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What an amaz­ing event at the Hong Kong stop of the 2017 Asian On­road Cham­pi­onships (AOC) held at TRC Race­way. In the pre­mier Mod­i­fied class, it was a show­down be­tween In­fin­ity team­mates and coun­try­men Akio Sobue and Naoto Mat­sukura, who went blow for blow to the fi­nal lap of the last main. Sobue had the ad­van­tage and worked it to his fa­vor, draw­ing first blood by tak­ing the first main from the TQ spot on the grid, with XRAY’S Alexan­der Hag­berg in sec­ond. Mat­sukura was forced to take 10th due to a me­chan­i­cal prob­lem be­fore fin­ish­ing the first lap, af­ter he rolled his car run­ning the curbs near the fin­ish line. But with a bat­tle un­fold­ing through­out the hair-rais­ing five min­utes and time tick­ing off in the sec­ond main, things turned on Sobue who fell vic­tim to a bro­ken rear belt on his IF14 and thus handed Mat­sukura the much-needed win to force a show­down in A3. And that’s just what hap­pened, with the duo sep­a­rat­ing them­selves from the rest of the field and rac­ing nose to tail for the en­tire third main. Sobue had his own plans, though, and never re­ally wa­vered, hold­ing his lines and stay­ing smooth enough to keep Mat­sukura from mak­ing a se­ri­ous at­tempt for the pass. It would be Sobue’s vic­tory, with Mat­sukura in sec­ond and Hag­berg left to take the fi­nal spot on the podium.

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