As crowds have continued to flock into Sydney Motorsport Park in anticipation of the Nulon Superlap Shootouts and the International Drifting Cup presented by Garrett Advancing Motion at the Yokohama World Time Attack Challenge 2018 presented by Track Warrior, the final timed sessions for Royal Purple Pro, Royal Purple Pro Am, Link ECU Open and V-Sport Clubsprint were underway.
ROYAL PURPLE PRO had tongues wagging this afternoon with Bart Mawer and Warren Luff vying for the fastest time of the weekend. Mawer (RP968 Porsche 968) in particular, was looking for a new outright lap record, missing the mark by seven tenths of a second earlier in the day. Luff (MCA Hammerhead Nissan Silvia S13) wasn’t far behind as he chased the optimum aero balance.
Meanwhile the third entrant in Royal Purple Pro, Fire Ando from Japan and his Escort Racing Mitsubishi EVO, were a retiree as a pre-existing hand injury was giving him too much angst to continue. Breaking news from the final session for Royal Purple Pro was that time attack hero Under Suzuki – whose car rebuild wasn’t completed in time for the event – stepped in into the EVO to represent Japan.
Just as the exceptionally popular substitute took to the track, the rain came. It would prove to be a tricky initiation as he slid around in a half spin turn five. His lap time was a 1 min 40.881 second effort in only his first drive in an unfamiliar car.
“I am so happy for Team Japan that this has happened,” said Ando. It is expected Under will return in the car for the upcoming Nulon Superlap Shootout for the Royal Purple Pro class.
In ROYAL PURPLE PRO AM, Kosta Pohorukov (Royal Purple/Tilton Racing Mitsubishi EVO) would not compete in the third and fourth timed sessions after his earlier accident today and will not make the Nulon Superlap Shootout for his class. However, he remains holding onto the top spot thanks to his earlier efforts while William Au-Yeung (Vibrant/PZtuning Honda Civic) went quicker, getting down to 1 min 27.935.
“That was a personal best,” he said. “Turn one is the most difficult corner I have ever had to learn!”
Also posting faster times were Richard Perini (PR Technology Ginetta G55) and Dale Malone (DM Motorsport Nismo Super GT) – who has secured his spot in the Nulon Superlap Shootout after rebuilding the broken engine and missing Friday altogether. Meanwhile, J-Spec Performance were still toiling away replacing the engine in their EVO in a bid to give both Serse Zeli and Olivia Merlini some more laps.
In LINK ECU OPEN, Adam Casmiri didn’t appear threatened for the fastest time but still took the JDM Yard/Hardrace Honda Civic for another run. Unfortunately, he ran wide at turn one which pushed the front splitter onto a tyre.
Josh Coote (MCA Suspension Toyota 86) found further improvement to hold onto second spot while Matt Longhurst (Integrated Motorsport Nissan Skyline GTR R34) found more time and jumped to third ahead of Nathan Morcom.
Morcom (Global Aircraft Services Mitsubishi EVO 9) saved his last set of new tyres for the upcoming ‘one car at a time’ Nulon Superlap Shootout, giving session three a miss. Steve Johnson (World Best Technology Skyline) did go out but didn’t improve, retaining fifth while John Boston (XtremeGTR Skyline) was another to go faster, but not enough for a final chance. He finished seventh as he was pipped by Nick Ashwin (NA Autosport EVO 6).
The last opportunity to make the V-SPORT CLUBSPRINT Nulon Superlap Clubsprint Shootout didn’t see any change in the top four with Stephen Wan (BYP Racing & Developments Honda Civic) standing on his previous best ahead of Jim Tu (Team EXE OTR Mitsubishi EVO 9), Dan Burton (Team Burton Racing Honda S2000) and Brett Dickie (Elusive Racing Honda Integra).
The vital fifth and final spot would have gone to Jamal Assaad until the engine let go and his Evolution Racing Spares EVO 6 caught fire. While he still can retain the fifth fastest time, Jason Naidoo (SuperPro Evo Mitsubishi EVO 8) will now have a chance to improve in the top five single-car run-off.
The Nulon Superlap Shootouts for the top five of each class are on now.
Following the crowning of the WTAC Winner for the Royal Purple Pro class and the WTAC Class Champions for the V-Sport Clubsprint, Link ECU Open and Royal Purple Pro AM classes with a special presentation at 4.50pm, the conclusion of the International Drifting Cup presented by Garrett Advancing Motion will kick off from 5.30pm. For a full event schedule, please click here.
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