Lexus RC F teams im­press in 2016 AUTOBACS SU­PER GT series

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

The Lexus camp lit up with cel­e­bra­tions at the Round 3 of the 2016 AUTOBACS SU­PER GT 250km race held at the Motegi Twin Ring in Tochigi Pre­fec­ture, Ja­pan. The race was orig­i­nally sched­uled to be run at Au­topo­lis cir­cuit in May. How­ever, due to the aftermath of the Ku­mamoto earth­quakes in April this year, the lo­ca­tion and date were changed. The reschedul­ing saw the Round 3 qual­i­fier and race both held on the same day - a first in the his­tory of SU­PER GT.

The rea­sons to cheer were plenty in the GT500 class of the race as the Lexus line-up of driv­ers dis­played an ex­hil­a­rat­ing per­for­mance, se­cur­ing po­si­tions from the sixth all the way up to the run­ners-up spot.

Al­most clinch­ing the top spot was the No. 39 DENSO KOBELCO SARD Lexus RC F driven by Heikki Ko­valainen and Ko­hei Hi­rate, fol­lowed by Daisuke Ito and Nick Cassidy who gave their No. 36 au TOM’s Lexus RC F just the right amount of push for a podium fin­ish in the third place.

No. 6 WAKO’S 4CR Lexus RC F and No. 19 Weds Sport ADVAN Lexus RC F claimed the fourth and fifth po­si­tion, with ZENT CERUMO Lexus RC F clos­ing the pro­ceed­ings for Lexus with a sixth place fin­ish in the ex­cit­ing race.

It was a dis­play of dom­i­nat­ing per­for­mance from the Lexus line-up right from the get-go. The No. 39 DENSO KOBELCO SARD Lexus RC F ac­cel­er­ated into the lead at the start of the race, with the No. 36 au TOM’s Lexus RC F fol­low­ing its tail in the sec­ond po­si­tion, just ahead of the com­peti­tor No. 24.

Spurring a heated battle in the open­ing laps, an ex­cit­ing four-way con­test un­folded in lap 8 of the race with ti­tle con­tenders No. 6 WAKO’S 4CR Lexus RC F, No. 19 Weds Sport ADVAN Lexus RC F, and com­peti­tor cars No. 12 and No. 100 com­pet­ing fiercely but un­able to break into the lead main­tained by the two Lexus teams. The battle con­tin­ued with lit­tle change in po­si­tions till the 19th lap sum­moned a pit stop for most teams.

Lead­ing the race at this point, No. 39 DENSO KOBELCO SARD Lexus RC F headed for the pit stop in the 21st lap where Ko­hei Hi­rate handed the wheel to Heikki Ko­valainen. Once it was back on the track, it re­al­ized that a swifter pit work from au TOM’s Lexus team had edged the No. 36 car ahead in the pack, now en­joy­ing an ad­van­ta­geous lead in the race. No. 36 au TOM’s Lexus RC F and No. 39 DENSO KOBELCO SARD Lexus RC F fought tooth and nail for the sec­ond spot, with Heikki Ko­valainen com­ing within close dis­tance of inch­ing past Nick Cassidy who was hold­ing the lead. Af­ter sev­eral at­tempts, Heikki Ko­valainen was fi­nally suc­cess­ful in lap 39 and now looked to over­take the com­peti­tor car No. 24 in a bid for the win­ner’s ti­tle. While he man­aged to pull up on the leader’s tail in the fi­nal lap, No. 24 held off the charge till the fi­nal mo­ments of the race and went past the check­ered flag. No. 39 DENSO KOBELCO SARD Lexus RC F closed in with an in­spir­ing sec­ond place fin­ish, pro­pel­ling the driver pair Heikki Ko­valainen and Ko­hei Hi­rateto the top of the sea­son driv­ers rank­ing with 61 points. No. 36 au TOM’s Lexus RC F cel­e­brated a third spot to round up spec­tac­u­lar twin podium fin­ish for the Lexus camp. Takayuki Yoshit­sugu, Chief Rep­re­sen­ta­tive, Mid­dle East and North Africa Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Of­fice, Toy­ota Mo­tor Cor­po­ra­tion, said: “Round three of the cham­pi­onship wit­nessed a dom­i­neer­ing per­for­mance from the Lexus RC F teams. It is a mo­ment of tremen­dous pride and hap­pi­ness to see two podium fin­ishes, and wit­ness an out­stand­ing per­for­mance from the other teams who fought fiercely to earn their spots.”

Yoshit­sugu added: “The in­sights from per­for­mances on the race track and the feed­back from our rac­ers are cru­cial in our ef­forts to­wards build­ing ‘ever-bet­ter’ cars. Par­tic­i­pat­ing in mo­tor­sports and strength­en­ing our per­for­mance in com­pet­i­tive events fur­ther en­hance skill devel­op­ment in our hu­man re­sources. The sup­port of rac­ers and fans is in­stru­men­tal in driv­ing us to greater heights of suc­cess. We thank each one for their sup­port and con­grat­u­late the rac­ers and our fans through­out the world.”

NEW­PORT: In this Mon­day, Oct. 4, 2010 file photo, Europe’s Peter Han­son, left, and as­sis­tant cap­tain Thomas Bjorn hold the tro­phy af­ter Europe won the 2010 Ry­der Cup golf tour­na­ment at the Celtic Manor Re­sort in New­port, Wales. Bjorn is the first Scan­di­na­vian to be ap­pointed cap­tain of Europe’s Ry­der Cup team. —AP

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