Typhoon hit Autopolis GT Asia event damp squib for Craft Eurasia
Date posted on October 5, 2012 · Published by Mark Goddard
Practice for rounds 9 and 10 of the GT Asia Series at the challenging Autopolis Circuit in Japan had looked good the Craft Eurasia drivers, Frank Yu and Samson Chan, in their Ford GT3 cars. Both were right on the pace in the perfect sunny and dry conditions. However the event was hit by typhoon rains which saw Samson Chan aqua-plane off into the wall in round 9, damaging his car sufficiently to end his weekend, whilst his team mate was punted into the gravel and out of the race by the championship leader. Yu finished 7th from the back of the grid in round 10.
Testing had seen the two Fords beaten only by professional driver Marchy Lee and local driver Hisao Shigeta. Both drivers were confident, reveling the handling of the Ford GT3 on a track where good grip is essential. However the weather turned worse and the organizer decided they would scrap qualifying and use the slot on Saturday to hold round 9 with the second race later in the afternoon. The grid for round would be determined from the fastest laps of practice. Whilst conditions on Saturday were terrible at least two races were held, any chance of racing on Sunday morning were spoilt by thick fog.
At the start of race one both Ford’s initially fell back in the wet conditions, but Frank Yu was soon on the move and into third place. After the pit stops he emerged in third just ahead of Championship leader, Li Zhi Cong, who then came from far too far back at the fast downhill turn 11 and spun the Ford into the gravel with an ill-judged for which he later apologized. The safety car was deployed which was fortuitous as the rain had become torrential with cars aquaplaning off the track. Samson Chan spun at over 200kph on the straight after turn two and hit the wall at high speed terminally damaging his car. The race ended under the safety car.
Round 10 was also wet but the rain had abated enough to make the track drivable. Frank Yu was soon up to 8th place which became 7th after the pit stop cycle. The next and final round of the Series is at Macau on November 18th.