The third round of the Blancpain GT Series Asia took place at the legendary Suzuka Circuit in Japan. Sandy Kraokaew Stuvik would have a new teammate this weekend in Nicolas Costa, a Brazilian racing driver and last year’s Italian Super GT Champion.
During Friday’s free practice sessions, Sandy and his teammate familiarized themselves with the famous Suzuka circuit. It would also be VS Racing’s first time at the circuit, so the challenge for Sandy would be to set the car up without any previous experience of the Suzuka circuit, and no reference data to rely on.
The VSR Lamborghini Huracan GT3 proved to be a difficult beast to tame in the dry, as the pace seemed to be quite far off the front-runners.
Qualifying took place on Saturday morning and the overnight changes made to the car had a decidedly beneficial effect, as Sandy in Qualifying 1 managed to get 4th position for Race 1. Sandy’s teammate Costa qualified in 14th position for Race 2.
Race 1 took place on Saturday afternoon and Sandy got off to a decent start and managed to maintain his position. A few laps into the race, the Thai driver made a mistake on the exit of the infamous ‘Spoon’ corner and lost a position to the Mercedes AMG GT3 following close behind. The Thai driver handed over to his Brazilian teammate during the pit window, and the pair would finish the race in 8th position overall, 5th in Silver class. “It was a difficult race, I found it difficult to keep up the pace with the cars around me. We have some work to do if we are to fight with the other cars in the dry conditions. Let’s hope for better tomorrow,’ Sandy said.
Race 2 on Sunday morning took place with a light drizzle. The VSR duo would start from 14th on the grid, and the opening stint by Costa saw him making up valuable positions in the slippery and difficult conditions, eventually handing the car over to Sandy in 7th position. Sandy stormed out of the pits, eager to make the best of the difficult conditions. The Thai driver quickly gained positions, feeling confident on the wet with his Lamborghini. He fought his way up the 2nd position overall, and leading the Silver class. It would stay that way until the finish flag came out, meaning would claim his first podium in GTs. ‘It’s such a great feeling to finally get a podium in GTs, its been a long time coming and to do it here in Suzuka is even more special. Especially as we were looking so strong in Buriram, it’s nice to have it confirmed.
“Now we are preparing fully for the next race in Fuji, really looking forward to it!’ Sandy said. Sandy is supported by The Pizza Company, Singha Corporation, Thai Airways, Thaiwings Travel Agency, Dacon Inspection Services, the Tourism Authority of Thailand, the Sports Authority of Thailand, and the Royal Automobile Association of Thailand.
2017 Blancpain Asia Series Calendar
Date Venue Remark
19-20 Aug Fuji, Japan Round 7-8
23-24 Sept Shanghai, China Round 9-10
21-22 Oct Zhejiang, China Round 11-12