Eurasia Motorsport and Jackie Chan DC Racing claimed victory this afternoon (January 8, 2017) in the 4H of Buriram in Thailand, the third round of the 2016/17 Asian Le Mans Series. The result marked their second win of the season and in doing so, extends their championship advantage with just one round remaining.
It proved to be a closely fought contest initially against the main LMP2 rivals but as the race unfolded it was the trio in the #35 Oreca 03R Nissan that gained ground, eventually taking the chequered flag 82 seconds clear of the field.
“It is a great win for us again,” stated Team Principal Mark Goddard. “We had a good strategy and fantastic pitstops and this allowed to take an eventual easy win. All three drivers did a great job and we now pack up and start getting ready for the final round of the championship in Malaysia.”
Having claimed pole position on Saturday at Chang International Circuit, Ho-Pin Tung surged away from the start, building a ten second lead in just the first 15 minutes of racing only for the safety car to be deployed and reducing that gap back down to a car-length.
Once underway again, he was able to re-establish a solid 20 second advantage ahead of his first scheduled stop on lap 33. Thomas Laurent took over for the second run, extending the lead over the #25 Algarve Pro to just over half a minute before Gustavo Menezes took to the wheel.
With just over the hour remaining Menezes paced himself to the chasing pack behind, maintaining and managing the gap until on lap 110 when a drive through penalty was issued for overtaking under yellow flags.
Menezes took the penalty immediately, exiting the pits just four seconds clear of the chasing #25 Ligier. With the pressure really on, Menezes picked up the pace and with a string of personal best laps, managed to pull out a small advantage of 10 seconds. However, with just 40 minutes remaining, the chasing #25 car was called to the pit lane to serve a ten second stop-go penalty for exceeding track limits and this sealed a comfortable victory for Eurasia Motorsport and Jackie Chan DC Racing.
In the sister DC entry, Hiroki Yoshida started the race in the #1 Ligier LMP3 but lost ground at the start after being hit by rival, dropping down to the tail of the field. Yoshida recovered well in the first stint, pitting under the early safety car and then moving his way back up the order.
James Winslow took the middle portion of the race, running sixth in class before handing over to David Cheng. The latter however was forced to pit with less an hour remaining with an electrical issue, but was able to finish the race in sixth position.
The final round of the championship takes place at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia, January 20 – 22.