Kovalainen, Kobayashi win three-way thriller


Former System 1 drivers Heikki Kovalainen and Kamui Kobayashi got here out on prime in a three-way, all-Lexus struggle to win the Thailand spherical of Tremendous GT collection.

Tremendous GT 2016 champion Kovalainen vaulted previous the Actual Racing Honda of Takashi Kogure at the beginning of the race after which began chasing down the pole-sitting automobile of Hideki Mutoh.

Though Mutoh had issues underneath management early on, his Mugen Honda began to drop tempo in the direction of the second half of the stint.

Making the most of visitors, Kovalainen went in the direction of the surface of a pair of GT300 automobiles on the exit of the hairpin, permitting him to achieve the within line on the following nook and steal the lead from Mutoh.

In the meantime, Felix Rosenqvist was beginning a cost of his personal from 11th on the grid and shortly joined a pack of 4 automobiles led by Kogure.

Simply as Jann Mardenborough ran huge, Rosenqvist handed Joao Paulo de Oliveira after which Kogure to rise as much as fourth place. He additionally managed to reel in Kenta Yamashita and Mutoh and immediately discovered himself working a number of seconds behind Kovalainen.

The 2 drivers pitted a lap away from one another, and Kobayashi and Rosenqvist’s teammate Kazuya Oshima carried on the identical battle for the lead.

On lap 56, a GT300 automobile was unsighted by Kobayashi, forcing him to take avoiding motion. This made him susceptible to Oshima, however the latter ran huge on the subsequent nook and dropped behind a fast-charging Yuhi Sekiguchi.

Sekiguchi then began hammering down Kobayashi, whereas additionally protecting at bay Oshima, who by no means slipped greater than a few automobile lengths behind.

When Kobayashi ran deep on the hairpin in GT300 visitors, Sekiguchi ran side-by-side along with his countryman, however the former simply managed to carry on to the spot.

The battle between the main trio of automobiles got here to an finish on the very last lap, when Sekiguchi started to decelerate on the pit straight after working out of gasoline.

After limping for a number of corners, Sekiguchi was pressured to park his automobile along side the monitor, permitting Kobayashi to cruise to the end line.

It was Kobayashi’s first Tremendous GT win and the third for Sard Lexus teammate Kovalainen.

Oshima inherited second place after Sekiguchi’s last-lap heartbreak, guaranteeing a primary Tremendous GT podium for his teammate Rosenqvist.

Reigning Tremendous System champion Hiroaki Ishiura’s late cost allowed the Zent/Cerumo automobile he shares with Yuhi Tachikawa to complete fourth, as Lexus not solely bagged its first win of the yr but additionally the highest 4 spots.

Mutoh and Mugen teammate Daisuke Nakajima finally completed fifth as Hondas struggled for tempo, whereas Impul pair Daiki Sasaki and Jann Mardenborough had been Nissan’s prime runners in sixth.

Kogure and Koudai Tsukakoshi managed to steer the Actual Racing Honda to seventh after slipping as little as 10th, ending simply forward of the #1 TOM’S automobile of Nick Cassidy and Ryo Hirakawa.

Bertrand Baguette and Kosuke Matsuura scored their finest end of the season in ninth within the Nakajima Honda, whereas aforementioned Sekiguchi and his #36 TOM’S teammate Kazuki Nakajima had been categorised a lap down in 10th regardless of working out of gasoline.

Erstwhile championship leaders Jenson Button and Naoki Yamamoto endured a troublesome day in Thailand and completed outdoors the factors. Button slipped from fifth to ninth early on and Yamamoto needed to make an additional cease, reportedly resulting from an incorrectly-fitted wheel.

GT300: Nissan scores first win

Katsuyuki Hiranaka and Hironobu Yasuda scored the primary win for Nissan’s 2018 spec GT-R GT3 within the GT300 class.

The #11 Gainer automobile ran within the shadow of the Hitotsuyama Audi and ARTA Honda, however the pitstop cycle catapulted it into the lead of the race.

Nissan managed to leap the Honda within the pits, whereas the race-leading Audi needed to be pulled into the storage with technical issues.

The ARTA Honda later suffered a puncture whereas battling with #31 Toyota of Koki Saga and Kohei Hirate, which went on to complete second.

Ritomo Miyata and Hiroki Yoshimoto accomplished the rostrum spots within the LM Corsa Lexus.