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Leipert Motorsport’s Gersekowski and Schandorff triumph in Suzuka

with Lamborghini Super Trofeo Asia Race 1 win

Leipert Motorsport’s Ben Gersekowski and Frederik Schandorff triumphed in the fifth race of the 2018 Lamborghini Super Trofeo Asia, with the no.2 Huracán Super Trofeo EVO going from seventh on the grid to take victory for the second time this season. Second on the podium and just seven-tenths of a second behind were Pro category rivals Jack Bartholomew and James Pull of FFF Racing, while Clazzio Racing’s Afiq Yazid and Kei Cozzolino worked their way from the back of the grid to take the third and final podium position. 

Kumar Prabakaran and Max Wiser of Aylezo Motorsport stood atop the Pro Am podium, finding success as the pair races together for the first time this weekend.  For Prabakaran, victory today marked his first ever race win in just his third weekend of racing. Second in the Pro Am class were Finland’s Juuso Puhakka and Mikko Eskelinen of Leipert Motorsport, with Gama Racing’s Evan Chen and Akihiro Asai third in the category. 

Having missed last month’s races in Buriram, FPC Racing’s Ken Urata and Daisuke Matsunaga returned to the championship in style, taking the Am class win – their first of the season – ahead of Bobby Suttiluck of True Visions Motorsport. 

With his pole position and win in today’s race, Gabriele Murroni is one point behind Clement Li and Paul Wong of 852 Challengers in the Lamborghini Cup category. Second behind Murroni today was Japan’s Takamichi Matsuda of YH Racing Team. 

FFF Racing Team’s Andrea Amici and Artur Janosz continue to lead the Pro drivers classification, ahead of teammates Bartholomew and Pull. Gersekowski is third in the Pro standings. Chen and Asai lead the Pro Am standings, but are just four points ahead of class rivals Matsumoto and Ochiai, who are, in turn, just one point ahead of Eskelinen and Puhakka. In the Am category Thailand’s Saravut Sereethoranakul leads compatriot Suttiluck. 

Hojust Racing’s Takeshi Matsumoto in the no.38 car started the race from pole position and led the field at the start. Down in seventh, Gersekowski was determined to make up for a poor qualifying session and the Australian made his way up to third by the first corner, before hunting down Bartholomew in second. 

By the end of the opening lap, the fast-catching Gersekowski was just two seconds behind Matsumoto, who races in the Pro Am category with Toshiyuki Ochiai. He halved Matsumoto’s lead by the end of the second lap and would continue to pile on the pressure for the remainder of his stint. 

Behind the leaders, Yazid had made his way up to ninth by the end of the opening lap. Having started from the back of the grid following a technical infringement, the 2017 Lamborghini Super Trofeo Asia Pro champion had his work cut out for him. 

In the Am category, Urata led Suttiluck, while in the Lamborghini Cup, Wong was ahead of Murroni, who dropped a place after making a small error at the start. Murroni battled with his title rival, getting by on Lap 7. 
 
After an incident left Wong stranded in the gravel, the Safety Car was called out on Lap 9, with the pit window opening soon after. Gersekowski was one of several drivers who immediately came into the pits, handing over to Schandorff. Schandorff races with Leipert Motorsport in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe, and the young Dane was drafted in to make his Asian debut in Suzuka just a few days ago. As the Pro driver in the Pro-Am pairing, Matsumoto stayed out on track a little longer, before handing over to Ochiai. 

Once racing had resumed and the pit window had closed, it was Schandorff who was in the lead, ahead of Pull and Janosz. Cozzolino, who had taken over from Yazid, quickly moved into fourth position, while Wiser soon worked his way up to fifth. Matsunaga, who had taken over from Urata in the no. 55 Huracán Super Trofeo EVO, continued to lead the Am category, while Murroni had built a gap to Matsuda.

On Lap 15, the Safety Car was called out a second time after Ochiai encountered a mechanical issue and was forced to retire early. Racing resumed for one final lap, with Schandorff holding the lead to take the chequered flag from Pull and Janosz. Janosz and Amici were later given a 30-second penalty for an unsafe release, handing Yazid and Cozzolino the final podium position. 

As the championship title fights heat up, tomorrow’s second 50-minute race is expected to be another nail-biting affair. The sixth race of the 2018 season begins at 13:10 local time (04:10 GMT) and will be streamed live on the Lamborghini Squadra Corse website and Facebook page. 

Driver quotes:

Ben Gersekowski #2 Leipert Motorsport, Pro Winner, Round 3, Race 1
“I was really disappointed with myself qualifying seventh, so I was really pumped to go. I was fortunate enough to get a really good start which put me into third place by Turn 1, and then from then on I had a good exit through the esses and I was able to pass second place and hang behind first for most of the race. Toward the end of my stint, the Safety Car came out so it was a little bit touch and go to see if it would work out with our strategy, but luckily it worked for us and we were able to pit under Safety Car. Frederik had really good pace and he was brought it home for us. I was going to be happy if we got close to the podium, but I never imagined getting first place.”

Frederik Schandorff #2 Leipert Motorsport, Pro Winner, Round 3, Race 1
“Ben was doing an amazing job driving from seventh to P2 and I just had to drive a little bit faster than the car in front of us. The car was working really well and the team did a really, really good job. A week ago, I didn’t know I had to be here so it’s amazing to drive [today]. We drove in Italy last week and I arrived in Copenhagen and then I flew from Copenhagen here. This is my first time racing in Asia and also my first time racing with jet-lag.” 

Kumar Prabakaran #98 Aylezo Motorsport – Pro-Am Winner Round 3, Race 1
“This is [my] first experience on the podium and I must congratulate the team. We put up this team together in a very short period of time. It’s my first time in Suzuka and it’s an amazing track, every corner is so challenging and the conditions here are another thing. Throughout practice on Thursday and Friday we managed to have a lot of discussions to see how we can improve. I did my best to start and keep pace and then I passed the car to Max, who did a fantastic job to get us the win.”

Max Wiser #98 Aylezo Motorsport – Pro-Am Winner Round 3, Race 1
“It’s been a long time without Super Trofeo so I missed the championship a lot – it’s like a family, the atmosphere is so nice. The car is very good to drive; we had a good feeling from the beginning. We took pole position in Qualifying 2 and we were lucky in the race because the Safety Car was deployed just before the driver change, so we had the chance to close the gap with the first couple of cars and then we end up winning the race. I tried my best as usual, but I’m also happy because Kumar is making big improvements session after session – this is his first racing season and the third race [weekend] in his life and on this tough race track, he’s doing really well. We start [from pole] tomorrow and I try my best to give him the car in P1 and we’ll see what will happen.”

Ken Urata #55 FPC Racing – Am Winner Round 3, Race 1
“I had a good start, when I went into the first corner, I overtook some cars and during the race, I had a good stint and kept my head down.  I’m very happy – up until now, we haven’t had good news, but this weekend, finally [we do].”

Gabriele Murroni #88 GDL Racing Team – Lamborghini Cup Winner Round 3, Race 1
“I was slowed down for a big chunk of the race. My race was against #44 and I passed them before they unfortunately went out. I lost a position at the start – I made a wrong move – but I’ve had the pace all weekend. “

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