It was a cold, windy, wet and foggy Autopolis International Circuit where the GT Asia Series was running the Free Practice Session today. There was early drama at the circuit yesterday when the Aston Martin of Mark Williamson went straight into the wall after brake failure.
Williamson was taken to the hospital and confirmed to have two broken ribs and will sit out the races this weekend. The Australian driver was seen at the paddock today with his Concord Absolute Racing teammate, Simon Waters, cracking jokes albeit standing a little tilted.
“I will be fine. I’m going to sit out this weekend’s race but I will be all better for Macau” said Williamson with a huge smile.
The 4.674km circuit, located in the valley of hilly Oita Prefecture changed from being damp and slightly foggy to a wet track with strong winds and low visibility between the two sessions.
The Lamborghini LP560 of Tunku Hammam made a nice return to the Series after missing the two Round race weekend in Suzuka last August. The Malaysian set the fastest time of the first session clocking 2 minutes 08.202seconds averaging a top speed of 131km/h for Arrows Racing.
Meanwhile the Audi R8 LMS has once again changed hands and will be driven by Frank Yu this weekend. Yu, whose Ford GT GT3 was used in Malaysia for the 12-hour endurance race, put on a good show despite only getting acquainted with the car.
The Porsche 997 GT3 R of current Championship leader, Eddie Yau was overshadowed by the second LP560, driven by Dilantha Malagamuwa. Yau’s time of 2minutes 11.236seconds managed only the fourth fastest, and three seconds behind Hammam.
Kenji Kobayashi in the Porsche 997 Cup 3.8 was the fastest GTM class car whilst the Aston Martin Vantage N24 of Simon Waters stayed ahead of Nigel Farmer’s Ginetta G50 and newcomer Anthony Chan in the Lotus Evora.
It was a tricky second Free Practice session where the weather changed from cold wet rain to cold winds with fog running through parts of the track.
Porsche’s took an early lead in the second session, where a ‘wet track’ was declared right before the session began. Kobayashi set an impressive pace at the start of the session setting the fastest time before being edged out by Yu and then Malagamuwa. Kobayashi driving for Hitotsuyama Racing remained in the top three throughout the session while Malagamuwa claimed the top spot after clocking 2minutes 08.926seconds.
Mok Weng Sun and David Lai of Team Clearwater Racing along with Tunku Hammam, Nigel Farmer, Billy Fung and Jacky Yeung did not come out for the second session.
The GT Asia Series is in Autopolis as part of the Autobacs Super GT Round 7. The GT Asia Series Qualifying session will be held on Saturday, 1st October 2011 at 11.00am local time, while Round 9 race is scheduled at 4.15pm whilst Round 10 will be held on Sunday, 2nd October at 11.50am.