Twin triumph for Lexus RC F in Round 7 of 2016 Autobacs Super GT series
The WedsSportADVAN Lexus RC F driven by Yuhi Sekiguchi and Yuji Kunimo emerged victorious in the GT500 race class after leading from start to finish in the seventh round of the 2016 AUTOBACS SUPER GT series, which took place recently at the Chang International Circuit in Thailand. Lexus RC F earned a second podium finish in the much-anticipated race of the season with the Wako’s 4CR Lexus RC F team comprising Kazuya Oshima and Andrea Caldarelli securing third place.
Starting the race from pole position, WedsSportADVAN Lexus RC F put on a stupendous performance under bright and clear weather conditions to hold its lead all the way to the finish line, running virtually unchallenged to provide the team withits first victory in the GT500 class. For the Lexus RC F it was the second win of the season and second in a row following its victory in the last round at the Suzuka Circuit in Japan. According to Takayuki Yoshitsugu, Chief Representative, Middle East and North Africa Representative Office, Toyota Motor Corporation, “It has been a memorable seventh round of the championship for Lexus RC F teams, with the twin podium finish once again demonstrating the extraordinary performance and reliability of our vehicles. Both the Lexus winning teams performed splendidly throughout the race, and for WedsSportADVAN Lexus RC F to have finished at the top of the pack without once dropping their lead is a remarkable feat given the strong field.”
“This triumph adds to our proven record in motorsports and we emphasize on using the experience gained on the race track to build ‘ever-better cars’. We deeply appreciate the support we have received from fans, and we look forward to enjoying their continued backing through the rest of the season,”Yoshitsugu added.
The keenly-anticipated race got off to an exhilarating start as the polestarting No. 19 Lexus RC F, with Yuhi Sekiguchiin the driver’s seat, led the pack into the first corner. The speed of the No. 19 Lexus RC F was evident as Sekiguchi pulled away from the rest of the field rapidly, repeatedly clocking quick lap timings and extending his lead to nearly four seconds within four laps. The teams began to make their pit stops around lap 28. With preparations underway for the No. 19 Lexus RC F to come in for a pit stop in a couple of laps, the left rear tire of car burst when completing lap 32 however Sekiguchi was able to control his Lexus RC F and get it into the pit without any serious damage to the car and the team was able to change the tires and get the car back in the race still in the lead with Yuji Kunimoto in the driver’s seat. Although the second-place competitor car No.15was closing in fast, Kunimoto made sure a sufficient margin was maintained to lead his team to a comfortable victory.
Meanwhile, the competitor car No. 12 that had been running in 2nd place was called in for a drive-through penalty on the 49th lap for violating pit-work rules during its pit stop, allowing the competitor car No. 15 to reclaim 2nd position, while the No. 6 WAKO’S 4CR Lexus RC F moved into 3rd position. The three lead positions of car No. 19, car No. 15 and car No. 6 respectively remained unchanged until the end of the race.
The triumph at the state-of-the-art Chang International Circuit marked the long-awaited first win in the GT500 class for WedsSportADVAN driver Yuhi Sekiguchi. For co-driver Yuji Kunimoto, too, it was his first win since the final round of the 2013 season and the second of his GT500 career.
With two podium finishes in the seventh round, Lexus RC F claimed four out of the top five positions in the overall series rankings. The No. 6 WAKO’S 4CR Lexus RC F moved into second positionwith 46 points followed by the No. 38 ZENT CERUMO Lexus RC F, No. 39 DENSO KOBELCO SARD Lexus RC F and winners of the seventh round, the No. 19 WedsSport ADVAN Lexus RC F.
Proceedings now move to the Motegi Gt Grand Final, Round 8 of the 2016 Autobacs Super GT series which will be held from Nov 11-13, 2016 at Twin Ring Motegi in Japan.