04 July 2018
LEXUS SCORES CLEAN SWEEP IN THAILAND
Lexus has dominated the latest round of the Super GT Championship, taking out all three podium positions at the Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand.
Lexus Team SARD drivers Heikki Kovalainen and Kamui Kobayashi took the chequered flag in their LC 500, giving Lexus its first win of the season and Kobayashi his first ever victory in the series.
In the hands of Kovalainen and Kobayashi, the DENSO KOBELCO SARD LC 500 took just 1:36'42.8 to complete 66 laps of the four-year old circuit north-east of Bangkok to take the win.
Crossing the line in second place just 2.86 seconds behind the winning LC 500 was the Lexus Team LEMANS WAKO'S LC 500 of Kazuya Oshima and Felix Rosenqvist with Team WedsSport BANDOH's pairing of Yuji Kunimoto and Kenta Yamashita taking third in their LC 500 to give Lexus a clean sweep.
In a thrilling fourth round of the season, it was a fierce battle from the halfway mark in the 300km race as four Lexus LC 500s led the field.
The au TOM'S LC 500 driven by Kazuki Nakajima and Yuhi Sekiguchi showed astonishing speed with Sekiguchi having clocked the fastest lap time of the race of 1'24.977 and was in with a chance to vie for the lead.
But the car suddenly slowed and stopped on the final lap having run out of fuel, leaving the way open for the WAKO'S and WedsSport cars to take podium positions with another Lexus LC 500, the Team ZENT CERUMO car driven by Yuji Tachikawa and Hiroaki Ishiura, rounding out the top four.
Victory in Thailand has given Finnish driver Kovalainen a narrow three-point lead in the drivers' standings, while Lexus Team SARD is also at the top of the teams' leaderboard with four rounds to go.
For Kobayashi, it was a thrilling first victory that came together through a complete team effort.
"The team has worked very hard, and I am very happy to win in this condition," he said.
"I would like to thank the team for putting things together, and also appreciate Heikki for pushing and passing me the vehicle in first position. It was not an easy race, but I tried my best to maintain the position by using the margin Heikki made."
The Super GT Championship heads back to Japan on August 4-5 for the 500-mile Fuji GT race at the iconic circuit below Mount Fuji.
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The winning DENSO KOBELCO SARD LC 500 of Heikki Kovalainen and Kamui Kobayashi.
The second-place finishing Lexus Team LEMANS WAKO'S LC 500 of Kazuya Oshima and Felix Rosenqvist.