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Monday June 17, 2013

Brazilian snatches third career Super GT win

Huge turnout : Racing fans taking a closer look at the cars before the start of the Super GT race at
the Sepang International Circuit Sunday. — S. S. KANESAN / The Star Huge turnout : Racing fans taking a closer look at the cars before the start of the Super GT race at the Sepang International Circuit Sunday. — S. S. KANESAN / The Star

SEPANG: Brazilian Paulo Lima De Oliveira of Team Impul bagged his third career win from pole position in the Malaysian round of the Super GT at the Sepang International Circuit yesterday.

The 32-year-old native of Sao Paulo and Tsugio Matsuda finished the 54-lap race in 1’50:11.232 ahead of the Lexus Team SARD line-up of Juichi Wakisaka and Hiroaki Ishiura (1’50:15.322).

Team Kunimitsu’s Takuya Izawa-Takashi Kogure, the defending champions of the series, grabbed the final podium spot. They clocked 1’50:19.863.

All eyes were on De Oliveira and whether he was able to overcome the high humidity of Sepang to add to his earlier wins in 2007 and 2008.

“It was a tough race for us as we had to keep the lead and at the same time struggle to take care of the tyres,” said De Oliveira.

“All in all, the victory came down to good teamwork. We had a really good pit-stop and that helped me to build rhythm and pace,” he added.

Matsuda said they had some problems with over-steering early in the race but were lucky to be able to overcome it.

“The team did a great job to put us on top of the field throughout the race without any problems,” said Matsuda.

Lexus Team Petronas Tom’s endured an unlucky outing as Kazuki Nakajima and James Rossiter were unable to better their 11th starting position.

Despite putting on a competitive pace that saw the drivers move up to ninth in the seventh lap, a late pit stop combined with last minute mechanical issues saw the Petronas-backed team finished the race in 11th spot out of 15 teams with a time of 1’51:22.928.

“We had good momentum and we managed to pass several cars to make it to the top 10. Unfortunately, we lost too much time during the pit stop. While the other teams pitted in the 24th lap, we had to wait until lap 27 because there was a lot of traffic. We lost a lot of momentum there,” said Nakajima, the main driver.

“We knew it was going to be an uphill battle to regain position but we kept pushing and made it to 10th.

“But towards the end of the race, we suffered transmission problems to drop to 11th. It is rather unfortunate that we failed to put in a good result here at our main sponsor’s home country. Hopefully we can do better in the future,” said Nakajima.

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