2nd place and Silver Cup victory for Stuvik and Costa
25th June, 2017 – Blancpain GT Series Asia, Suzuka
Sandy Stuvik and GT3 rookie Nicolas Costa claimed VSR’s first Blancpain GT Series Asia podium, taking 2nd place and Silver Cup victory in today’s race at Suzuka after starting from 14th on the grid.
Stuvik was joined by Brazilian Costa for the third round of the Blancpain GT Series Asia which was held at the Suzuka Circuit in Japan this weekend. After three intense practice sessions qualifying got underway on Saturday morning and it was Stuvik who first took the wheel of the VSR Lamborghini Huracan GT3. The chaotic opening session was red flagged three times, giving the drivers one shot at getting in a fast time. Stuvik was quick to post a lap that put him 4th quickest when the final red flag happened. When the track reopened there were just under five minutes to go and with a Suzuka lap taking over two minutes the team elected to keep him in the pits for the remainder of the session. No-one threatened his time and the order at the top remained unchanged, giving VSR their best qualifying result of the season so far.
At the start Stuvik challenged for third into the first corner but was forced to back out to keep his line. He then ran wide, giving Abbott the chance to make a lunge, but the two tangled and Stuvik lost 4th place. A lap later he was passed by Nagai and was under pressure from Modell. He held the Porsche driver off for two laps before conceding the place and afterwards ran comfortably in 7th. At the halfway point Stuvik handed over to Costa who was running in 6th when the pit window closed. The Brazilian conceded two places during his stint, to Pro drivers Goetz and Aguas, but held off a charging Wiser in the Ferrari to finish 8th overall, 5th in Silver Cup.
Costa took the Lamborghini out for the second qualifying session which was again disrupted by red flags. He ended the session as the top Lamborghini driver, qualifying 5th in class and 14th overall. Overnight rain left the circuit greasy and damp for the start of Sunday’s race which was almost immediately put under safety car conditions when Wiser crashed out on the opening lap. The race went green with forty-six minutes left and at the same moment rain began to fall. The leaders stayed out in the increasingly treacherous conditions and by lap seven Costa had worked his way up to 8th place. As soon as the pit window opened the team called him in and as Stuvik took over the car they switched to wet tyres, gaining three places during the pit-stop cycle. When a tyre blow out eliminated race leader Patel, Stuvik inherited 4th and as the rain continued to fall the Thai driver was one of the fastest men on track. With ten minutes left to run he was on the tail of the battle for 2nd place and with two laps to go passed Sugden’s Mercedes to move onto the podium and take the lead of the Silver Cup. Not content with 3rd Stuvik went on to overtake Lee, immediately pulling out a two second gap to the Audi which he pushed to four and a half seconds on the final lap.
The Blancpain GT Series Asia stays in Japan for round four of the Championship at the Fuji International Speedway in August.
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