiko Ihara piloted the #33 Ligier JSP2 to the Bronze class victory, fourth position overall, this afternoon (29 October) in the first race of the season held at Zhuhai International Circuit.
The Bronze-pairing enjoyed a good run in qualifying to start sixth overall, while the four-hour race saw them battling hard with main rival Algarve Pro Racing in the #25 Ligier for the class victory.
Ihara was charged with the first stint and as the race got underway, was soon making progress, passing one car on the opening lap only for the #4 Bratislava to run off track leaving Ihara in fourth position. There was a further gain as the #7 Jackie Chan DC Racing car suffered a mechanical issue meaning that Ihara concluded her first stint in an impressive third position overall.
The first stop however came under a full course yellow, and the timing of this cost Eurasia Motorsport some 20 seconds over its main rival. While this put pressure on the team, ultimately it did not alter the outcome of the event. The race continued on and at the second stop the team opted for a tyre and driver change with Au taking over for the third stint.
This placed Au 13-seconds behind the class-leading #25 which had yet to take tyres, but this position was reversed at the third stop with Au on track with a comfortable margin. The final pitstop saw Ihara back behind the wheel and despite a late attack from the #25, she managed the gap to bring home a fantastic Bronze victory at the first time of asking.
“It’s been a very successful event for us,” declared Team Principal Mark Goddard. “Our aim was always a top five position overall, but also to ensure that Keiko and Alex won the Bronze class. We had some pressure at the end, but Keiko did a great job to absorb the pressure and then with about ten laps left, she put in a few quick laps and that saw Dean (Koutsoumidis) then back off and settle for second.
“We’re happy with the win and P4 overall and now we look ahead to the next round at Fuji Speedway.”