FFF Racing Team by ACM secured its first win of the season in the Blancpain GT Series Asia Sunday afternoon in Japan (1 July) after a flawless performance all weekend that saw them claim the Saturday podium and go two better in the second race.
The result has very much been a long time coming with numerous podiums ahead of the rounds five and six at Suzuka, and it was the #19 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 pairing of Martin Kodric and Dennis Lind that took the win to extend their title advantage to 19 points at the half-way point of the championship.
Saturday’s race was equally as impressive from Lind and Kodric, the former lining up an impressive second on the grid alongside the pole-sitting #3 Audi. An aggressive start from Lind paid dividends as he swept around the outside into turn one to take the lead. However, as he finished second in Thailand, he would later serve an extra ten seconds success penalty in the mandatory driver change.
Lind pushed hard, extending his lead to over four seconds before pitting with Kodric duly exiting in third position. Despite his best efforts, he was unable to pass the #911 Porsche ahead and had to settle for third position, just 3.4 seconds behind the race winner.
Carrying just five seconds success penalty into Sunday’s race, Kodric lined up in fifth position on the grid, just behind #63 Lamborghini Huracan teammate Marco Mapelli. It was a clean start initially to the one-hour race before the second-placed Ferrari crashed out of second position whilst in traffic, triggering the first safety car of the day.
It was a long safety car period and the pit window opened after 25 minutes allowing the field to pit before the racing resumed with just 25 minutes left. Lind found himself battling with FFF Racing teammate Hamaguchi, who in turn was defending from the #999 Mercedes. Lind took advantage of the battle to slip through in the Esses into third position and set about closing on the #888 Mercedes ahead.
Lind made short work of passing Alexander Mattschull to run second and set about closing the gap to the leading #27 Ferrari. Lind duly closed the gap ahead of the final safety car of the day with less than 15 minutes remaining.
The racing resumed as the leader inexplicable followed the safety car into the pit lane. Job done for Lind, who extended his advantage at the head of the field to take FFF Racing’s first win in the GT Series Asia. Whilst leading the championship outright, Lind and Kodric also lead the Silver standings by 19 points.
“It’s been coming to be honest,” said Lind. “We’ve been there or thereabouts all season so far, so I think it was deserved! Having the victory at Suzuka is very special to me, so I am very thankful to the whole FFF Racing Team and Lamborghini for helping us achieve this goal.”
"What an amazing weekend we had, it has been coming since the first race of the year and we finally got our first win of the season,” said Kodric. “We have been working really hard this year and everyone in the team deserves it and what makes it even more special is that it we won at one of the most amazing places… Suzuka."
Over in the sister #63 Lamborghini Huracan meanwhile, it was another fantastic weekend for Hamaguchi and Mapelli as they recovered from a contact and a subsequent puncture in Saturday’s race to win the Pro-Am class on Sunday, extending their title advantage to seven points.
“Finally we get what we deserved and we have won a race,” said team owner Sean Fu Songyang. “On Saturday we mathematically won the race but because of the ten seconds success penalty we dropped to third.
“We can’t do any better than this and it was a perfect Sunday; to win the overall race, our class plus the Pro-Am class is something very special and it underlines the increasing collaboration between FFF Racing and Lamborghini.
“Hiroshi as well had a great win on Sunday and as an amateur he held off many many pro drivers behind him and his pace was impressive. Everyone has been working so hard and its encouraging for the rest of the season and we will be fighting for the championship.”
The Chinese-based team now begin preparations for rounds seven and eight to held at Fuji Speedway 21-22 July.