New Sepang Track Surprises Ralph Firman
 

Winner of the Malaysian round last year, Ralph Firman came to Sepang Circuit today to the shock of his life when being told that Sepang had laid a new track and that it was going to be used for the first time this weekend for the 2007 Super GT International Series Malaysia.

"I only knew about it when Richard (Lyons) told me just now," the Honda NSX driver said at the pre-event press conference where he was flanked by fellow Super GT drivers Lyons and Andre Couto; and Malaysian Jazeman Jaafar of the Formula BMW Asia Series and Armand Ebrahim of the Formula V6 Asia Series.

"Honda build a new engine over winter and we had comprehensive winter testing here in Sepang," adding that the team would now need to start from scratch to prepare for this weekend's race, which would be Round 4 of the 2007 Super GT International Series.

The former F1Jordan driver said his 2007 season so far with Daisuke Ito and the Autobacs Racing Team Aguri had been mixed; scoring a win in the second round with a total haul of 30 points to stay third overall.

After three rounds and fierce battles in Suzuka, Okayama and Fuji Speedway this season - the partnership of Lyons and Satoshi Motoyama of Xanavi Nismo leads the GT500 class with 36 points - four points ahead of Michael Krumm and Tsugio Matsuda, who are also on a Nissan Fairlady Z.

Overall champion Juichi Wakisaka and Andre Lotterer and their Toyota Lexus SC430 has so far been unimpressive - lagging seventh overall with 14 points and faces a mountainous task in retaining their crown this season.

The GT300 class is led by the Japanese pair of Kazuya Oshima and Hiroaki Ishiura, who had collected 48 points with their Toyota MR-S; opening a four-point advantage over closest rival Kazuhi Takahashi and Hiroki Katoh of the Cars Tokai Dream28 Racing Team.

Despite leading the championship, Lyons said there was no additional pressure for him and the team to perform in Sepang.

Second last year in Sepang, the Xanavi Nismo driver said another second place this year would be fine; adding that he had set a modest target of finishing within the top six bracket.

Couto said regardless of rain and shine; wet or dry, he expected a stiff battle and exciting battle this weekend and an entertaining one for the fans.

"We know it's going to be a hard race, but the team is doing a good job and we are ready for the challenge," said the Toyota Team SARD driver.

With the track closed for the racecars today, the drivers took opportunity to test the track in their rented cars to have a feel of the newly laid 5.543km tarmac.

Tomorrow's session would be open for free for members of the public and the 78 Super GT drivers will have two sessions before qualifying on Saturday and a 54-lap battle on Sunday.

For more details, contact the Press Officer Azhar Ghazali at +6019 3837865 or visit www.malaysiangp.com.my for the latest result of race championship.

2007 SUPER GT MALAYSIA - ROUND 4 Point Standings After 3 Rounds
GT500 CLASS

1. Satoshi Motoyama/Richard Lyons (XANAVI NISMO Z)36
2. Michael Krumm/Tsugio Matsuda (MOTUL AUTECH Z)32
3. Daisuke Ito/Ralph Firman (ARTA NSX) 30
4. Yuji Tachikawa & Toranosuke Takagi (ZENT CERUMO SC430) 25
5. Dominik Schwager/Shinya Hosokawa (RAYBRIG NSX) 22
6. Loic DUVAL/Fabio CARBONE (EPSON NSX) 22
7. Tatsuya Kataoka/Bjorn Wirdheim (Forum Eng. SC430) 19
8. Juichi Wakisaka/Andre Lotterer (TOM'S SC430) 14
9. Ryo Michigami/Takashi Kogure (Takata NSX) 13
10. Naoki Hattori/Peter Dumbrek (Bandai SC430) 10

GT300 CLASS

1. Kazuya Oshima/Hiroaki Ishiura (TOY STORY Racing apr MR-S) 48
2. Kazuho Takahashi/Hiroki Katoh Privée (KENZO Asset Shiden) 42
3. Masami Kageyama//Tomonobu Fujii (ENDLESS ADVAN SENZAIKAKUMEI Z) 35
4. Marco Apicella/Koji Yamanishi (AKTIO MURCIE RG-1) 27
5. Morio Nitta/Shinichi Takagi (ARTA Garaiya) 21
6. Shinichi Yamaji/Nobuteru Taniguchi (YUNKER-POWER TAISAN PORSCHE) 12
7. Takuya Kurosawa/Hidetoshi Mitsusada (GREENTECH MAZIORA BOXTER) 11
8. Shinsuke Shibahara/Haruki Kurosawa (Willcom Advan VEMAC480R) 11
9. Yasutaka Hinoi/Atsushi Yugo (MARUHON MURCEI RG-1) 10
10. Kyosuke Mineo/Yuya Sukamoto (apr MR-S) 10

2007 SUPER GT INTERNATIONAL SERIES Winners Round by Round

Round 1 - Suzuka Circuit (Race Distance : 300km) - 18 March 2007
RESULTS - GT 500

1. ZENT CERUMO SC430 Yuji Tachikawa & Toranosuke Takagi
2. XANAVI NISMO Z Satoshi Motoyama/Richard Lyons
3. EPSON NSX Loic DUVAL/Fabio CARBONE

RESULTS - GT300

1. ENDLESS ADVAN SENZAIKAKUMEI Z Masami Kageyama//Tomonobu Fujii
2. Privée KENZO Asset Shiden Kazuho Takahashi/Hiroki Katoh
3. TOY STORY apr MR-S Kazuya Oshima/Hiroaki Ishiura

Round 2 - Okayama International Circuit (300km) - 8 April 2007
Results - GT500

1. ARTA NSX Daisuke Ito/Ralph Firman
2. RAYBRIG NSX Dominik Schwager/Shinya Hosokawa
3. MOTUL AUTECH Z Michael Krumm/Tsugio Matsuda

Results - GT300

1. TOY STORY Racing apr MR-S Kazuya Oshima/Hiroaki Ishiura
2. Privée KENZO Asset Shiden Kazuho Takahashi/Hiroki Katoh
3. YUNKER-POWER TAISAN PORSCHE Shinichi Yamaji/Nobuteru Taniguchi

Round 3 - Fuji Speedway (500km) - 4 May 2007
Results - GT300

1. XANAVI NISMO Z Satoshi Motoyama/Richard Lyons
2. MOTUL AUTECH Z Michael Krumm/Tsugio Matsuda
3. Forum Eng. SC430 Tatsuya Kataoka/Bjorn Wirdheim

Results - GT300

1. ARTA Garaiya Morio Nitta/Shinichi Takagi
2. AKTIO MURCIE RG-1 Marco Apicella/Koji Yamanishi
3. TOY STORY Racing apr MR-S Kazuya Oshima/Hiroaki Ishiura


2007 SUPER GT INTERNATIONAL SERIES - SEASON CALENDAR

Round 1 16 - 17 March Suzuka Circuit
Round 2 6 - 8 April Okayama International Circuit
Round 3 2 - 4 May Fuji Speedway
Round 4 22 - 24 June Sepang Circuit, MALAYSIA
Round 5 27 - 29 July Sportsland Sugo
Round 6 17 - 19 August Suzuka Circuit
Round 7 7 - 9 September Twin Ring Motegi
Round 8 12 - 14 October Autopolis
Round 9 2 - 4 November Fuji Speedway



For details, contact the Press Officer Azhar Ghazali at 019-3837865.
 

 

Copyright © 2007 MalaysiaCurrent. All rights reserved.

        

 
 
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