AS THE ASTON MARTIN ASIA CUP VISITS MALAYSIA
It was a double victory for Japan’s Team Reckless driver, Kota Sasaki as the Aston Martin Asia Cup visited Sepang, Malaysia for its third and fourth rounds. Supporting the Japanese Super GT event and in front of a packed house, the Aston Martin Asia Cup welcomed new drivers Dean Grant (Australia), Eric Yeo (Malaysia), Stewart Seatter (Scotland), Adrian De Silva (Malaysia) and Ryan Marsden (Great Britain).
In hot and humid conditions, Sasaki and double winner from the opening rounds, Dilantha Malagamuwa battled for pole position with the honour going to Sasaki with a late flying lap. Australians Mark Eddy and Dean Grant took third and fourth respectively whilst newcomer Eric Yeo, substituting for Tunku Hammam, took fifth.
Position Driver Country Time1 Kota Sasaki Japan 2.18.8212 Dilantha Malagamuwa Sri Lanka 2.19.1893 Mark Eddy Australia 2.20.0724 Dean Grant Australia 2.20.2885 Eric Yeo Malaysia 2.21.3416 Marc Cini Australia 2.21.866
Sweltering heat welcomed the drivers onto the grid for the first race of the weekend which saw Sasaki take a lights to flag victory in a strong display. Sasaki was pushed in the early stages by Malagamuwa who secured second despite a quick off track excursion at turn 6 which allowed Sasaki to open up a healthy gap.
The final step of the podium was taken by Mark Eddy, echoing his results from the opening rounds last month. Eddy had led a storming pack of chasing cars including AMAC newcomer and fellow Australian Dean Grant, Eric Yeo, Marc Cini and Stewart Seatter. Kuo Tong Hsieh of Taiwan was making great progress despite lacking track time compared to his rivals after flight delays say him arrive later at Sepang than planned with George Ong putting in an equally spirited drive.
Race One Result:
Position Driver Country Best Lap1 Kota Sasaki Japan 2.19.8162 Dilantha Malagamuwa Sri Lanka 2.19.9123 Mark Eddy Australia 2.20.8924 Dean Grant Australia 2.21.4565 Eric Yeo Malaysia 2.21.1606 Stewart Seatter Scotland 2.22.286
As the cars prepared for race two a quick rain shower prompted everyone to stand by with rain tyres but with high track temperatures quickly evaporating the water the majority choose to stick with slicks bar those with local knowledge, George Ong and Adrian De Silva who went with the Michelin wets. The local boys were proven right as more rain feel as the race set off.
Sasaki made a clean start from the front of the grid with Malagamuwa, Eddy and Grant in hot pursuit. The slippery surface caught Malagamuwa out, a spin putting pay to his podium hopes. Thankfully the pack avoided the stationary Malagamuwa who was able to rejoin.
With the rain becoming intermittent and the track drying quickly, the advantage swung back to the slick Michelin tyres with De Silva opting to pit to change whilst Ong battled on with deteriorating wets.
Sasaki took a second, well deserved win whilst it was an all Australian battle for second and third places with Grant taking the runners up slot and Eddy once again taking a strong third place.
Newcomers Eric Yeo, enjoying a home race, and Stewart Seatter of Scotland took solid finishes in fourth and fifth respectively.
With Malagamuwa finishing in sixth he sees his lead at the top of the Championship cut substantially with the rapid Sasaki having thrown down the gauntlet.
Race Two Result:
Position Driver Country Time1 Kota Sasaki Japan 2.19.5672 Dean Grant Australia 2.20.9553 Mark Eddy Australia 2.21.1484 Eric Yeo Malaysia 2.20.8595 Stewart Seatter Scotland 2.21.4976 Dilantha Malagamuwa Sri Lanka 2.19.974
The fifth and sixth rounds of the Aston Martin Asia Cup will take place on 11-13 July 2008, once more at Sepang, Malaysia but this time on the short North track configuration.