Tomonobu Fujii finishes 5th in Macau GT Cup

Date posted on November 23, 2011 · Published by Mark Goddard

In the most dramatic Macau GT Cup race seen in recent history Japanese driver, Tomonobu Fujii, brought his Craft Eurasia Aston Martin DBRS9 home in 5th place, a good result for the Macau novice. Team mates, Frank Yu and Samson Chan, both suffered damaged Ford GT3 cars in an incident filled event which featured a race stopping multi-car accident at the infamous Mandarin Bend.

Two short twenty minute qualifying sessions resulted in finding a clear lap almost impossible. Those drivers lucky enough to be allocated positions at the end of the pit lane were able to join the circuit at the front of the queue after the inevitable session stopping red flags. Unsurprisingly seven of the top ten came from that end of the pit lane. Craft Eurasia was at the wrong end and suffered accordingly. In Qualifying One Fujii spun his Aston at Fishermans bend on his first flying lap, removing the rear wing and damaging the exhaust. His one timed lap, which included his spin, was still good enough for 14th in the 33 car field. Frank Yu was 8th overall, 2nd in the GT Asia Class with Samson Chan 11th overall. Both Ford GT drivers complained of a lack of a clear lap.

Frank Yu recorded a time good for 5th overall, first in GT Asia, in qualifying two but it was removed due to crossing the line just a second after the red light came on to stop the session. Ironically the light was for team mate, Samson Chan, who had slammed into the barrier on the approach to Dona Maria corner. Samson’s data logging showed he was also on a lap good for 5th place when he crashed due to running slightly offline in the kink before the turn. Once the mess was cleared up neither Frank Yu nor Tomonobu Fujii could find a clear lap and they ended the session in 9th and 7th places respectively. Samson would be unable to race due to severe damage to the car.

The race start was clean and Edoardo Mortara swept into a lead he would hold to the flag. He was followed by Pro Drivers Keita Sawa, Danny Watts and Rodolfo Avila. Mok Weng Sun was in 5th and leading the GT Asia Class from the Audi of Tsukuki and Fujii in the Aston Martin. Frank Yu was in hot pursuit doing a good job to keep up with the Japanese drivers. It all went wrong on lap three when an oil cooler pipe came adrift on Tsukuki’s Audi just before the high speed Mandarin Bend and sprayed copious amounts of oil on the racing line. A closely following Fujii saw flames coming from the back of the Audi and jinked past the slowing car. Frank Yu attempted to slow as much as he could, aware braking on the oil would mean disaster, and it looked like he had made it before he lost the back end on the exit and gracefully spun across the track and slammed into the barrier. “I saw 268kph before Mandarin so it was high speed spin that seemed to go on forever” reported Yu.

Eddie Yau was next up and he slammed into the barrier ending up in the middle of the track. A Ferrari then slammed into the stricken Yau Porsche which destroyed both cars. A couple more cars were involved resulting in a blocked track and a red flag.

It took over an hour to clean up the mess and put down enough cement dust to soak up the oil. A seven lap re-start saw Fujii chase down a 5th placed Mok, taking the place on lap six.

“The Fords were handling really well and with luck Frank and Samson should have been racing for the GT Asia lead” reported Craft Eurasia’s Mark Goddard. “Fujii had the speed we think to finish on the podium, it was his first visit to Macau and he was the first Macau rookie home. If he had not crashed in Qualifying One it may have been a different story. We are already looking forward to next year!”