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Saturday June 15, 2013

Nakajima and Rossiter confident of top-five finish at SIC

SEPANG: Lexus Team Petronas Tom’s Kazuki Nakajima and James Rossiter are confident of a top-five finish at Sepang this weekend despite carrying a 40kg weight handicap after their Super GT Round 2 win in April.

The Sepang International Circuit (SIC) will be hosting the Japanese series this weekend as the only foreign round in the 2013 Super GT calendar.

Currently third overall in the standings with 20 points, both the team’s Formula One-calibre drivers believe that their top-five goal is a realistic one.

Nakajima, for one, is hoping to forget his 2012 ill-fated outing. Then, a competitor spinning out of control behind him forced Nakajima out of the race.

“I didn’t have any good luck in Sepang last year ... so, I’m hoping this year will be different,” said lead driver Nakajima, who won the coveted Formula Nippon title last year and finished seventh overall in the 2012 Super GT series.

“The car is quite good this year. The team have improved on the 2012 car and it’s certainly faster.

“We will also be racing on better tyre specifications. This bodes well for the Sepang round as this track is not easy on the tyres, mainly because of the many high speed corners and the rather rough surface.”

This season sees Nakajima being joined by a new team-mate – British F1 test driver Rossiter.

Unlike Nakajima, this will be Rossiter’s first race at Sepang.

“Nakajima and I arrived immediately after our Le Mans race last weekend and we’ve been spending the past few days acclimatising to the heat and humidity,” said Rossi­ter.

“We concentrated most of our outdoor workout sessions at around 4pm, which is the time scheduled for the race. I feel well-prepared for the challenge.”

In addition to the Super GT challenge, both drivers are also set to compete in the 24 Hours Le Mans race next weekend.

“Because of the extreme weather conditions, we are treating our conditioning for Sepang as part of our preparation for Le Mans. If you can be fit here in Sepang, you can be assured that you can handle any racing conditions in the world,” said Nakajima.


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